More than £36 million of UK government funding will be provided to Swansea to support cutting-edge building materials which generate electricity, the Chancellor has announced during a visit to Wales.
The green technology uses light and heat to make energy and has the potential to power homes, workplaces, schools and hospitals. These materials could replace conventional walls, roofs and windows, generating electricity which is stored and released by a smart operating system. Excess electricity could also be sold back to the national grid.
The announcement supports the government’s mission to at least halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030: making buildings more energy efficient by embracing smart technologies will cut household energy bills, reduce the demand for energy and boost the UK’s economic growth while meeting targets for carbon reduction.
On a visit to Swansea University, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said: “Swansea University and the innovative companies working with it are world-leaders in clean energy. The UK government is backing the industries of the future that will deliver jobs and opportunities across Wales. This £36 million new funding will support exciting green technology that could cut energy bills, reduce carbon emissions and create better homes and workspaces.”
The funding, through the ‘Transforming Construction’ challenge of the government’s Industrial Strategy, will develop supply chains in the UK and give certainty to leading researchers and students, helping attract more investment and jobs to the local area.
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark, said: “This centre has the potential to transform how buildings use energy, turning them from energy consumers into power stations. This £36 million investment in clean energy innovation shows the UK continues to lead the way in cutting emissions while growing our economy.
“We are putting our world-leading science and innovation sector at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy and have set the ambitious target for investment in research and development to reach 2.4% of GDP by 2027.”
Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, said: “The UK government is committed to leading the world in delivering clean energy technology and this additional investment at Swansea University shows that we are prepared to support innovation in this critical area.
“The cutting-edge research being developed at this institution is being translated into practical inventions and techniques that can improve our lives. It truly is science with a purpose.
“The funding announcement, on top of the £68 million commitment to Swansea University since 2010, will ensure that Wales and one of its most forward-thinking universities will play a key role in keeping the UK at the vanguard of innovation for years to come.”
This new funding is part of the biggest increase in research and development (R&D) investment for 40 years, supporting high-value jobs in emerging industries.