1.5m grant to power the future of electric transport research

The Wolfson Foundation has generously donated 1.5m to fund state-of-the-art equipment that will advance research into sustainable, electric transport at the University of Nottingham.

The Aerospace and Electric Flight Test Cell Propulsion Unit will take pride of place in the new Power Electronics and Machines Centre, the flagship research facility, which is due to open in summer 2020.

“The aerospace industry faces significant technological challenges as it strives towards all-electric flight propulsion in the coming decades.

This significant new grant will support the University’s position at the forefront of the revolution in automotive, aerospace and marine transportation, expanding our capacity to discover sustainable ways of transporting goods and people and reduce the global dependency on conventional fuel sources,” explains Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Engineering, Professor Sam Kingman.

Professor Pat Wheeler, Director of the Power Electronics and Machines Centre said, “The creation of a new test cell unit will enable our world-renowned Power Electronics, Machines and Control Research Group to progress its successful research into transport electrification concepts.

“By accommodating a greater volume of interconnected equipment, the Group can emulate real environments at higher power levels and therefore model larger scale applications and systems to produce solutions to future power management challenges. The new facility will also enable us to work even more closely with our industrial partners on research, particular those companies working in the electrification of future transport systems.”

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of The Wolfson Foundation said, “The Wolfson Foundation funds research infrastructure underpinning international quality research. Our funding partnership with the University of Nottingham is therefore a natural one, given the strength of the University’s research - and it is a partnership that dates back to the 1960s. We are delighted to announce this award which is the largest that we have ever made to Nottingham. The grant recognises both the quality of the research and its importance to society. One of the key contemporary societal challenges is creating transport that takes less of an environment toll by reducing dependency on conventional fuel sources.”

Due to be fully operational in mid-2020 - and supported by 9.4m from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (RPIF), which is run by Research England - the Power Electronics and Machines Centre will provide novel facilities for experimental work, including 3,500 m2 laboratory space.

Critically, it will offer electrical power infrastructure of up to 5MW, enabling research at a scale and power level appropriate to the development of technology demonstrators leading to the exploitation and commercialisation of research.