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Glamorgan builds on biofuel expertise with microbial fuel cells funding

The University of Glamorgan in the UK has been awarded £630 000 (US$1m) to develop its research into biological fuel cells. The work at Glamorgan’s Sustainable Environment Research Centre is looking at how microbial fuel cells can be made to simultaneously treat wastes such as sewage, and generate electricity.

The funding for the Sustainable Environment Research Centre is part of a £3.3m (US$5.4m), four-year grant from the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to the SUPERGEN program.

SUPERGEN is a flagship initiative to help the UK meet its emissions targets through a radical improvement in sustainable power generation and supply. Glamorgan is one of eight universities involved in the project, along with Surrey, Oxford, Glasgow, Newcastle, East Anglia, West of England and University College London.

‘Over the past four years our research has led to a better understanding of how biological fuel cells could be scaled-up,’ says Dr Giuliano Premier, an engineer in the Faculty of Advanced Technology, who leads the University of Glamorgan’s work on SUPERGEN. ‘This further funding will enable us to investigate the optimization of microbial biological fuel cells, through an increased understanding of natural processes and how they may be encouraged and enhanced.’

The money will be used to fund a post-doctorate post, three PhD studentships, and new equipment. This interdisciplinary, cross-faculty research will be carried out at the University of Glamorgan’s new state-of-the-art science laboratories in the Faculty of Health, Sport and Science, which will be officially opened in February.

The University of Glamorgan also undertakes research into various aspects of producing and using hydrogen as a fuel, including the critical issues of storage and use in fuel cells, and is home to the Renewable Hydrogen Research and Demonstration Centre at Baglan Bay.

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Bioenergy  •  Energy storage including Fuel cells