Developments at Swansea University could turn any building into a power station capable of generating, storing and releasing its own energy. The potential economic benefits include up to 10,000 new jobs in the supply chain, anchoring advanced manufacturing in the UK and providing global export opportunities.
Business Secretary, Vince Cable, and Wales' First Minister Carwyn Jones helped to bring this vision a step closer today when they visited the new pilot manufacturing facility to start-up the sheet production line that will turn out functional, conductive steel and glass building products on a pilot scale - ready to be integrated into the fabric of roofs, walls and ceilings of new and existing buildings. The products will later be taken up by industrial partners for large-scale production.
Mr Cable said: “The Government’s £10million backing of the SPECIFIC project shows what can be achieved when world class university research comes together with the private sector.
“This centre will speed up the commercialisation of innovative industrial coatings, creating a whole new manufacturing sector and new business opportunities, not to mention long-term environmental benefits, including turning buildings into sources of power.
“We are committed to investing in high value, high tech sectors where the UK can gain a competitive advantage and promote economic growth.”
The partnership of government, academia and industry represents a powerful fusion of expertise, brought together under the Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) initiative. It has been triggered by a £20 million investment over five-years.
In addition to Swansea University the partnership involves other university groups, including Imperial College, Bath, Bangor, Cardiff, Glyndwr and Sheffield, and multi-nationals such as Tata Steel, BASF and NSG Pilkington.