16 June 2014

Opening of Pilot Manufacturing Resource Centre brings 'Buildings as Power Stations’ one step closer

Edwina Hart, the Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, switched on the pilot line.

The creation of buildings as ‘power stations’ that can harness the sun’s energy to generate, store and release their own energy came one step closer today with the opening of the new Pilot Manufacturing Resource Centre at SPECIFIC in Baglan.

Dedicated to the scale-up and commercialisation of functional coatings for steel and glass, the centre, which houses new laboratory facilities and a new processing line, will be used to develop materials for manufacture and for coating and product testing.

Representing a major shift in energy generation for the built environment, the technologies being developed by SPECIFIC are forecast to deliver huge economic benefits – a new £1bn industry with up to 10,000 supply chain jobs – of national importance and centred in Wales.

The new centre has received £1.9million funding from the Academic Expertise for Business (A4B) programme, a six year programme of support funded by the Welsh Government and European Structural Funds to support knowledge transfer from academia to business.

Formally opening the centre in an event today, the Welsh Government Minister for Economy, Science and Transport Mrs Edwina Hart said “This is an extremely important milestone in the SPECIFIC project and highlights the importance of industrial and academic collaboration in taking forward such highly innovative work.

“The new centre has the capability to deliver commercial solutions to industry partners, create new products and services which will benefit supply chains in Wales and generate valuable IP. I am delighted the Welsh Government is supporting this new resource centre which has very real potential to make a significant and substantial contribution to the green clean energy agenda and to the wider Welsh economy.

“The outstanding research being undertaken also places Wales firmly in the spotlight and underlines the expertise we have in Wales.”

SPECIFIC’s new Pilot Manufacturing Resource Centre will build on initial research undertaken by the SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre. The SPECIFIC family of projects is led by Swansea University, with support from a range of industrial partners including global players like Tata Steel, BASF and NSG Pilkington alongside smaller companies such as Gwent Electronic Materials, Harries Automation and Control Ltd and Greenbuild Consult.

Kevin Bygate, Chief Executive of SPECIFIC, said “We are excited to be working on a project of real global significance here at SPECIFIC. We’ve made rapid progress in the development of our technologies over recent years and with this new facility we will be able to take the next steps towards a new renewable energy future by bringing them closer to commercial reality.”

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