A pioneering power plant set up to find sustainable sources of green energy is to be built at the University of Greenwich in London.

Staff and students from across the university will carry out research about the glycerol-fuelled installation, which will heat the Medway Campus at Chatham Maritime.
Greenwich University
The initiative, which is led by Medway Council, is being backed by a €4,261,405 grant from the European Development Fund and is part of ‘Ecotec 21’, an Anglo-French consortium set up to study Combined Heat and Power (CHP) technology.

The project brings together universities in the UK and France, research institutions, government-funded organisations, energy and facility managers, designers and architects.

The aim is to find cost-effective and environmentally efficient ways of producing glycerol, including the future possibility of using algae as a source of the fuel. A sugar alcohol, glycerol has many advantages over other energy sources as it is water-soluble, bio-degradable, non-odorous, non-volatile, non-toxic and produces virtually no combustion particulates.

There will also be research into finding the carbon footprint of glycerol – expected to be much lower than gas – as well as its risks. The School of Engineering will review the design of the plant and its systems, while colleagues in the School of Architecture, Design & Construction will study the retro-fitting and performance of this new technology, along with training needed. The Business School will assess economic issues while university researchers in Psychology will consider how best to encourage use of biofuels.

The development builds on a strong track record of achievement in sustainability at the University of Greenwich, which was named as the “greenest-ever university in the UK” in the latest Guardian/People & Planet league tables

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