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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/J000361/1
Title: Rural Hybrid Energy Enterprise Systems
Principal Investigator: Clarke, Professor ML
Other Investigators:
Jarvis, Dr CH Ramsden, Dr S Atkin, Professor C
Comber, Professor A Snape, Professor CE Kendall, Professor K
Wood, Professor J Rao, Professor N Martin, Professor L
Blanchard, Dr R Dhir, Dr A Drage, Dr T
Jewitt, Dr S Raman, Dr S West, Dr H
Wheatley, Professor AD Clifford, Dr MJ Tansey, Professor KJ
Bignold, Dr W J Bujalski, Dr W Phillips, Professor MP
LIU, Professor H
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Geography
Organisation: University of Nottingham
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 January 2012 Ends: 31 July 2016 Value (£): 2,690,768
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Bioenergy Economics
Energy Efficiency
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
15 Mar 2011 Bridging the Urban and Rural Divide Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
About 20% of the UK population and 72% of the Indian population live in rural communities, where access to resources, amenities and services are inherently different to those of urban dwellers. Rural communities in both countries share similar challenges. Limited rural transport makes access to services difficult, time-consuming and expensive which disadvantage the poor, elderly and sick. Access to healthcare and affordable energy (for heating, cooling, cooking, refrigeration, lighting, household, IT use) is limited in rural areas and lack of employment opportunities continues to drive rural to urban migration, especially amongst young people. Universal access to clean and efficient energy sources has long been viewed as critical to global needs and expanding access to good quality, stable, energy options in rural areas is therefore essential. Not only does this help to address the problem of dependence on fossil fuels; it also enables rural areas in the UK and India to benefit from the multiplier effect of energy services on health, education, transport, telecommunications, water, sanitation as well as from investments in and the productivity of income-generating activities in agriculture, industry, and tertiary sectors. In this project we aim to develop community-scale hybrid renewable energy systems to bridge the urban-rural divide and promote a new model of sustainable rural living. Through technological innovations in small-scale energy generation coupled with appropriately tailored rural enterprise business models we will create Rural Hybrid Energy Enterprise Systems (RHEES) which can be adapted for local needs in the UK and India enabling communities to: tackle energy poverty; increase revenue generation to individuals and households; create new opportunities for rural industries; generate employment; decrease transport costs; improve socioeconomic status; and through using renewable energy technologies reduce environmental impact and promote natural resource conservation.

Different forms of energy may be crucial for increasing the range, quality and productivity of income-generating activity. In rural areas biomass is one of the most versatile energy-generating options, because of the diversity of feedstocks in rural areas, the range of conversion technologies available and the potential to provide a continuous and steady flow of energy services. We aim to develop innovative, low-carbon, sustainable biomass-fuelled hybrid energy systems that utilise wastes and residues and are designed at a scale suitable for rural community implementation to be affordable and to provide enterprise opportunities through value-added by-products. Through novel research the key technological challenges required for the wide scale deployment of anaerobic digestion and gasification in rural communities combined with fuel cell technology will be met whilst employing close integration with the resource and community aspects of the proposal. By engaging end-users in all stages of the development process, we aim to develop affordable and sustainable growth of our community-scale energy solutions to bridge the urban-rural divide.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk