A UK University has received a grant worth €4.2 million (£3.4 million) from the European Development Fund for an experimental “green” power plant.
The cash for the University of Greenwich is part of an innovative cross-channel project to fund sustainable sources of green energy.
Staff and students at the university will carry out research on the glycerol-fuelled plant, which is expected to heat its Medway Campus. The study aims to find “cost-effective and environmentally efficient ways” of producing glycerol, which is a colourless and odourless liquid widely used in pharmaceutical formulations.
Professor Pat Harvey (pictured), an expert in biofuels and who is leading the study claims glycerol has various advantages over other energy sources as it is water-soluble, biodegradable, non-volatile and produces virtually no combustion particles. She will also research the risks and carbon footprint of glycerol, which is expected to be much lower than gas.
Ms Harvey said: “The ambitious project puts Medway at the forefront of technological development in sustainable fuels. We believe that we are the first University in the world to install a glycerol boiler and the findings of this research will have an important contribution to make to the global search for the biofuels of the future.”
The research is part of ‘Ecotec 21’ that was set up to study Combined Heat and Power (CHP) technology, which captures the waste heat created by power plants and uses it for heating or hot water.