From oil and gas to alternative fuels, Dundee and Angus is at the cutting edge of energy research. Karen Tocher, business tourism manager at Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau, examines some of the research and work being carried out that makes the region a leading light in the energy industry…
In 2017, renewable energy accounted for almost 30% of all energy generated in the United Kingdom and this figure is only expected to rise in the coming years.
All around the world, research is being undertaken to explore new, clean and green methods of producing energy – and Dundee and Angus continues to push boundaries and lead the conversation in a number of important fields.
Abertay University is part of the Scottish Biofuel Programme, which offers a free consultancy service on alternative waste disposal routes and options for converting biodegradable waste and matter into alternative fuel sources. Amongst the university’s work in this area is the Diageo-Abertay Knowledge Partnership Project, which investigates the suitability of malt whisky production by-products as viable resources for bioenergy production. Professor Joseph Akunna’s research, too, looks at how organic waste and seaweed can be converted into biogas.
The James Hutton Institute, too, works in the field of biofuels. Researchers there have developed tools which can help policymakers analyse the economics of renewable energy sources, including the production of biogas.
It’s in this area – policymaking – that Dundee is perhaps best known in the global energy industry. The University of Dundee’s Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, and its alumni – scattered across the globe – are responsible for advising some of the world’s biggest oil companies, governments, banks, and other organisations.
The university is also a partner in the Offshore Renewables Institute, which brings together academia and industry to develop global leadership in the delivery and implementation of offshore renewable energy.
This partnership between academia, public and private industry is also prevalent in other areas of Dundee & Angus’ energy industry. Energy Dundee is a strategic partnership between these fields which seeks not only to reduce the regions carbon footprint but also to advance the region’s offshore wind, oil and gas and decommissioning capabilities.
The Port of Dundee provides an ideal operations and maintenance base for many oil and gas and offshore wind installations, including the Neart na Gaoithe windfarm located 15.5km off the shore of Fife. Drawing on the region’s expertise in engineering and fabrication, the port has allowed the energy industry to flourish.
The port also offers facilities for those working in the decommissioning industry – an area which is become a major driving of economic growth for the region. At a conference held in Dundee just last month, Decom North Sea and Dundeecom – a new public-private partnership, called for further collaboration between the region’s industries to ensure that Dundee becomes the UK’s premier centre for excellence in decommissioning.
From developing the latest renewable energy sources to working with more traditional oil and gas production and policymaking, Dundee and Angus continues to prove itself as a region of innovators and forward-thinkers.
And like all great innovators, Dundee and Angus’ energy champions – and their incredible ideas – will go down in legend.