With its Structural Funds, the EU has contributed €5.7 million for the facility to work on improving the design of gas turbines and testing cleaner fuels for the aviation and power generation sectors. The region qualifies under Objective 1 of the Structural funds, as one of the most deprived regions in the European Union.
Two major combustion testing rigs have been donated by a technology company, and financial support has been provided by the Welsh Assembly, as well as the EU. The centre will be one of a few of this kind in the world.
Professor Phil Bowen, Chair in Energy Systems at the School of Engineering, said: 'The Gas Turbine Research Centre will allow us to contribute towards global and local target emission reduction, whilst bringing benefits to the local economy.'
'We anticipate that over time the Gas Turbine Research Centre will act as a hub to a cluster of high-tech companies, attracted by its world-class facilities,' he added.
For now, the new Centre will be home to a Sector Combustor rig for internal gas sampling of sector or annular combustors, and a High Pressure Combustor Rig for multi-channel gas analysis in the exhaust of a combustor at high pressure.
Its areas of research will include emissions and air quality, particulates and cloud formation, and alternative fuels.
When the Centre opens later this year, an EU funded project will be the first to take advantage of the new facilities. It will test alternative liquid and gas fuels produced from biomass and waste gases, including methane, hydrogen mixtures, coal gasification products, and biofuels.
Welsh Assembly Government First Minister Rhodri Morgan said: 'What is being created is truly a world class energy research resource.
'It is already playing a key role in the testing and development of alternative energy sources and will become an increasingly important asset in the drive to reduce carbon emissions so as to combat global warming,' he added.
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