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New Chinese energy research agreement

An energy research partnership agreement is being signed with Tsinghua University as part of a 'green energy' mission to China.

 Midlands Innovation 'green energy' experts are visiting the university to build partnerships in energy innovation.

ERA, the Energy Research Accelerator (the energy research arm of Midlands Innovation) is the biggest energy research partnership in the UK, with government and industrial funding of £180m to develop new energy research facilities, laboratories and large-scale demonstration projects.

The partners in ERA are all eight Midlands Innovation universities (the universities of Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick), and also the British Geological Survey. Together they are working to develop new low-carbon energy technologies and solutions. 

The agreement with Tsinghua University is being signed as part of the UK-China Green Energy Innovation Forum which is supported by the British Embassy and Tsinghua University. It forms part of the UK government’s Green is GREAT campaign, which is a commitment by the British government to promote partnerships across the world that can help to fight climate change. 

The UK-China Green Energy Innovation Forum also builds upon the Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen Research and Innovation, which was signed between BeijingTsinghua Industrial R&D Institute of Tsinghua University and the University of Nottingham (one of the ERA partners) in July 2019. 

The academics from ERA will be discussing a range of topics at the UK-China Green Energy Innovation Forum, exploring collaboration opportunities in a number of research areas. These include:

  • Wind Energy and Compressed Air Energy Storage
  • Artificial Intelligence and Smart Energy
  • Decarbonising transport from cars to freight vehicles
  • Viability of emerging energy technologies
  • Energy integration  Thermal energy storage for heat, power and mobility
  • Hydrothermal carbonisations: wet waste to solid biofuels  Electro-chemicals and liquid salts 

During the forum, Professor Martin Freer, Director of the Energy Research Accelerator will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Professor Qinxian Jin, Director of the Beijing-Tsinghua Industrial R&D Institute (a part of Tsinghua University). The MoU states that the two parties intend to work together in the future to undertake research together, organise seminars and academic meetings, explore the commercialisation of technologies and undertake academic and student exchanges. 

Professor Qinxian Jin, Vice Secretary General of Tsinghua University and Director of BeijingTsinghua Industrial R&D Institute, said: “UK-China relations have entered a new golden era. Collaboration leads to a win-win situation. We are delighted to co-organise this event with the UK Embassy Beijing and ERA. Tsinghua University has remarkable research achievements and in the fields of clean energy, the energy internet, fuel cell vehicles, etc. This is a very good opportunity to improve the understanding of each other’s academic and industrial capabilities, and we look forward to exploring practical ways in which we can collaborate together for mutual benefit.” 

Professor Martin Freer, Director of the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA), added: “The UK China Green Energy Innovation Forum, supported by the British Embassy and Tsinghua University, provides an exciting collaborative opportunity for ERA and our China partners. We are honoured that Tsinghua University has generously agreed to host this special event. 

“I am also delighted that we are signing a memorandum of understanding between ERA and the Beijing-Tsinghua Industrial R&D Institute. We are all very much looking forward to finding out more about the exciting research taking place here at Tsinghua University, and exploring the many ways in which we can work together in future to develop new and innovative green energy solutions.” 

Frances Hooper, Science and Innovation Counsellor for the British Embassy commented: “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing our planet, and it is vital for the UK and China to work together to develop clean energy solutions to tackle this issue. “The Green is GREAT campaign provides a platform to come together and identify opportunities to collaborate. It’s fantastic to see such a range of excellent research represented from the UK on this mission, and we look forward to seeing exciting collaborations with Tsinghua and other Chinese partners in the future.”

 ERA MOU Signing web

The visitors from Energy Research Accelerator comprise of ten academics and five business development specialists. Together they are travelling to three cities – Beijing, Nanjing and Hangzhou over the week, to meet with business people, academic partners and representatives from government who have an interest in green energy. 


The aim of the visit is to meet with representatives from government, energy companies and academic organisations with an interest in renewable and low-carbon energy. ERA is particularly interested in building partnerships which could result in joint R&D projects or commercial collaborations. 

For more information about the Energy Research Accelerator, visit www.era.ac.uk