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Durham University

Durham Energy Institute


Future of energy in focus as the world’s academics gather

(23 October 2015)

The Journal newspaper published a double page article on the DEI’s inaugural Research Symposium held on 30 September 2015. 

“ONE of the UK’s leading energy centres held its first symposium last week attracting world-leading academics and speakers to the North East. Peter McCusker reports”


Download a PDF of the full Journal article by Peter McCusker.

The Journal article focuses on some of the discussions which centred on whether fossil fuels will continue to be required as part of the UK energy mix and how the world’s energy system will look in 20 years’ time. Highlighting points that were made in presentations by Dr Wilf Wilde, the former head of the DEI and a former director of Ofgem, Dr John Bothwel on whether bio-energy can provide an alternative to fossil fuels and Prof Simon Hogg, executive director of the DEI, who discussed the problems associated with ageing energy infrastructure such as conventional fossil fuel plants. Discussion also highlighted how important it is to have consistency and clarity from Government if we are to encourage investment in our energy infrastructure which is urgently required and hit our 2020 renewable energy targets.

The first research symposium organised by the Institute demonstrated our key strength in multi and interdisciplinary approaches to energy research. 2 panel discussions on the Science of energy were held in the morning, followed by a networking lunch and 2 further sessions on the societal aspects of energy. The discussion It also brought attention to some of the challenges and opportunities facing the energy system, from efficiency to distribution, to transmission and energy policy. he symposium featured


The sessions were chaired by DEI Directors and featured an external speaker invited from our Advisory Board: Andrew Wright (Ofgem), Jenny Saunders (CEO of National Energy Action), Jenny Cooper (Energy Systems Catapult) and Professor Alan Lowdon (Invisotech). For a fulkl list of Advisory Board members go to Other high profile external partners were Professor Keith Bell (UKERC); Prof Mark O’Malley, director of the Electricity Research Centre at the University of Dublin and International Institute for Energy Systems Integration; Dr Tanja Winther (Anthropology - visiting Fellow from Oslo); Keith Noble-Nesbitt (Northern Powergrid)


Further details on the programme for the day can be found here:


A poster competition was held featuring the impressive research being undertaken by our students. This was won by Francis Ridgeon a PhD student in Physics and member of DEI’s Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy whose research aims to contribute towards developing a new generation of superconducting magnet for nuclear fusion. A model was also on display of a project being developed by some of our Energy CDT Students to design a Land Art Generator on Durham City’s Viaduct incorporating solar technology.