INNOVATION UK126INNOVATION UKCentres of Excellence NORTH EAST: ONE NORTH EAST delivering its Smith Newton, the largest road- going electric truck in the US, to a number of blue- chip compa-nies including Coca- Cola and AT& T. The region boasts commercial and academic strengths in power electronics and control systems, including the Centre for Advanced Electrical Drives at Newcastle University. Future Transport Systems, a Newcastle- based consul-tancy that specialises in the interface between transport and infrastructure, is leading the development of a strat-egy to establish an EV- charging infrastructure across the North East, which has included: spatial and traffic- flow modelling for planning locations for charging points, modelling connections to electrical networks; anticipat-ing the need for public consultation; and the specialist technical insight on EVs and battery technologies. Sunderland University's Institute for Automotive and Man-ufacturing Advanced Practise ( AMAP) provides bespoke design and consultancy services as well as state- of- the- art training for both new entrants and experienced engineers. Running alongside the investment made in the Low Car-bon Economic Area, North East England is also one of the areas set to benefit from a share of £ 25m of government funding to run " real life" trials. The Technology Strategy Board, the government body that promotes business innovation in technology, will fund an electric vehicle trial in the region that will see 35 passenger vehicles developed and trialled in the first stage of the Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator project. These will include the 15 Nissan cars, 10 Smith electric taxis, five Smith people carriers, a Smith executive mini-bus, two AVID saloon cars and two Liberty urban Range Rovers, alongside a network of charging points. The consortium consists of Nissan, Smith Electric Vehicles in partnership with LTI and Ford, AVID Vehicles, Liberty Electric Cars, Newcastle University and One North East. Edmund King, AA president, said: " The North East is already planning for a low- carbon future and the AA is supporting that vision. The North East electric car strategy has the potential to spark a personal transport revolution in UK cities. Trevor Mann, Nissan Senior Vice President Manufactur-ing, Europe, said: " Undoubtedly the most important trend in urban transport within the next decade will be the shift towards low carbon. There is an increasing desire from the public for environmentally neutral transport, linked with big improvements in available technology and an increasing urban population. " All these aspects are combining to create the right envi-ronment and demand for a revolution in sustainable transport, which Nissan is aiming to spearhead through the mass marketing of zero- emission electric vehicles from 2012. " This announcement represents an important step towards that future, and we look forward to continue working with One North East and the Technology Strategy Board to make electric vehicles a viable and attractive prospect." The presence of firms like Nissan in the region has resulted in a world- class supply chain but has also brought other benefits to the region. Since 2003, the Regional Development Agency, One North East, has been working to share the knowledge of lean manufacturing techniques brought to the region by Nissan with other manufacturing firms in the region. This ongoing support for manufacturing in the region includes an investment of over £ 30 million by One North East and the European Regional Development Fund in LEFT: ONE Nissan Below: ONE Smith Electrical Vehicle
UKINNOVATION UK127 Centres of Excellence NORTH EAST: ONE NORTH EAST MAS North East, the region's Manufacturing Advisory Service. Hundreds of manufacturing businesses have already benefited from the support on offer, saving mil-lions, making them more productive and reducing energy waste and expense. This is just one demonstration of the North East's ability to share expertise and adapt to new developments, and while it is hard to predict what benefits the development of the next generation of electric vehicles will bring to the region, you can be sure the region will take the lessons on board. North East England leading the development of the UK's Offshore Wind Industry For almost a decade, North East England has been at the forefront of the development of offshore wind power in Britain. In 2000, the first offshore wind turbines in the UK were installed just off the coast at Blyth, 10 miles north of Newcastle. Since then the region has been at the forefront of the offshore wind industry, adapting the skills learnt in tradi-tional industries like shipbuilding, power generation and traditional heavy industries. US giant Clipper Windpower chose to come to the North East to develop the largest offshore wind turbine in the world at Blyth. Clipper is working closely with the New and Renewable Energy Centre ( NaREC). NaREC's independent blade-testing facility is capable of testing some of the world's largest wind turbine blades and the centre works as an independent partner under strict confidentiality to help customers achieve new breakthroughs in product design and manufacturing techniques. And the region is already looking to the next generation, with plans for the country's first wind turbine training tower announced. Northumberland College, NaREC and Regional Develop-ment Agency One North East are working together to ensure the region is well placed to meet the skills needs of an industry that could potentially create 30,000 new jobs. The development will ensure the region is able to produce a skilled workforce capable of meeting the demand for thousands of jobs in construction and long- term main-tenance jobs as the offshore wind industry develops in order to meet the government's 2020 targets for emis-sions and renewables. In addition to expanding the college's Wind Technician Training Course, the training tower will also signify the next stage in the development of a UK Centre for Wind Skills, placing the North East at the forefront of the wind industry's efforts to avoid a skills shortage. For more information on innovation in North East England visit www. northeastengland. co. uk Background: ONE NaREC Blade Testing Facility Case study: Clipper Windpower World- leading US- based turbine technology developer Clipper Windpower has been carrying out research and development at NaREC's Blyth facilities since 2007. This activity will facilitate Clipper Windpower's devel-opment of Project Britannia, the world's most powerful commercial wind turbine. The 7.5 MW turbine under development is currently the world's largest planned commercial turbine. The company has previously won the US Department of Energy's Outstanding Research and Development Partnership Award for the development of the largest wind turbine manufactured in the USA, the Liberty Wind Turbine. Activities in the region Clipper Windpower's presence in the region has been facilitated by NaREC's Blyth facilities, which provide the UK's only blade- testing facility for wind turbines. These facilities were critical in Clipper Windpower's decision to base its R& D project in the region and are key toward attracting further investment in the region in a rapidly growing area of renewable energy. Blyth has already established itself as a prestigious hub for the develop-ment of innovative wind- power technologies, having provided the location for one of the first innovative onshore projects and the development of the first UK offshore wind farm Blyth offers an excellent location for the development of wind turbine technology and will provide significant expertise to Clipper Windpower. The initial investment from Clipper Windpower is expected to create 25 new jobs in the region dur-ing 2009, and has received generous financial sup-port from One NorthEast, as well as support from NaREC through the provision of technical services and facilities, for a period of two years.