Green technologies developed at The University of Nottingham have been recognised among the finest examples of new innovations aimed at reducing global warming and tackling climate change.
The University impressed the judges at the recent Rushlight Awards, attracting two prizes for innovations that will improve access to clean drinking water for people in the developing world and help to make homes of the future more eco-friendly.
The Rushlight Awards, which were awarded at a recent gala event in Westminster and attended by around 300 leading figures from the clean technology industry, showcase the very best new sustainable technologies in development in the UK and Ireland.
Professor Saffa Riffat, Professor in Sustainable Technology in the Department of Architecture and Built Environment at the University, and head of its Institute of Sustainable Energy, said: "The University of Nottingham is a major centre for energy and clean technology research and is committed to the development of new cost-effective energy solutions, from renewable sources.
"The awards were the perfect shop window for Nottingham's research expertise and as a result of our success we have already been approached by a number of leading companies interested in exploring knowledge transfer partnership opportunities."
The University collected the Rushlight Solar Energy Award for a unique water purification system that potentially could protect people in the developing world from the risk of serious illnesses such as cholera and dysentery associated with a lack of clean drinking water. The simple, portable and low-cost device which is powered by the sun's energy uses a unique honeycomb core to filter the water and remove any dangerous impurities. The University is currently seeking industry collaboration to begin manufacturing the device.
The University was recognised alongside its industry partner Roger Bullivant Ltd, the Burton-on-Trent-based specialist civil and structural engineering company, taking the Ground and Air Source Power Award for its revolutionary new foundation system. The system is a quick, no-dig solution for building foundations and the steel frame can be constructed by a team of just two people within the course of a single day. Combined with special energy piles driven into the ground, which take geothermal energy out of the ground, the system can be used as an off-grid solution to heating the home in the winter and keeping it cool in the winter. The foundation system has already been successfully used for the Creative Energy Homes project, which has seen the construction of seven zero-carbon homes on Nottingham's University Park campus showcasing the latest in innovative environmentally sustainable design and renewable energy technologies.
Professor Chris Rudd, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Knowledge Transfer and Business Engagement, said: "We're delighted to receive this accolade for our groundbreaking work in low carbon technologies. This is a space where great science meets with environmental responsibility and great business opportunity. It sends a powerful message to our staff and students that University of Nottingham researchers continue not only to make important technological breakthroughs but that they connect with communities and markets to improve lives and help to preserve the planet."
The awards are yet further recognition for Nottingham's green credentials - last month it was awarded second place in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, the league table of the world's most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions.
The position reflects Nottingham's commitment to putting the environmental agenda at the heart of its activities. Nottingham launched an environmental strategy last year, managed by an Environmental Steering Group, which outlines its aims in achieving excellence in sustainability and has been underpinned by the introduction of a range of initiatives including green gardening practices on its award-winning parkland campuses, the use of innovative architecture and sustainable design in building new facilities, reducing the environmental impact of its IT use and introducing sustainable procurement practices into contracts with a growing number of major suppliers.
Staff and students have been encouraged to make their own pledge to becoming more eco-friendly through a University-wide Go Greener campaign, whether it be by reducing their carbon footprint by switching off PCs or lights when not in use or leaving their car at home and using public transport and the University's own fleet of inter-campus 'hopper' buses with new lower-emissions diesel engines.
As part of its measures to reduce its carbon footprint, the University recently unveiled plans for three wind turbines on land close to the River Trent, near Clifton Bridge in Nottingham, which, if approved, would supply green electricity directly to its University Park campus. The turbines, which would meet one-third of the electricity needs of the campus, would reduce the University's carbon emissions by 7,000 tonnes per year, equating to 40 per cent of the target reductions required by 2015.