Cardiff University has secured almost £1 million in EU funding for three research projects as part of a Europe-wide drive to tackle fuel poverty and enhance urban energy efficiency.

Breakthroughs from the research, which will run until 2020, will be applied across Europe in a bid to deliver more efficient use of energy in the built environment. 

Two of the Cardiff projects, the Horizon 2020-funded THERMOSS and PENTAGON projects, will look at new ways of managing urban energy resources. THERMOSS is aimed at addressing current barriers to the uptake of district heating and cooling (DHC) systems in Europe, including the UK, by designing the next generation DHC with a substantial increased share of renewables, operational efficiency and reduced environmental impact. PENTAGON will be trialling a new type of eco-district, using a range of renewable energy generation sources and advanced energy management. The project will use thermal, gas and electric energy and look at energy conversion technology (including power to gas) to improve flexibility of energy supply. They will be based on the site of a former steelworks in Ebbw Vale.

The third project, PiSCES, funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation programme, will look specifically at reducing the costs and carbon footprint of energy networks in the fish processing industry. Working with Milford Haven Port Authority, the project will include integrating a 5MW solar array plant into the port's energy matrix.

Partner projects will be taking place in the UK, Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Czech Republic and Ireland.

The Cardiff research will be led by Professor Yacine Rezgui from the University’s Building Research Establishment (BRE) centre of excellence in the School of Engineering. He commented: “From an environmental perspective, the work will contribute in achieving energy and carbon reduction targets sets by the EU and implemented by the UK and pave the way to a more sustainable built environment; from a societal perspective, the work will help alleviate the crucial problem of fuel poverty, in particular in Wales; from an economic perspective, the research will promote new business models across the energy value chain with a strong potential for job creation in the energy sector.”