The University is developing a range of innovative environmental technologies through spin-out companies and partnerships with industry and NGO's. Recent highlights include the following:
The Advanced Composite Centre for Innovation and Science ( ACCIS) is leading the development of the new National Composites Centre, a collaboration with the South West Regional Development Agency and companies including Vestas, Rolls-Royce, GKN, Agusta Westland, GE and Airbus. Major activities include the development of wind turbine blades and light-weight aerospace structures, essential for reduced fuel burn.
Researchers within the University's Centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information ( NSQI) have been awarded €980,000 award by the energy company E.ON for the development of a novel solar power device. This complements other research on the development of new materials for solar power applications using the NSQI's state-of-the-art facilities.
A US $13 million grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is currently funding the development of Aquatest, the world's first low-cost, easy-to-use diagnostic tool that will give a reliable indication of water quality.
Heathrow Airport has recently become the first commercial operator of a unique Personal Rapid Transport System developed by Advanced Transport Systems Ltd, a University spin-out company. The award-winning ULTra (Urban Light Transport) is electrically powered and will provide low cost and sustainable transport, using 70 per cent less energy per passenger-kilometre than a car.
The University also hosts a business incubator centre to support early-stage technology based businesses with high growth potential. This is part of the SETsquared Partnership, a collaboration between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Southampton and Surrey, which collectively supports the growth and success of new business opportunities through spin-outs, licensing and incubation. Companies with a strong environmental focus currently housed within the Bristol incubation centre include:
- Tidal Generation Ltd, developing a tidal stream energy device which will deliver sustainable energy to a timetable; invisibly and reliably at a competitive price.
- Invro, developing technologies for the efficient management of electrical energy by electronic means.
- 3men in a boat, developing ultra low power communications within the consumer space.
- enModus Ltd, developing tools to enable homeowners to understand and change their energy behaviours.