Don’t delay: Leading solar manufacturer urges installers to take up PV training as demand surges


A leading solar photovoltaics (PV) and energy storage solutions manufacturer is calling on both non-PV installers and existing solar contractors to invest in training, with interest in solar predicted to soar as a result of the as the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) increase.

Although the current EPG has been announced to stay at £2,500 for a further three months before increasing to £3,000 in July, solar is already seeing unprecedented levels of interest from homeowners and landlords. One energy firm, Good Energy, found that solar installations doubled to over 130,000 in 2022.

Now, GoodWe is urging tradespeople to start skilling up in solar today to take meet this growing demand and is launching a series of training sessions to help tradespeople add PV to their services.

The free-to-attend training sessions are part of the company’s GoodWe PLUS+ Installer Programme. Hosted online by a GoodWe technical specialist, the series is run in three separate parts, and is designed to help installers from design and installation, through to commissioning and aftermarket servicing. The programme consists of the following modules:


  1. Portfolio and Application – 9th May 2023.
  2. Commissioning and Monitoring – 11th May 2023
  3. Troubleshooting and Service – 16th May 2023


Eugene Lucarelli, Marketing Manager for GoodWe UK, said:

“Over the past year, we have seen the solar industry skyrocket. Rising energy prices have pushed people to look at futureproofing their energy supply and protect themselves from volatile, expensive grid costs.

“It represents a great opportunity for tradespeople like electricians and roofers, who may already have a slight connection with solar, to really step into the industry and add PV to their portfolio. We’re here to enable this through our easy-to-access training seminars in May, hosted by one of our leading technical representatives.

“The webinars themselves help break down everything an installer would need to know about solar solutions. It’s also a great refresher course for existing solar installers, and by going through the training sessions, you can become an accredited GoodWe PLUS+ installer and unlock other benefits from us too, including additional warranty on our residential inverters.”


As well as training installers on the core elements of a solar system solution – inverters and batteries – delegates can also learn about complementary products, such as EV chargers. These products are becoming increasingly popular and are a requisite for certain new builds under Part S of the Building Regulations – Infrastructure for the charging of electric vehicles.

Accredited GoodWe PLUS+ installers will benefit from an extended ten-year warranty on GoodWe’s range of string inverters for residential applications. Once training has been completed, all installers need to do is register for an installer code for GoodWe’s monitoring solution, SEMS, install an inverter and then connect the inverter to SEMS.


For more about the GoodWe PLUS+ programme and to sign up to the training, please visit

Radical rethink needed if Britain ever to meet annual 300,000 new homes target – construction workforce is simply too small

Modular homes can deliver factory-built houses with 50% fewer workers from a different pool of employees – and are 40% more productive than traditional builds


  • No Government can come close to its 300,000 new homes a year target by 2025 or even by 2030 without dramatic change in way we build houses
  • Just 11,000 construction apprentices completed courses last year – most do not enter housebuilding industry
  • 137,000 new workers would be needed into the industry to deliver Government target of 300,000 new homes a year by 2030
  • That would mean 17,000 new recruits each year – triple the number at present
  • Construction industry collectively needs to recruit 950,000 new employees by 2030 to deliver on Government’s current demands – net zero retrofitting, remediating unsafe cladding and new homes target
  • Modular can be the solution with government’s backing to help it scale up
  • 50,000 open construction vacancies equate to loss of £2.6 billion in construction output last year

Britain does not have the labour force to meet the Government’s target of building 300,000 homes a year by 2025. Cumbersome planning regulations and lack of money coming to the sector are often blamed for this lack of supply. Even if radical improvement to planning rules were put in place and traditional housebuilding had all the cash ministers could throw at it, the sector could still build no more homes as they don’t have the specialist workforce to make them.”

The traditional housebuilding sector needs to recruit 137,000 more workers just to hit the new homes 300,000 target by 2030 – this means 17,000 new recruits every year, triple the present rate. The current training system saw just 11,000 construction apprenticeships completed last year.

But that isn’t the end of the shortage story. Some 360,000 construction workers due to retire by 2030 must be replaced along with a further 24,000 to complete essential Government initiatives like remediating unsafe cladding on high rise buildings across the country. The wider construction industry’s labour force also needs to find a way to retrofit homes to meet the government’s net zero targets, which will require 220,000 new workers by 2030. This labour shortage equated to a loss of around £2.6bn of output in construction in 2022 and £263m of lost housebuilding output.

Collectively, the whole construction industry faces an impossible goal of needing to recruit over 950,000 workers by 2030 to meet all of these demands from government.

Modular homes can be a mainstay of the solution

  • Factory-made houses target a different pool of workers with the skills to work in precision manufacturing. The skills needed are easy to learn on the job with in-house training, and efficient assembly line processes mean modular house builders use 50% fewer workers to construct the same number of homes. This builds additionality in supply and modular is also 40% more productive than traditional housebuilding.


  • Just 10-20% of modular staff are from sought-after construction trades, with up to 65% in manufacturing roles.


  • Modular’s in-house training model means modular manufacturers can tap into a diverse labour pool of career changers, people coming out of economic inactivity or less-qualified workers who are keen to learn new skills. Jobs are secure full-time permanent contracts, delivering work security which does not exist within the traditional construction sector.

To scale up – modular needs government to:

  1. Remove the accidental double government levy charge on modular manufacturers by exempting them from the scope of the CITB levy.
  2. Build supply chain capacity by repurposing the £10m allocated for the MMC Taskforce and use it to support a match-funded supply chain transformation programme based on those government has successfully delivered in aerospace, offshore wind, and nuclear.
  3. Solve the housing crisis faster by dedicating 40% of the affordable housing programme to modern methods of construction.


Steve Cole, Director Make UK Modular said:


“To address the issue of labour shortages which is now at critical point, Government must help modular to grow at speed and take advantage of the fact modular can build homes quickly but also homes which are efficient to heat and run.


“The changes we are asking for on the levy, reallocating the money for the MMC Taskforce and dedicating a substantial chunk of the affordable homes programme to modular would not cost any extra money. But they would help drive way faster growth in the sector and mean modular factories could operate at maximum productivity to deliver the homes Britain so desperately needs.”

Read the full report here Who will be the builders? Modular’s role in solving the housing labour crisis | Make UK


About Make UK Modular

Make UK Modular is the voice of the modular housing sector. We exist to help modular housing scale up, provide expert advice about the sector’s needs, foster collaboration to overcome political issues, and work with members to grow their businesses.

The UK needs more homes, and fast. It needs homes which are green to build. It needs homes which use less energy. It needs homes to be great quality and good value. And it needs new people to build them. It needs homes: greener, better, faster. It needs Modular.

Make UK Modular | Make UK

River pollution crisis; New report highlights how home building ban could be lifted

Calls to prevent SME builders suffering for water company and farming failures


With pressure growing on water companies and farmers to address high nutrient levels in rivers, a new Lichfields report published by the Home Builders Federation (HBF) identifies solutions to Natural England’s disproportionate ban on building new homes.

Ineffective action taken to address the nutrients issue has resulted in a quarter of local authority areas in England now having a moratorium on the construction of new homes, leaving over 120,000 homes on hold.

As this week’s episode of BBC’s Countryfile demonstrated, agricultural run-off and the failure of water companies to upgrade infrastructure to cope with the growing population resulting in the dumping of raw sewage into rivers, are the root causes of the nutrients issue. The contribution of all housing stock is estimated to be less than 5%, so adding 120,000 homes to England’s stock of 25 million dwellings would lead to a negligible increase.

Despite this, Natural England’s solution has been to use a little-known EU rule to ban the construction of desperately needed new homes on the basis that a single new property could increase the amount of waste water generated.

Natural England’s disproportionate ruling fails to address the heart of the issue and account for the increased water-efficiency of modern new builds compared with older housing stock.

The report published by HBF identifies improvements to Natural England’s nutrient calculator so it more accurately reflects the impact of new residential development, therefore releasing some homes currently blocked from being built.

According to Natural England’s calculator, the land-take requirements associated with achieving nutrient neutrality through nature-based solutions is considerable. The report’s recommendations would allow for some housebuilding to resume. It would also reduce the amount of farmland that would otherwise need to be taken out of food-production to make way for nature-based solutions.

The report’s publication coincides with the UN Water Conference. It identifies two important areas for change:


  1. Adjusting Natural England’s calculator to reflect the net additional population that will result from the delivery of new housing – rather than a continued focus on the gross population of the new dwellings – based on an application of the net additional average household size; and


  1. assessing the number of dwellings that are to be delivered before 2030 rather than a requirement to mitigate a development in its entirety, regardless of when the houses will be delivered. This would enable larger schemes with longer build-out timetables to benefit from the planned statutory improvements to wastewater treatment works which it is hoped will take effect in 2030.


Natural England’s current ban on home building is having an increasingly detrimental social impact, deepening the housing crisis we face. With the home building industry being a major employer and driver of economic activity, the ban is also damaging local economies and posing a major threat to many businesses, especially SME builders.

While the most sensible solution would be to lift the unnecessary moratorium immediately and focus on tackling the major polluters, so long as the government insists on nutrient neutrality it must explore short-term solutions to alleviate the burden and release some of the homes delayed.

As part of this year’s Budget, government announced a requirement for water companies to upgrade their infrastructure by 2030. While HBF welcomes this measure, it fails to address the urgency of the issue and provides no immediate relief to the risk that many small house building companies will go out of business well before the measure takes effect in 2030.


Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the HBF said;

“It is widely accepted that the ban on new housing is disproportionate and unnecessary and does nothing to tackle the main causes of the nutrients issue. The new report identifies more balanced and speedier solutions that would help to alleviate this socially and economically damaging ban.”


If the recommended improvements are made, it will become more feasible for some medium and larger sized housing developments to achieve nutrient neutrality before 2030 when the Government’s proposed measure to improve the performance of wastewater treatment works is hoped to come into effect.

However, government will still need to consider a package of measures to assist SMEs who have neither the cash reserves to procure nature-based solutions nor will benefit from the Government’s proposed improvements to wastewater treatment works or Natural England’s nutrient mitigation scheme.

The proposals in the report were raised at a roundtable HBF convened with government and Natural England in February. The industry is now calling on the government to support the proposed amendments.


Reid Brewin Architects (RBA) has announced the completion of a ground-breaking project that uses waste energy from data centres to power a rooftop ‘urban farm’ on the outskirts of Paris.

RBA’s design for the Equinix PA10 data centre, located in Saint Denis, is the first of its kind in France. Central to the client’s sustainability commitment was the desire to reuse waste heat from the data centre, and to create a usable area that would promote health and wellbeing. 

The project comprises a 430m2 greenhouse surrounded by a further 570m2 of green space, with the rooftop structures powered using a heat recovery system with heat exchangers linked to the data centre’s water cooling system.

Each greenhouse is fitted with sensors to monitor humidity as well as internal and external temperatures – which can trigger heaters in cooler weather. Together with sunshades, automated irrigation, and ventilation systems, they deliver a controlled climate year-round within the greenhouses. 

The development means seasonal fruit and vegetables can be cultivated using a hydroponic system, in a bid to maximise space efficiency and minimise water usage, while the gardens are planted with vegetation chosen specifically to maximise the amount of rainwater consumption, while supporting the local insects and wildlife, with the installation of insect hotels.

All rooftop garden space is wheelchair accessible, and provides natural shade, cooling, and relaxation areas. Visitors and staff are invited to share the food grown on site, and to make the most of the dedicated seating and catering areas.

“It is of increasing importance that we increase our actions and mitigate the environmental impact of an increasingly digital world,” explained John Hutchinson, director at RBA.

“We’re extremely proud to support our clients with this shared goal, and PA10 heralds the start of an exciting new era, enabling us to apply learnings from this project across other projects. Sustainability and safeguarding the environment are at the heart of everything we do, and this opportunity has already inspired further initiatives across our client base.”

As the industry looks to address the gender imbalance, Jackie Maginnis was certainly ahead of her time not only as a high-profile woman in construction but also in promoting the benefits of advanced building technologies. With a long and illustrious career, more recently in the modular and portable building industry, for over 50 years she has been involved in construction related businesses.

Starting her working life at SGB (Scaffolding Great Britain) in the Plant Hire Division, later transferring to SGB Rovacabin (the hire division now part of Wernick Group), Jackie held various positions from Northern Regional Manager to National Operations Manager and everything in between. It was her work involving the product design and development of modular buildings that caught the attention of the Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA) and in 2005 she was invited to join and take up the position of Chief Executive – a role she still holds today.

With a mission to develop a wider understanding of what can be achieved using volumetric modular construction, Jackie gives credit to the public sector.

“As an early adopter of modern methods of construction (MMC), councils and local authorities were using volumetric modular technology across all sectors in the 70’s and 80’s particularly to cope with a rapid increase in the need for education buildings as a result of the post war baby boom. This was very much the development ground for MMC – backed by thinking way ahead of its time.”

“We cannot yet claim to be ‘mainstream’, but we have seen a dramatic uptake in volumetric modular technology which is now considered as category one in the MMC Frameworks,” said Jackie. “The support for government projects, particularly in healthcare and education, has come from lobbying over the years from the MPBA and our members, to get specification and procurement changes in place. In the wake of more backing from Westminster, we have witnessed an increase in investment and modular construction frameworks across all public sector projects.”

Jackie states that as the industry association, the MPBA has a mission to educate and dispel misconceptions and highlights an example.

“A few years ago, there was a mistaken belief that a volumetric approach stifles design capabilities. But then new architects came to the fore that not only embraced modern methods of construction but proved without doubt the design potential of modular technology.”

Jackie agrees that we have since moved on and most understand the predictability, productivity, quality and safety gains achieved in volumetric manufactured buildings. But when asked if she had any frustrations, Jackie said:

“As ever ‘the devil is in the detail’ and there is still an element of confusion particularly in some areas of government and wider trade bodies which is naturally causing some disconcert within the MPBA fraternity.

“This is predominately driven by a lack of understanding of the different requirements between the modular commercial and residential sectors. Policy is being dictated by the perceived growth in residential markets and then applied to the mature commercial sector – the pitfalls surrounding this approach are obvious. Then there are the global markets, particularly in the US and EU where construction methods are totally different and we cannot apply the same protocols as the UK, which is a world leader in not only volumetric modular technology but building standards.

“The term ‘modern methods of construction’ was reintroduced in 2019 by Communities and Local Government following a specific commitment made in the 2017 white paper fix our broken housing. The MMC Framework that followed as a result was specifically written for large scale housing projects but has been continually implemented across the wider non-domestic sectors where modular construction techniques have matured over several years. There are significant differences in the supply chain, design factors, risk profiles and significantly, terminology used. The MPBA has released a Non-domestic Guide to Modern Methods of Construction Categories to raise awareness.”

“Modular construction quite rightly has to conform to Building Regulations, so for example, combustible materials have been banned for use on the external walls of new buildings of at least 18 metres containing one or more dwellings since 2018. To our dismay a brochure promoting a trade body in the building safety arena, has an image of a timber module being craned onto about the tenth storey. Clearly not a UK development, but this lack of attention to detail, particularly by those who are involved in setting the standards, is disappointing to say the least.”

After all these years in the industry, Jackie is still totally committed and fiercely passionate about representing the MPBA and its members. But when asked ‘what’s next’ Jackie said: “We need to ensure policy decisions are evidence based for the good of not only the modular industry and the wider construction sector but most importantly to ensure the best outcomes for building owners and occupiers. There is still much work to be done, so I intend to continue on my mission to promote modular for some time to come!”

The MPBA plays a key role in the connecting of sectors in the modular and portable building industry. The association collaborates with specialist technical advisors to enhance innovation in the design and manufacture of volumetric modular buildings. These can be designed and manufactured from timber or steel in any size and shape to meet individual client needs while ensuring full compliance with building regulations.

To discover how volumetric modular technology can benefit construction projects visit:


Belper-based construction heavyweight Bowmer + Kirkland has snapped up structural insulated panel manufacturer Innovaré Systems.

Innovaré, of Coventry, was part of the Osborne Construction Group. It develops “new materials, technologies and methods” for use in offsite building projects.

The company reported a turnover of £11.6m in its last available accounts.

Osborne Group chairman Andrew Osborne said the deal would

“ensure [Osborne’s] core business can be successful in the years ahead.”

“Everyone at Osborne is proud of Innovaré’s growth to date and I know the company will continue to thrive under its new ownership”, he added.

The deal follows a pair of lucrative Framework successes for Bowmer + Kirkland. The Derbyshire firm was awarded a place on the £10bn Crown Commercial Services Offsite Framework last month and revealed it had been appointed to the prestigious Ministry of Justice Constructor Services Framework earlier this week.


Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed.


Source: The Business Desk

The first factory-built homes at a housing association’s ground-breaking development in Gloucestershire have been craned into place.

Bromford is building 28 new homes at Stockwells in Moreton-in-Marsh, all of which are being built in sections by leading modular housebuilder ilke Homes. Now the first modules have been transported from ilke’s Yorkshire factory to Gloucestershire and representatives from Bromford, ilke Homes and Cotswold District Council were in attendance to watch them arrive and be craned into place. A total of 10 homes have been delivered to the site so far, with the remaining 18 due to arrive in the month ahead.

Millie Nicholls, regeneration project manager at Bromford said:

“It’s been so exciting to see the first of these modular homes being lowered into place here in Moreton-in-Marsh.

“With high energy prices continuing to fuel the cost-of-living crisis, it’s never been more important to build energy efficient affordable housing. Not only will customers benefit from living in A-rated homes which require less energy to run, it is another step for us to making sure all of our homes have at least a C Energy Performance Certificate rating by 2028.

“This is the first development of its kind for us in the Cotswolds and our first project with ilke Homes. We can’t wait to see the rest of the homes arrive on site in the weeks ahead so we can put the finishing touches to them and make them ready for customers to move in. We hope to work with them on further sites in the next few years to deliver more affordable, energy efficient homes for our customers.”

Tom Heathcote, executive director of development at ilke Homes, added:

“This site milestone demonstrates offsite manufacturing’s ability to speed up the delivery of highly energy-efficient, affordable homes,

“ilke Homes is increasingly becoming a partner of choice for housing associations looking to scale up the delivery of much-needed housing. Much like many councils and housing associations across the country, Bromford and Cotswold District Council understand the role modular housing has to play in enhancing the build quality of homes and their ability to speed up construction programmes.

“We look forward to working closely with all delivery partners to bring this scheme forward.”

Thanks to £550,000 of funding from Cotswold District Council, the finished homes will also boast additional sustainable features such as solar panels, battery storage and air source heat pumps, making them some of the most energy efficient homes in the country.

Leader of Cotswold District Council, Cllr Joe Harris, said:

“It was great to watch this development take shape. This is an innovative zero-carbon housing scheme and the first modular build of its kind anywhere in the Cotswolds.

“Our housing teams have worked incredibly hard to build a strong relationship with Bromford and I would like to thank them for all their efforts in bringing about this fantastic scheme for the Cotswolds.

“This is the standard we expect of affordable housing here in the Cotswolds. Not only do we want housing to be zero carbon, we want it to be genuinely affordable. This development is set to make Stockwells of the best parts of Moreton and we’re confident these exemplar modern homes will do just that.”

The new homes Bromford is building at Stockwells replace a street of 24 non-traditional properties that had been built as a quick-build solution to the housing shortage in the 1950s. But over the years their condition had deteriorated and they were experiencing issues with damp and draughts. The former properties were demolished in the summer of 2022 and the groundwork prepared for the arrival of the new homes. The finished two- and three- bedroom homes will all be available at social rents to let when completed later this year.

Swegon takes its first step towards using fossil-free steel

This week, Swegon presented its first product made from carbon dioxide-reduced steel – a GOLD RX – at the ISH trade fair in Frankfurt. The manufacture of steel consumes large amounts of both resources and energy. As ventilation units are primarily made of steel, there is considerable potential to reduce the carbon footprint of embodied carbon in production, by replacing traditional steel with steel that has a lower climate footprint.

In January, the first delivery of XCarb® RRP (recycled and renewably produced) Magnelis from thesteel manufacturer ArcelorMittal was received at Swegon’s Kvänum factory, where the companymanufactures ventilation units. According to ArcelorMittal, XCarb® RRP Magnelis has anapproximately 70% lower CO2 footprint than traditionally manufactured steel. XCarb® RRP ismainly produced from recycled steel and uses 100% renewable energy in the manufacturing process.

The first concept air handling unit has now been produced, and the plan is to gradually introducecarbon dioxide-reduced steel into ongoing production, starting during the second quarter of this year.

“We are delighted to now be phasing in carbon dioxide-reduced steel in our large ventilation units.We all have to contribute and reduce our climate footprint, and this transition is enabling us toreduce not only our own, but also our customers’ footprint,” says Robert Siverby, Supply ChainDirector at Swegon Group.

Swegon has, for a long time, focused on sustainability and on reducing the climate footprint in theproduction as well as the use phase of its products. Swegon was among the first in the industry todevelop EPDs (Environmental Product Declaration) for its products, and has a significant amount ofEPDs in its portfolio.

Based on the existing EPD for GOLD RX, size 12, the total Global Warming Potential (GWP) isexpected to be reduced by approximately 20% with the transition to XCarb® RRP Magnelis steel,given that all the steel is replaced. The introduction of XCarb® RRP is a first step in the company’sjourney towards fossil-free steel.


Ignacio Rojas Hirigoyen develops modular building system to address housing crisis

Ignacio Rojas Hirigoyen Architects and The Andes House have designed a modular prototype that can be configured to construct low-cost housing.

The Industrialized Building System Prototype was designed by Ignacio Rojas Hirigoyen Architects and The Andes House and fabricated by Cromolux in Santiago, before being assembled in the nearby town of Casablanca, Chile.

“The prototype was conceived to give an answer to the urgent global dwelling crisis,” architect Ignacio Rojas Hirigoyen told Dezeen.

“We decided to build a house as a first prototype of the Building System but with these parts and pieces that work as a ‘LEGO,’ you can design and build any other typologies.”

Drawing on innovations by Walter Gropius and other Bauhaus designers, the prototype consists of a thick, layered recycled wood fiber panel framed by “wooden sub-modules that link together by a system of locks and wedges” to form building blocks for walls, floors and ceilings.

“All of this creates the modular coordination of steel and wood carpentry with no surplus material, and where every part has its own place and function,” Hirigoyen said, explaining that the layered assembly provides thermal and acoustic comfort for the home.

The panels are installed within a lightweight, anti-seismic, recycled steel structure measuring 5 metres by 18 metres (16 feet by 60 feet) to create an 80-square-metre (860-square-foot) house.

The exterior of the panels is layered with a vapor barrier and corrugated metal plates that allow the facade to ventilate.

A gabled metal roof – held off the box profile by angled webs forming a triangular truss – tops the house and displays the location’s accelerated desertification process.

“Under its wide eaves, air flow is achieved to deliver fresh air to the interior through the windows below them,” Hirigoyen explained.

“It also serves as a fog catcher by condensation, which allows water collection and provides support for solar panels for a 100 per cent off-grid electrical scheme.”

The prototype system can also function without a roof structure.

The house assembly is set off the ground by tripod foundations and is arranged with an inset, dogtrot-style porch accessed by a metal grating ramp.

The interior of the housing unit – consisting of two bedrooms, two bathrooms and an open living, dining and kitchen space – is finished with laminated wood boards.

In addition to the passive sustainable strategies, the project includes a wastewater treatment system.

The construction was efficient, requiring only four onsite crew members, a crane truck and a set of wrenches and screwdrivers.

Hirigoyen referenced the efficiency and standardization of prefabricated modules as a key component of the system’s application and flexibility – as well as the prototype’s ability to be used both horizontally and vertically.

“Our system allows solving other typologies such as buildings for collective housing, health, education and various types of equipment,” he said.

The studio is now working on the next version of the prototype with Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Architecture School.



In a similar concept for a different terrain, Danish studio MAST is developing a modular prototype system for constructing floating buildings that will be presented at the UIS World Congress of Architects in July.

The system designed by Copenhagen-based MAST consists of modular containers that can be filled with various floatation elements, similar to how gabion cages are used in the construction industry.

Made from recycled reinforced plastic, these flat-pack modules could be easily transported around the world and assembled in different configurations to suit a range of building types.

Source: Dezeen

The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and the University of Sheffield have entered a partnership that is set to drive the development of fusion technology and the UK’s future fusion industry.

The collaboration, announced on March 9th, will see Sheffield appoint two Chairs in fusion research and development. Both roles will establish new research programmes to address global fusion challenges.

The position of Chair in Qualification for Fusion will address fundamental engineering challenges in the qualification of components, fabricated assemblies and systems for use within future fusion powerplants.

The position of Chair in Fusion Materials will focus on innovation in materials design and processing to improve powerplant performance and the decommissioning and recycling of new materials developed.

Both Chairs will work closely with UKAEA staff and the University of Sheffield Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) in Rotherham, part of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult, which helps to move cutting-edge research from universities into the commercial market.

The University’s Faculty of Engineering will host the two Chairs. UKAEA has chosen to work with the University because of its expertise and strong track record in materials science, engineering and manufacturing research, which are crucial for developing new low-carbon technologies.

As part of the partnership, UKAEA will also collaborate with the University’s UK-leading research in thermal hydraulics – a key research area in the development of fusion as an energy source.

Dr Amanda Quadling, Director of Materials Research at UKAEA, said:

“We are pleased to partner with the University of Sheffield. Their Department of Materials Science and Engineering has a combination of process innovation capabilities, metals performance testing and high calibre microscopy skills which will complement our post-irradiation activities.

“This partnership will help to address intrinsic engineering and materials challenges in order to make fusion energy commercially viable. It will also develop a pipeline of talent for the future of our thriving fusion industry.”

Professor Jim Litster, Vice-President for Engineering at the University of Sheffield, said:

“Here at Sheffield we have a long track record of world-leading research excellence across materials science, advanced manufacturing, engineering, and low-carbon energy research. This is coupled with successful translation into industry and UK government policy.

“Developing strong external partnerships is a key part of our Faculty of Engineering’s strategy. With the University, UKAEA’s Fusion Technology Facility in Rotherham and the STEP prototype fusion powerplant site at West Burton, Nottinghamshire, all in relatively close proximity to one another, the partnership will develop a strong regional focus on fusion excellence in South Yorkshire and surrounding regions. Harnessing the research strength of northern universities, such as ours at Sheffield, is crucial if the UK is going to transition to low-carbon energy sources and protect its energy supply over the long-term.”

It is expected the two positions will attract collaborations from a wider range of industrial partners who will be able to sponsor students and work in partnership with them on research projects.

Stephen Wheeler, Director of Fusion Technology, UKAEA, said:

“The challenge of how we test and qualify components for future use in a fusion environment is critical for the delivery of a fusion powerplant.  Partnering with the University of Sheffield to launch a new Chair in this field will accelerate the application of cutting edge techniques from across all sectors of engineering and the development of new experimental and digital techniques specific to fusion.

“The UKAEA’s Fusion Technology Facility based at the Advanced Manufacturing Park, South Yorkshire, is enabling us to access and grow regional capabilities to support the delivery of fusion. This includes local skills development from schools to universities and also the world class capabilities within the local manufacturing supply chain. We look forward to accessing the University of Sheffield’s expertise in engineering testing and qualification to enhance our national programme.”

Along with many other framework agreements with universities and industry partners, the agreement aims to bolster the UK’s strong position in commercialising fusion energy as a major source of low carbon electricity for the second half of this century.

Fusion is the process which occurs at the centre of stars; it is the source of light and heat emitted by the Sun.

Finance invested in fusion energy enables new materials and technologies to be developed that can benefit not just fusion energy, but also a wide range of industries including space, healthcare and decommissioning.

UKAEA’s mission is to lead the delivery of sustainable fusion energy and maximise scientific and economic benefit.