Earth Day 2022: Invest in our Planet with DER-IC

Earth Day is an annual, international event on 22 April to demonstrate support for environmental protection. The theme of this year's Earth Day is "Invest in our Planet", a message that is particularly pertinent this month in the UK with the launch of the Government's new Energy Security Strategy, which stressed the need for investment in local and sustainable power supplies.

This shift towards sustainability requires a multi-sector approach. Manufacturers across transport and industry are recognising that there is no longer a choice between going green and growing long-term profits — sustainability is the path to prosperity. For both humanitarian and business reasons, it is imperative that companies of all sizes take action and embrace the benefits of a green economy.

Driving the Electric Revolution Industrialisation Centres (DER-IC) works across sectors in order to support companies in their electrification journey. Electrification is a significant enabler and will provide many of the technology solutions for the climate crisis. Approaches for meeting the UK's net zero targets vary by sector: the automotive industry aims for all cars to be zero emissions capable by 2035, while the maritime sector has a target of reducing emissions by at least 50% by 2050.

In spite of the variations in target dates, all of these sectors share a common need: underpinning the technologies for electrification are Power Electronics, Electric Machines and Electric Drives (PEMD). All energy sources rely on PEMD for control and distribution, therefore the UK needs to be capable of manufacturing its own.

What is PEMD?

1. Power Electronics

Image source: Electrical 4U

Power electronics is the branch of electrical engineering that deals with the processing of different voltages and currents to deliver power that supports a variety of needs.

From household electronics to equipment in space applications, these areas all need stable and reliable electric power.

Devices that use power electronics can be found everywhere in our daily lives, from air conditioners to vacuum cleaners to laptops. Power electronics are used extensively in vehicles to power ignition switches, lighting and power steering, and in factories to power almost every motor.

2. Electric Machines

An electric machine is a device which converts mechanical energy into electrical energy and vice versa.

Electric machines also include transformers, which do not actually make conversion between mechanical and electrical form but rather convert AC current from one voltage level to another voltage level.

Electric machines are used in electric generators, such as water and wind turbines, as well as to drive vehicles and household appliances, from aeroplanes to washing machines.

3. Electric Drives

Image source: Instrumentation Tools

An electric drive is defined as an electronic device designed to control certain parameters of the motor for controlling the electrical energy into mechanical power in a precise controllable way.

It consists of a sophisticated electronic system or a combination of different systems for the purpose of motion control.

How is DER-IC Improving PEMD Supply Chains?

Currently in UK industry and transport much of our product development and R&D is done locally, but PEMD equipment is manufactured overseas. DER-IC's mission is to support companies to manufacture PEMD within the UK, building stronger supply chains and lessening the environmental impact of shipping equipment around the world.

Our Centres will support PEMD supply chains in the UK in a variety of ways:

  1. Providing open-access equipment in acknowledged centres of excellence across the UK for industry to build supply chain capability, capacity and competitiveness

  2. Installing £28.5m of state-of-the-art new equipment to fill gaps in UK manufacturing capability

  3. Providing a "matchmaking" tool to allow companies to find collaborators and fill supply chain gaps (coming soon)

  4. Encouraging major industry players to invest and source in the UK.

By building these connections through DER-IC's partner network of 30+ academic organisations and RTOs, we will invest in our people and planet by ensuring a secure supply of PEMD equipment here in the UK.

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