Showcasing Northeastern Industrial Expertise at the Summer School

07 Aug 2023

Author: Rhiannon Lamb

In June, UKERC hosted an international summer school at Newcastle University, which focused on a Global Just Transition: Equity in Net Zero, and was attended by 80 research students from across the globe.

Several national energy projects and research institutions, including HI-ACT, Supergen Energy Networks Hub, the Energy Transitions Centre Cambridge, IDLES, the Faraday Institution, CREDS, UKCCSRC and the Energy Research Accelerator, collaborated to create an exciting, weeklong programme of events to make the summer school an event to remember.

We would like to thank our industry sponsors, Lhyfe, LV, Northern Gas Networks, Northern Powergrid and Siemens Energy, for their kind donations, support throughout the week and continued engagement with early career researchers.

Summer school attendees at the poster session

Summer school attendees at the poster session

Lhyfe UK

“Lhyfe UK was delighted to be part of the UKERC Summer School and to have a chance to engage with so many of the students who will make up the next generation of researchers in the energy sector. Renewable green hydrogen has the potential to transform our energy landscape with Lhyfe offering great opportunities here in the North East, as well as across the UK and Europe. Through the Summer School and involvement with Newcastle University, we hope to provide a valuable insight for students interested in finding out more about the skills and experience they can gain from a future career in the renewables sector.”


“We strongly believe in the value of research initiatives such as the UKERC Summer School, which brings together students internationally to tackle one of the society’s biggest challenges through action-based learning and trying to solve practical challenges. It’s also so important to help create a network of interested new talent and introduce them to experts, enabling them to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and possibilities in net zero. We feel very privileged to support this great initiative and wish all the students the best in their future careers.”

Northern Powergrid

David van Kesteren, Engineering Training and Development Manager from Northern Powergrid said:

“Northern Powergrid, was proud to be a sponsor of the International Summer School, in partnership with Newcastle University. As Northern Powergrid’s Engineering Training and Development Manager, it was great to share my technical knowledge and expertise on the ‘Pitching Your Research’ panel.

Students demonstrated their understanding of net zero – as well as their passion for driving diversity, equity and inclusion in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects – all of which helps attract a diverse array of talent to join our industry.”

Image of the panel session, with Phil Blythe, David van Kesteren, Richard Oduro and Colin Herron

Image of the panel session, with Phil Blythe, David van Kesteren, Richard Oduro and Colin Herron

Siemens Energy

“Siemens Energy is focused on the energy transition and progressing to a net zero future. Events such as the UKERC summer school in Newcastle can help engage, inspire, and attract the best talent and assist the decarbonisation journey. Investing time and effort into this is important, the key research and insights provided by the students will help shape the energy system of the future, and we look forward to learning more about their feedback.”

Driving the Electrical Revolution Industrial Centre, North East

Four Driving the Electrical Revolution Industrial Centres (DER-IC) form a national network of academic and research and technology institutions across the UK. The network has a  vision to make the UK globally recognised as the centre of excellence in power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD) manufacturing processes by providing open access to more that £28M of specialist equipment to support growth of world class PEMD design, manufacturing, test and validation.

The students visited DER-IC North East where Derrick Holliday, Centre Lead and Technical Director, and Professor of Electric Drives, led a tour of the Centre’s pilot lines that support manufacturing, assembly and packaging process development for electrical machines and power electronic devices, modules, and drives.

Attendees at the Driving the Electrical Revolution Industrial Centre

Attendees at the Driving the Electrical Revolution Industrial Centre, North East

Northern Gas Network

Covering a different aspect of the net zero challenge, the students visited Northern Gas Network’s National (NGN) National Energy Research Village based in Low Thornley, Gateshead.

The site visit, led by Alex Brightman, Hydrogen Home Co-ordinator, included several talks about the wider innovation work NGN leads including:

  • The community work conducted in Redcar for their Hydrogen Community Village
  • The soon to be completed ‘Futures Close’ testbed of nine homes from built during different eras from the 1910s to the 1990s.
  • Results from the HyDeploy project, focused on hydrogen blending trails in Winlaton.

Alex then showed the students around the two on-site hydrogen home demonstrators, pictured below, where they learnt about and experienced how a hydrogen-fuelled home may operate. The hydrogen homes are the only homes it the UK demonstrating 100% hydrogen appliances including boilers, cooker and fires.

“It was great to showcase the Hydrogen Homes to the students and receive so many varied comments and enthusiastic questions about our work in the future use of energy”, Alex Brightman, Hydrogen Home Co-ordinator

About the author: 

Rhiannon Lamb is an Impact and Engagement Officer at Newcastle University working for HI-ACT and the Energy Demand Research Centre and was a key member of the summer school delivery team.