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Powering up the North East’s Net Zero supply chain

By Newcastle University
Charging an electric vehicle

Newcastle University is the lead partner in Driving the Electric Revolution Industrialisation Centres, (DER-IC), a £28.5m government investment into developing the UK's clean and resilient supply chains in power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD).

Investment from the Driving the Electric Revolution challenge at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is providing a critical financial boost to the North East as well as other facilities across the UK, which will be hubs for collaborative networks between companies, academia, and Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs).

The funding will supply open-access facilities and new equipment which will be operational later this year, building on existing capability and filling gaps in the UK’s current capability. The investment will enable a competitive electrification supply chain to be built across sectors, including:

  • Industrial
  • Transport
  • Energy.

A revolutionary new centre for the North East

In the North East, DER-IC will be based in Sunderland at the Skills Academy for Sustainable Manufacturing and Innovation (SASMI) building, which has been purchased by Sunderland City Council.

The Centre will ensure that Sunderland and the North East remain at the forefront of advanced manufacturing, drawing on the expertise of the region’s universities and industry to support advancements in electrification and grow the region’s knowledge economy.

SASMI’s location, adjacent to the Nissan plant and the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), means it is well-positioned as a base for DER-IC, in the heart of the North East’s world-leading advanced manufacturing cluster.

Rachel Chambers, Chief Operating Officer for DER-IC North East, said: “We are thrilled to have found a home in SASMI in Washington, the beating heart of the region’s advanced manufacturing base.

“The North East is in a unique position to support the UK's ambitious goal of Net Zero given its electrification capability and we’re absolutely determined to enable that.”


Cutting edge equipment for electrification research and development

Led by Newcastle University, the Centre will provide open-access facilities with state-of-the-art equipment, bringing together the UK’s technology and manufacturing expertise in electrification research and development, which is vital to the future of the sector as a whole.

The DER-IC North East Centre will establish a flexible electric machines assembly line providing electric motor development, manufacturing process experimentation and motor and electronics testing to support companies in the development, prototype and pre-production prove out solutions.

There will also be a Power Electronics assembly line based in the centre to assist companies in developing, prototyping, and scaling up advanced power electronic hardware for PEMD applications such as bare die, hybrid circuits and advanced semiconductor packaging development.


Making the UK a world leader in PEMD

This investment represents a vital step forward in making the UK a world leader in power electronics, machines and drives.

Professor Will Drury, Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge Director, said:

“With access to the centres and network open to all, we aim to give all UK businesses and researchers the ability to develop and scale new PEMD technologies and manufacturing processes.

Only by investing now in developing PEMD will the UK achieve its Net Zero ambitions”.

Professor Brian Walker, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research Strategy and Resources at Newcastle University, said:

“At Newcastle University, we are delighted to be leading the Driving the Electric Revolution Industrialisation Centres national project.

The support from UKRI allows us to bring to life a vision that was conceived by colleagues from across the UK and connects the UK’s best research and development across PEMD.

It is essential that the UK grasps the opportunity to lead in providing supply chains for electrification of multiple modes of transport if we are to maintain our manufacturing capacity and meet our targets for electric vehicles in 2030 and net zero carbon by 2050”.


Find out more

For more information about DER-IC, visit www.der-ic.org.uk



Tags: Energy, One Planet, COP26