16 May 2022
Semiconductor Innovation for Net Zero project gains £2.45m funding
A new research and innovation facility based at Swansea University in Wales has received a funding boost of £2.45m to host a project that will trial innovative emission reduction strategies to help the semiconductor industry deliver on net-zero ambitions.
The new Semiconductor Innovation for Net Zero (SIN_0) project will be housed at the industry-focused Centre for Integrative Semiconductor Materials (CISM), which is funded by the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF).
Net Zero is an £18.9m pilot funding initiative designed to support capital activities that will reduce the carbon emissions of UKRPIF-funded research facilities, making the research processes they support more environmentally sustainable. Funded activity will also support the core aims of the wider UKRPIF program, including enhancing higher-education (HE) facilities to support world-class research and strengthening partnerships between providers and other organizations active in research. UKRPIF and UKRPIF: Net Zero are managed by Research England – part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – on behalf of the four funding bodies - Research England, the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), and the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland.
Picture: Artist’s impression of the CISM building.
Due to be completed in September, CISM’s focus will be the creation of ‘over-the-horizon’ semiconductor technologies to support Net Zero, such as advanced solar cells and efficient power electronics for the electrification of transport. CISM is part of the regional CSconnected compound semiconductor cluster of industry, university, RTO (research and technology organization), and government partners driving forward the semiconductor sector in South Wales.
The SIN_0 project aims to extend that agenda to deploy and test innovative emissions-reduction strategies in energy generation and storage, and resource and waste stream management. SIN_0 will not only trailblaze the decarbonization of advanced research infrastructure like CISM but also aims to de-risk the interventions that the semiconductor manufacturing industry will need to employ to reduce the carbon footprint of this critical sector rapidly and dramatically.
SIN_0 is one of nine Net Zero projects at UK universities (begun in April and running until March 2023) that are set to reduce the carbon footprint of research facilities, through the £18.9m funding boost. The investment will support universities to enhance, upgrade and adapt research centers and facilities to reduce their carbon emissions, and make research processes more environmentally sustainable.
“Our mission is to not only deliver our own institutional net-zero ambitions, but also to support the semiconductor industry within our region and the CSconnected partners as, together, we develop the technologies that will decarbonize manufacturing and help Wales and the world to meet our net-zero targets,” says Swansea University’s vice-chancellor professor Paul Boyle.
“By piloting these innovative approaches to tackling net-zero in infrastructure, we hope that this scheme will help us to learn more about what works so that we and the HE sector can factor this into future activity and build upon the already successful UKRPIF model,” says Research England executive chair David Sweeney.
“Our Environmental Sustainability Strategy commits UKRI to supporting the research sector to reduce its negative environmental impacts,” says professor Duncan Wingham, executive chair of NERC (the Natural Environment Research Council) and sponsor for Environmental Sustainability and Net Zero in UKRI. “This funding will help these leading national centers and facilities develop innovative solutions to reducing energy demand and increasing the use of renewable power in some unique research environments.”