EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Industrial Functional Coatings: COATED2

Lead Research Organisation: Swansea University
Department Name: School of Engineering

Abstract

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Industrial Functional Coatings: COATED2 will extend and enhance doctoral training provision provided by the current EPSRC CDT COATED. This new CDT will provide 40 EngD research engineers (REs) over 4 cohorts beginning in 2015 to provide critical support to the EPSRC/TSB funded SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) hosted by Swansea University. The main aim of SPECIFIC is to rapidly develop and up-scale functional coated materials on steel and glass that generate, store and release energy creating buildings as power stations. In the UK more than 4billion m2 of roofs and facades could be used to harvest solar energy. SPECIFIC's vision is to use such surfaces to generate up to one 1/3 of the UK's target renewable energy by the 2020s. This is based on using 20million m2 by 2020, less than 0.5% of the available area. Development of such coatings will lead to an enhancement of value in current manufacturers and the evolution of new industries generating wealth and jobs in the UK. This CDT will furnish these evolving industries with highly skilled graduates whilst providing leaders of industry to existing manufacturers and substrate producers. SPECIFIC supported by COATED REs has made rapid progress and a pilot production line has been established at the IKC opened by Vince Cable MP and Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones in 2012. The input of current REs into the IKC has led to 2 potential commercial products and 8 patents during the first 2 years of operation. The pilot line provides dedicated up-scaling capabilities to take technologies from lab to production in a matter of days or weeks rather than years. As such, these world-class facilities provide a dynamic environment for the development, up scaling and production of innovative functional coated products and the CDT therefore fulfills the EPSRC priority area of complex manufactured products. Not only this but the technical focus of products researched and up-scaled in the CDT will support other priority themes including solar, energy storage, functional materials and sustainable use of materials and thus provides a rapid route through Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) 1-6 for a number of critical future technologies. The COATED2 programme will continue to provide research and training in the area of functional coatings that will underpin the research and scale-up activities occurring at SPECIFIC. The brief of the CDT will be enhanced to support the new EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing (CIM) in Large Area Electronics of which the Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating (WCPC) at Swansea University is a key partner. The WCPC activities are critical to both SPECIFIC and the CIM as the development of large scale printing process are key for the production of the functional coatings technologies developed at SPECIFIC. Thus, REs will directly support activities that will influence both large-scale EPSRC projects. Further enhancement will come in the form of research aligned with Imperial College London (ICL) as a number of collaborative projects are active with ICL linked to Plastic Electronics and their CDT in this field through SPECIFIC and the WCPC. The strategic working partnership between Swansea and partner universities will be strengthened in 2013 by a £6.6million Welsh Government investment in a Solar Energy Futures Lab bringing leading ICL and Oxford University scientists to the IKC to support the science behind innovation for the full period of the COATED2 CDT. This will provide COATED2 REs with access to these scientists and benefit from the synergy of complementary projects supported through each University/CDT with cross fertilisation through the IKC. This activity of RE support for the IKC and CIM with cluster projects involving partner institutions provides a flourishing and vibrant research environment with world class facilities on hand to facilitate research and success.

Planned Impact

The COATED2 CDT will support the aims of the EPSRC/TSB SPECIFIC IKC and the EPSRC CIM in Large Area Electronics at Swansea University through the provision of 40 research engineers (REs). The SPECIFIC IKC has ambitious targets to create buildings that are power-stations through the use of functional coatings. The targets include:

- A £1billion UK manufacturing sector creating business opportunities with export potential
- Creation of around 7,000 manufacturing/construction sector jobs
- Generation of up to 1/3 of the UK's renewable energy target
- Reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 6 million tons

The CIM in Large Area Electronics has key aims that are synergistic with the IKC, in particular to address the challenges of low-cost manufacturing of multi-functional LAE systems and to support the scale-up of technologies for functional materials. Both projects have shared technologies and processes and RE support through COATED2 will have significant impact on achieving their aims through:
- The supply of highly trained and enthusiastic REs for a growing new industry base
- Encouraging radical thinking for REs in terms of optimisation and up-scaling of laboratory concepts to an industrial scale
- Achieving greater engagement with new and existing industry and academic partners.

The COATED2 RE cohorts will provide impact in a number of key areas -

Knowledge
- Research projects defined by industry with a real scientific or engineering need at their core ensuring relevant research is embedded within the industrial partner/University.
- Engagement of multiple partners through the CDT/IKC's open innovation arrangements permits sharing of knowledge between otherwise discrete industries
- Each RE will produce 3 publications and attend 1 international conference disseminating knowledge into the academic community.
- RE research will be evidenced in taught modules ensuring that quality of training is enhanced year on year.
- Development of new technologies will creae a lead for the UK in up-scaling of complex functional coated products.
- Training modules are accessible to Industrial partners providing knowledge beyond the scope of the core CDT.

Economy
- Future industry leaders will be created from the CDT. 96% of previous REs at Swansea have moved onto industry related careers.
- Innovative new products and processes will catalyse new industries and technology advances in established manufacturers generating wealth.
- 8 Patents have been filed by the IKC since 2011 and REs are critical for the on-going development of IP exploitation.
- SPECIFIC Innovations has been established to develop business models and spin-out companies for the exploitation of IP created through the CDT and IKC attracting inward investment.
- The facilities within SPECIFIC and the CIM coupled with extensive industrial partners bridges the gap between research and wealth creation ensuring that outputs from the CDT are maximised.

Society
- REs will engage in active outreach to promote their research and attract more people into STEM activities.
- There have been over 1000 separate visits to the IKC/CDT raising awareness of the product potential to a range of end users.
- Research activity at the CDT supporting the IKC and the CIM will contribute towards alleviating fuel poverty, reducing CO2 output and providing energy security
- Water purification, bio-inspired coatings and durability research benefits developed and developing nations.

People
- The CDT will produce 40 highly skilled individuals trained to support industry and academia
- Graduates of the scheme moving into employment will grow networks between academia and industrial partners creating new opportunities for the CDT.
- Shared seminars with other institutions will enable REs to gain insights into complementary research and raise awareness of available facilities and resources

Publications

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