On the 26th and 27th April 2018, a delegation from the University of Bristol, led by Dr Erik Lithander, Pro-Vice Chancellor (International), travelled to the EDF France’s research laboratories in Saclay near Paris.
A framework agreement was signed on the day by Dr Lithander and Jacques Sacreste, EDF R&D’s Vice-President for International and Partnerships, and later on by Paul Spence, EDF Energy’s Director of Strategy & Corporate Affairs.
Remarkably this agreement will now form the base of a strengthened strategic relationship with the EDF Group, EDF R&D in France and EDF Energy in the UK.
Dr Erik Lithander, Pro-Vice Chancellor (International) signing the agreement on behalf of the University alongside Jacques Sacreste, VP for International and Partnerships at EDF R&D.
Strategic Partnership between EDF and the University of Bristol
This event was an opportunity for Bristol to cement its long-standing relationship with the energy company.
The EDF Group, EDF Energy and the University of Bristol have long been strategic partners. Twenty years ago EDF Energy (then British Energy) became one of the main industrial stakeholders heavily involved in the seismic qualification facilities within the Earthquake and Geotechnical Engineering research group.
More recently, EDF Energy became a member of the South West Nuclear Hub which allows them to collaborate further on research projects with the University of Bristol and other industrial and academic partners of the Hub.
Bristol University visit to Paris
The Bristol delegation was given a tour of the EDF Lab Saclay, which is the new headquarter of EDF Research & Development. About 1000 researchers are working there on many different projects designed simultaneously to deliver low-carbon power generation, smarter energy transmission grids and more responsible energy consumption. EDF Lab Saclay is at the heart of Paris-Saclay Campus, which is an initiative from the French Government to cluster academic and industrial research, education and innovation in one place.
Subsequently the annual Bristol – EDF strategic committee was held, in the presence of Jacques Sacreste and Michel Maschi, EDF R&D’s Vice President for Generation and Engineering representing EDF R&D and Paul Spence, Director of Strategy & Corporate Affairs and Xavier Mamo, Director of R&D UK, representing EDF Energy. The current collaboration was reviewed, before discussing in more details coming opportunities related to Nuclear R&D and Innovation.
Partnership to reduce costs of nuclear
Reacting to the agreement, Erwan Galenne, Head of R&D Nuclear, EDF Energy, said:
“With this new Framework Agreement, EDF, EDF Energy and the University of Bristol have the ability to strengthen an already longstanding partnership.
Areas for collaboration are clear, supporting our common ambition to reduce the cost of nuclear energy by tackling scientific and technological challenges and by accelerating innovation".
Professor Tom Scott, Co-Director of the South West Nuclear Hub, said:
"I'm proud to be associated with EDF and the South West Nuclear Hub led by the University of Bristol. If we’re to effectively tackle global climate change then nuclear alongside other low carbon energy sources has to be a significant energy contributor instead of coal and gas.
To make this happen then all these energy sources must continue to innovate and drive down costs until they become comparable to (or ideally cheaper than) hydrocarbon alternatives".
Facilities at EDF Lab Paris-Saclay
It generates electricity with eight nuclear power stations, more than 30 wind farms, one gas and two coal power stations, as well as with combined heat and power plants.
EDF Energy is leading the UK's nuclear renaissance with the construction of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C. This will provide low carbon electricity to meet 7% of UK demand. The project is already making a positive impact on the local and national economy, British industry, as well as boosting skills and education. EDF Energy also invests in a range of low carbon technologies including renewables and battery storage. It is applying research and development expertise to improve the performance of existing generation and developing the potential of new technologies.
EDF Energy is part of EDF Group, the world’s biggest electricity generator. In the UK, the company employs around 13,000 people at locations across England and Scotland. To find out more about its R&D activities visit: www.edfenergy.com/about/research-development