A team from Newcastle University has been instrumental in winning a £15m Regional Growth Fund grant for a north east company.
The grant will help Newcastle-based energy company Five-Quarter which has been developed with expertise from Newcastle University, realise its plans to create energy from otherwise unworkable rock strata buried at deep levels beneath the North Sea.
Harry Bradbury, Chairman and CEO said: “We are absolutely delighted that the British Government has recognised and is supporting the viability of our plans to convert subterranean solid rock to gases of economic importance, including methane and hydrogen. The magnitude of the award shows that the scheme is now clearly being recognised by the UK government as a strategic energy project of national significance.
“Five-Quarter has combined the intellectual rigour of a key, spin-off team from Newcastle University with existing, world-class knowledge and technology from the UK mining, oil and gas industries in order to achieve this giant step forward in ‘Deep Gas Winning’.
"We hope to share our success with the wider region, bringing new jobs and regeneration to the North of England and Scotland and, in the longer term, to apply our knowledge strategically to grow both nationally and internationally.”
The scale of reserves of gas source rock beneath the sea is significant and its release will have a major impact on the UK energy scenario. Estimates suggest that the UK has a few thousand billion tonnes beneath the North Sea, as well as elsewhere onshore. Five-Quarter currently holds Government licences for just over 2 billion tonnes in a 400 sq km area off the Northumberland coast.
“This area alone” commented Harry Bradbury, “contains more energy than has been extracted from the totality of the North Sea during exploitation of its natural gas reserves: the equivalent of approximately 11 billion barrels of oil. The gas reserve potential from this and similar areas is sufficient to satisfy energy demand in UK for several decades.”
Richard Dale, Director of Finance at Newcastle University, added: “We are delighted to see that technology developed by Newcastle University is now the basis for major investment into Northumberland, which brings with it the prospect of future jobs to this part of the North East.
"The awarding of Regional Growth Fund cash demonstrates the Government’s confidence in this technology and the importance of finding alternative sources of energy. Newcastle University is pioneering in its research into sustainability and this announcement demonstrates how this can be translated into real life applications that bring economic benefits."
published on: 19 October 2012