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  • Tata Steel hails SPECIFIC research grant as major step forward in developing sustainable uses of steel

    12 Oct 2010

    Following the announcement today by the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) and the TSB (Technology Strategy Board) of a £9.5m award to an academic and industrial consortium led by Swansea University, Tata Steel has stressed the significance of the announcement for the development of hi-tech sustainable coated product

    The project, which with partner contributions has funding totalling £20m, is called SPECIFIC (the Sustainable Product Engineering Centre for Innovative Functional Industrial Coatings) and Tata Steel Europe is the lead industrial partner in this initiative.  The consortium also includes a number of other internationally recognised academic and industrial partners (see note below).  Located in South Wales, SPECIFIC aims to develop a portfolio of products that will turn buildings into power stations and generate over one third of the UK’s requirement for renewable energy by 2020.

    Mr Uday Chaturvedi, the newly appointed Chief Technology Officer for Tata Steel Europe, says: “This is a major example of the company’s strategy to exploit our technical capabilities to deliver superior value for our customers and stakeholders.  We are delighted to be part of a consortium that includes so many internationally respected organisations, including several long-standing academic and industrial partners.

    “Renewable energy represents a significant growth area for the company and one where Tata Steel can lead the industry, whilst at the same time delivering significant benefits to society in terms of energy generation and CO2 reduction,” Mr Chaturvedi adds.

    “The project is a major step forward for steel and sustainable development and I would like to thank the EPSRC and TSB for their commitment to this opportunity.  I would also like to thank the Welsh Assembly Government for the vital role it has played in bringing about this announcement.”

    Mr Peter Strikwerda, MD of the Tata Steel Colors business, says: “We are a European market leader in the building envelope sector, and sustainability represents a major opportunity for us to extend this leadership further.  This is our fourth multi-million pound collaboration in renewable energy, which includes the Photo-voltaic Accelerator Facility and the Sustainable Building Envelope Centre at our Shotton site in North Wales.  SPECIFIC will significantly increase the speed with which we can bring great research ideas to market.”

    SPECIFIC will be led by Mr Kevin Bygate, who has for many years been at the leading edge of new technology development within the pre-coated steel and coatings areas.  He comments: “I am convinced that we can deliver coated products that will revolutionise the way the roofs and walls of buildings are used.  SPECIFIC represents a ground-breaking initiative for the industries involved and an opportunity to create significant economic value.”


    For further information, please call:
    Robert Dangerfield: 01639 603210 or mobile 0791 726 7795

    Additional Notes for Editors

    1. Established in 1907 as India's first integrated steel company, Tata Steel Group is one of the world’s top ten steel producers with annual crude steel capacity of more than 28 million tonnes.  It is the world's second most geographically diverse steel producer, with operations in 26 countries and a commercial presence in more than 50.  Tata Steel Group has over 80,000 employees across four continents and is a Fortune 500 company.

    2. Tata Steel Europe Limited (formerly Corus) is Europe's second largest steel producer.  With main steelmaking operations in the UK and the Netherlands, the company supplies steel and related services to the construction, automotive, packaging, material handling and other demanding markets worldwide. 

    3. Tata Steel Europe is the lead industrial partner in the consortium led by Swansea University, which also includes Imperial College London and the universities of Bath, Strathclyde, Glyndwr, Bangor and Cardiff.  The industrial partners include BASF, Beckers, Akzo Nobel, Pilkington, Johnson Matthey and Dyesol.

    4. Tata Steel Colors is a business within Tata Steel Europe engaged in the manufacture and sale of pre-finished steel products to the construction, manufactured goods and domestic appliance sectors.  The business has 6 sites in 4 countries, 3 of which are in the UK.  The business headquarters and largest manufacturing site is at Shotton in Deeside, North Wales.

    5. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK's main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences.  The EPSRC invests more than £850 million a year in research and postgraduate training to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change.

    6. The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led executive non-departmental public body, established by the government.  Its role is to promote and support research into, and development and exploitation of, technology and innovation for the benefit of UK business, in order to increase economic growth and improve the quality of life.  It is sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). For more information please visit www.innovateuk.org.

    7. The Photovoltaic Accelerator Facility in Shotton houses a £10m project between Tata Steel and Dyesol, which has been supported by £5m from the Welsh Assembly Government.  The project is in its third and final year and aims to develop the world’s first dye-sensitised photovoltaic product on steel for use on the roofs of buildings.

    8. The Sustainable Building Envelope Centre (SBEC) is a £7m partnership project with the Low Carbon Research Institute (LCRI).  Its aim is to develop building components and systems based around renewable energy, primarily photo-voltaic and solar air technologies.  The project will be housed in a signature building in Shotton that will be ready in early 2011.