Dr Liam McCarron is a relatively new addition at ETP working in a role which involves providing Scottish SMEs opportunities to collaborate with ETP's 13 member universities to develop low carbon technology in an effort to work towards Scotland's Green Recovery.
Q: Welcome to ETP! Could you tell us a little bit about what attracted you to working at the Scottish research pool for energy?
A: Thank you! Having worked in research in the academic sector I was aware of the positive role the ETP has played in Scottish academia. The opportunity to work with innovate SME’s alongside Scottish universities was an exciting prospect. And the chance to work in a capacity that helps Scotland’s energy transition was also appealing!
Q: What is your professional background and how will your skills and experience help Scottish SMEs innovate?
A: My professional background is in academia and research, by trade I would call myself a materials chemist. My PhD involved the design, synthesis and characterisation of organic semiconductors, primarily for solar cells. I then worked for a few years as an RA synthesising electrode materials for lithium and sodium ion batteries. So from an academic viewpoint I thought I’d fit in well in the energy conversion and storage theme at the ETP.
The interdisciplinary aspect of my research meant I had to engage with researchers and stakeholders across various disciplines. I have a good knowledge of the energy landscape and funding opportunities in Scotland and can use that to help Scottish SME’s develop low carbon technologies.
Q: What are you looking forward to the most with working at ETP?
A: With the world facing an energy and environmental crisis, organisations like the ETP are vital in supporting governments push their energy sector toward greener projects.
The opportunity to work with SME’s develop low carbon technologies that will have a real world impact is something I am looking forward to. The ETP is nicely situated between the industrial and academic interface, facilitating a symbiotic relationship with both of these sectors, so it’ll be good to have a foot in both camps and see how the energy landscape develops in Scotland.
Q: What are the current trends for energy conversion and storage and how does this relate to Scotland?
A: There is a global push toward electrification. As such, energy storage is seen as a key piece of this puzzle. There are numerous technologies that can/are playing a role in this. These can be mechanical, chemical, thermal as well as energy vectors such as hydrogen. There is a push to grow the entire electrification supply chain. There is plenty of funding out there for SME’s and academics for innovative new technologies.
Hydrogen in particular is viewed as key energy vector to decarbonise some sectors (HGV transport etc.) and in the past year has become a hot topic. The hydrogen economy has to be grown and this is being backed by both the Scottish and UK governments who are allocating funding for this. There is a need for innovation in the manufacturing of green hydrogen to reduce costs and improve efficiencies.
Q: What kind of enquiries are you hoping to see from Scottish SMEs and how can they improve their chances of success with getting support from ETP?
A: I am hoping to hear from Scottish SME’s developing low carbon technologies and are looking for support. Scottish SME’s (or an SME looking to set up in Scotland) can apply for ETP KEN funding which I would be happy to assist you in applying for.
Furthermore, any companies working on energy conversion and storage technologies are welcome to get in touch. We can then discuss how the ETP can support your company and I can assist in navigating the general funding landscape.
Q: How can people get in touch with you?
A: They can get in touch through the email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Although working remotely I will be based in the Eden Campus at the University of St. Andrews and will soon start spending time in the office there.
Q: Do you have any closing words you would like to share?
A: I would just like to encourage anyone working in the energy sector to get in touch. From there we can see if the ETP can support your company or we can help you find support from other funding streams. Or if you just fancy a chat about your favourite Munro that would also be just fine!