Work has begun on building the £16m National Composites Centre (NCC), which the UK government announced last December (PRW.com 11 December 2009).
The NCC is a collaboration between the University of Bristol (as lead partner) and the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA), with additional funding from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and the European Regional Development Fund. It will be the first building completed at the Science Park in Emerson’s Green between Bristol and Bath.
AgustaWestland has joined “First-Tier” partners Airbus UK, GKN, Rolls Royce and Vestas who have committed to participate in the NCC, which will also forge links with other centres of advanced manufacturing expertise across the UK.
Those behind the NCC intend it as a “one-stop centre of excellence” in composites, addressing a wide range of applications including aerospace, automotive, defence, marine and wind turbines.
The centre will house leading industry researchers and engineers and provide manufacturing facilities at an industrial scale, capable of building prototypes to validate design concepts and rapid manufacturing processes.
Patrick Finch, bursar at the University of Bristol, said: “This marks an important stage in the realisation of the National Composites Centre. … The building is designed to a BREEAM Excellent environmental rating. … It will include renewable energy technologies, with a roof incorporating photovoltaic cells to generate solar electricity to help power the centre.”
A fast-track construction programme aims to see the building completed in spring 2011, with a formal opening later in the year once plant and equipment are commissioned.