CWaC’s planning committee recently rejected the university’s retrospective plan to allow six buildings at the science park, near Elton, to continue to be used for educational purposes.
This was based on guidance from the Health and Safety Executive because of the proximity to the Stanlow oil refinery.
A university spokeswoman said: “An appeal has been lodged and the university is awaiting news on how that process will proceed.”
Pending the outcome of the appeal, the university says students are permitted on site for undergraduate teaching purposes. And the university says the decision does not affect students involved with research.
That’s why it was this week able to confirm a research collaboration between the university and private company Costain at the science park.
The Chronicle has asked CWaC for a comment to check it agrees with this interpretation.
Involved in the hydrogen energy project will be the university’s departments of electronic and electrical engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering and natural sciences – through the faculty of Science and Engineering and the Thornton Energy Research Institute – alongside Costain’s teams in energy.
The research project will include original and advanced PhD level research, adopting an ‘interdisciplinary’ framework to consider the infrastructure requirements for the region to deliver the decarbonising gas agenda.
More specifically, it will consider proposals for a Liverpool to Manchester ‘hydrogen cluster’ and the development of carbon capture and storage infrastructure associated with the depleting Hamilton field in the East Irish Sea.
Gerard Shore, oil and gas sector director for Costain, said: “We will be working alongside the university to develop the new technologies and people needed, not only to keep pace with the energy transformation, but to lead it. Thornton’s location, both close to our Manchester office and in the centre of a very energy intensive region, makes the university an ideal partner for us.”
Professor Joe Howe, executive director of the Thornton Energy Research Institute UK, said: “This is a great opportunity, leading the way in finding cleaner, greener sources of energy and allowing us to bring together academic and industrial knowledge and experience.”
Paul Vernon, senior executive director of commercial operations, and chief executive of Thornton Research Properties Limited, added: “This is one of a growing number of examples of how the University of Chester is working with industry to allow lightbulb moments to happen.”
Companies wishing to find out more about the research project can contact:
■ Email: email@example.com
■ Tel: 01244 567 500
■ Twitter: @EnergyThornton
■ Commercial Operations, University of Chester, Thornton Science Park, Pool Lane, Ince, Cheshire, CH2 4NU