Professor Zhong Fan is working to change the way that the UK uses energy, both now and in the future. He is leading the creation of Europe’s first living laboratory for energy-efficient technologies, as Academic Director of the multi-million pound Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND)* at Keele University.

By providing the perfect ‘real-world’ environment for the research, development and testing of such technologies, the SEND project will enable businesses to fast-track their low carbon and smart energy innovations, getting them to market quicker and ultimately providing environmental benefits faster than may have otherwise been possible.

Speaking about the opportunities provided by SEND, Zhong said: “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come, and that is absolutely true about the SEND project. A true European first, the project offers the very realistic prospect of establishing Staffordshire at the heart of the global market for smart energy technologies.”

Zhong’s work is a prime example of how Keele University is using its world-leading knowledge, expertise and partnerships to make a difference locally, nationally and internationally. Through work such as Zhong’s, Keele is helping to change the way the energy is generated and used across the UK and beyond, delivering a more sustainable future for us all.

An expert in his field, Zhong received his BSc and MS degrees from Tsinghua University in China, followed by his PhD from Durham University. As well as smart energy, his research interests also include the ‘internet of things’, data analytics, machine learning and 5G communication.

ERDF and UK Gov logo Zhong joined Keele University in 2017, bringing with him a wealth of knowledge and experience in the area of smart energy. He joined from Toshiba Research Europe, where he was Chief Research Fellow, overseeing a programme of collaborative research and development between Toshiba and partner universities. Earlier in his career, he was a Research Fellow with Cambridge University, a Lecturer with Birmingham University and a Researcher with Marconi Laboratories.

*The SEND project (ref. 32R16P00706) is part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the England 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme, and is available to ERDF eligible companies. The project is also receiving funds from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

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