Building on Chinese links in Electrical Engineering


Executive-Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve Holloway with Pinggao Group Chief Engineer, Dr Hongfei Zhao

Major Chinese electrical engineering firm, the Pinggao Group – a direct subsidiary of the China State Grid – is to invest £1.5m in research at the University of Liverpool over the next five years.

The University and Pinggao have formalised their partnership by signing a framework agreement, following seven years of collaboration in research and development. The partnership has seen a regular exchange of engineers from both organisations, as each seeks to benefit from the other’s expertise.

The University’s Executive-Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Science and Engineering, Professor Steve Holloway, signed the agreement on behalf of the University, and welcomed the delegation during a visit to campus.

”Partnerships between ourselves and industry are vitally important”

Professor Holloway said: “Partnerships between ourselves and industry are vitally important for us. We have many, many students here with links to industry and external organisations, but what we are trying to do is focus on a relatively small number of partners and to develop those relationships as far as we can.”

Pinggao is one of China’s major manufacturers, engaged in the design and production of switchgear and power plant equipment at high voltage, extra high voltage and ultra high voltage levels.

The framework agreement will see the University build on the existing provision of technological support for the development and optimisation of Pinggao’s electrical apparatus, in order to supply reliable electrical equipment to China’s developing smart grid, alongside other markets. 

”We hope the technologies developed here will be successfully used for the benefit of all society”

Welcoming the agreement, Pinggao Vice General Manager, Qingping Pang, said: “We are really pleased to be able to come to Liverpool to discuss this agreement. We genuinely hope to build further on our collaboration with Liverpool and hope the University continues to support and invest in electrical engineering. We hope the technologies developed here will be successfully used for the benefit of all society.”

Four presentations by the School of Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Computer Science – home to the only high-current test laboratory in the UK – were delivered to the delegation during their visit.

Also present was Councillor Nick Small, City of Liverpool Cabinet member for Skills, Enterprise and Employment.

Councillor Small added: “The city very much believes that by working closely with industrial firms throughout China we can create value here in the UK. Liverpool is now second only to London in terms of its relationship with Chinese businesses.”

”The fact that Pinggao has escalated its partnership with the University speaks volumes for the quality of the expertise here”

The agreement is the latest evidence of the strength of Liverpool’s knowledge assets from  major research institutions to small cutting-edge technology companies, which contribute £1bn a year to the city’s economy. 

Max Steinberg, Chief Executive of Liverpool Vision added: “Pinggao’s role in China is effectively to ensure that power continues to be reliably supplied across the country. The fact that they have escalated their partnership with the University of Liverpool speaks volumes for the quality of the expertise here and the breadth of excellence across the city’s knowledge quarter.

“For emerging and growing economies it is absolutely vital that they can rely on their power sources and so the University of Liverpool has, in essence, been asked to help keep the lights on in China.”

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