By Marcus Leach

A new strategy to grow the UK’s power electronics industry and increase its share of the £135 billion global market was published today (Tuesday) by Business Minister Mark Prisk.

Britain is a world leader in many aspects of power electronics. The technology is used to do everything from making mobile phone batteries last longer and hybrid cars more practical to making it possible to generate electricity in everything from a solar cell to a nuclear reactor.

The new five to ten year strategy, which has been created by the industry and academia, supported by the Government, aims to address the main problems in the sector and establish a foundation for ambitious but sustainable long-term growth.

“The UK manufactures 3.1 per cent of all power electronics products made across the globe," Business Minister Mark Prisk said.

"We have world leading, globally recognised companies working on power electronics here in the UK, but it’s not recognised as one of our strengths, I want to make sure we change that.

“With the potential to make real savings in energy usage on everyday products and reduce our carbon footprint, this is a real growth industry. That’s why this strategy is so important, not only making sure that we have the people and the skills to keep our world leading position, but to make sure the sector can grow and celebrate its success.”

The blue-print for the future of the industry recommends:

- forming a national forum for power electronics to maintain momentum and drive through the recommendations of the strategy;

- fostering collaboration across industry sectors and supply chain barriers to promote best practice and access to international standards;

- promoting power electronics in all areas of education to encourage young people to consider a career in the sector;

- development of a vision for our electricity infrastructure; and

- making the most of the new Technology Innovation Centres to bridge the gap between universities, start ups and industry so that innovation is pulled through in a timely manner.

"Power Electronics plays to the strengths and aspirations of the UK. It is a high-growth, high-added-value and high-value per employee technology," Bill Drury, Chairman, Power Electronics Strategy Group said.

"It demands highly skilled teams of engineers to meet the demands of the complex integration challenges this presents - a capability in which, it could be argued, the UK leads the world.

"The Power Electronics Strategy Group, which drafted the report was set up to address strategic issues affecting the sector such as: encouraging closer dialogue between government and industry, improving the skills base, promoting the industry and developing new and emerging technology."

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