FIFE Council has rubber stamped plans from the University of St Andrews to build a new research and development facility at Eden Campus.

When it’s finished, the new, £13 million research centre will look at ways to switch from fossil fuels to carbon-free and renewable energy sources. 

“It is proposed to establish a first-of-a-kind Power to X centre,” a planning statement on behalf of the university said.  

“This unique facility, the only one of its kind in the UK, will deliver research and development space to enable pioneering research into decarbonising the production of energy, fuels and chemicals using only water, waste streams and components of air.”

READ MORE: International students should not be pawns in UK culture war

The proposals are an important element in the delivery of the vision for the university’s Eden Campus and will provide the university with essential research and development space.

The decarbonisation centre would consist of a testing lab and offices in addition to welfare and plant spaces. An external service yard would also be constructed to facilitate the operation of the new-build facility.

The 3678 square metre research centre would be built on part of the university’s Eden Campus – the former paper mill site in Guardbridge. 

St Andrews University (Image: Getty)

The plans were approved by planning officers this week. They said the research centre will “make a positive contribution to the Eden Campus” while preserving the setting of nearby listed buildings. 

They added that the project will also bring a “vacant site back into active use and on a site that is realising ongoing regeneration”. 

Since acquiring the former Curtis Fine Papers site in 2012, the university has spent tens of millions to transform the site for its needs. 

It previously secured a £24.5m investment in the campus through the Tay Cities Region Deal.

READ MORE: Armando Iannucci receives honorary degree from St Andrews University

Previous projects at Eden Campus have included a £25m biomass plant. A similar sum was spent creating modern offices for professional services staff, and earlier this year, a UK Government Minister for Scotland was given a preview of a new £4.7m battery prototyping facility. 

“The University of St Andrews has developed a vision for the redevelopment of the area to deliver a sustainable development that meets University, business, industrial, storage, distribution and office needs, with further research and development facilities, all of which will be created in a comprehensively planned and managed environment with improved access, landscaping and public realm,” a planning statement explained. 

“As discussed with Fife Council in advance of this planning application, it is intended to be a phased development with the first element to be built out immediately and the rest of the site subject to future expansion.”