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HRH The Princess Royal returns to Harper Adams

Posted 29 October 2012

"We were very pleased to be able to welcome Her Royal Highness back to Harper Adams and to provide an opportunity for her to see some of our latest work. It was particularly good that a number of our students were able to meet the Princess and discuss their plans to work in the agri-food sector."

Watch the video on our YouTube channel.

The official opening

Slideshow of images at bottom of page

A new student residence at Harper Adams University College today received the Royal seal of approval, when it was officially opened by the HRH Princess Royal. 

The £1.6 million hall, which was named after the Princess, with the consent of the HM The Queen, is now home to 55 students, some of whom met Her Royal Highness this afternoon. 

The Princess visited the study bedroom of first-year student Harriet Sutcliffe and chatted to the remaining residents of Harriet’s flat. She also received gifts from student warden Robert Boffey, and Madelaine Wilson, a first-year resident of the new hall. 

Robert, 21, a final year Food and Consumer Studies student, said: “It made me incredibly proud to be asked to present a gift to Her Royal Highness. And it was a great privilege to welcome the Princess to the new hall. We are pleased that the building has been named after someone we all know of and admire. It has already become affectionately known as the ‘PR Hall’!”

Chairman of the Harper Adams University College Board of Governors, Roger Mercer, addressed the Princess and invited guests in a marquee erected alongside The Princess Royal Hall for the occasion. 

He said: “It gives me great pleasure to formally welcome Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal to Harper Adams this afternoon. As many of you may know, Her Royal Highness has undertaken the role of Honorary Fellow here at the University College for a number of years and we are extremely grateful that you have found the time to visit us once again to open our new hall of residence.  

“Nothing is more important than ensuring that our students have the best possible facilities in which to live and study during their time with us… It is only through investing in excellent facilities on our campus that we can continue to provide the high quality graduates that our industries are actively seeking.”

Speaking briefly after officially opening The Princess Royal Hall, Her Royal Highness praised the expansion of the campus, saying: “I expect a lot of people think that colleges like this don’t change very much. They should come here more often because it changes all the time. You’ve got to keep up!”

Harper Adams Principal Dr David Llewellyn said: “'We were very pleased to be able to welcome Her Royal Highness back to Harper Adams and to provide an opportunity for her to see some of our latest work.  It was particularly good that a number of our students were able to meet the Princess and discuss their plans to work in the agri-food sector, where the skills they are developing at the University College will play a vital role in securing our future food supplies.”

Before unveiling the plaque to officially open and name the residence, the Princess spent an hour touring the campus to learn about developments since her last visit in December 2009. Her first stop was the first National Centre for Precision Farming seminar. There the Princess enjoyed a presentation by Professor Simon Blackmore, Director of the NCPF, on the importance of Engineering, Robotics and ‘Smart’ Systems in Precision Farming”. 

A new engineering building, which will be home to the NCPF, is due to open in autumn 2013, funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Harper Adams, Marches Local Enterprise Partnership and two major philanthropic donations from the Douglas Bomford Trust and the Eric Lea’s Charitable Trust, together with a range of donations made by individual supporters to deliver a new engineering building at Harper Adams

HRH then saw agricultural engineering in practice when she toured the Soil Hall, the University College’s “indoor field”, where aspects of the environment can be managed to provide controlled test conditions for agricultural and off-road vehicles and equipment. A range of projects was on display, demonstrating the type of work undertaken by students and the range of employers with which they work. 

The Princess Royal also visited the Harper Adams Bioenergy Centre, where new technologies are being trialled. Led by the European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI) at Aston University and funded by the European Union INTERREG IVB programme, 14 European partners, including Harper Adams, are working together to support the development of small-scale, local innovative bioenergy facilities through the BioenNW project.

For the last 10 months, Harper Adams has been the demonstration site for a new bioenergy technology developed by EBRI researchers called a Pyroformer. The Pyroformer is unique in its ability to process multiple feedstocks to generate heat and power, and researchers from Harper Adams and EBRI have been testing a wide range of feedstocks including wood, sewage sludge, straw from rape, wheat and rice, glass clippings and dried anaerobic residues. 

Harper Adams has used the Pyroformer to add value to its existing anaerobic digestion process, whereby heat and power is generated by burning gasses collected as food and farm waste breaks down in controlled tanks.  The use of digestate (the residue from anaerobic digestion) as a feedstock for the Pyroformer can release up to 25% more heat and power from the original source. The biochar produced as a final pyrolysis residue is a high quality fertiliser which improves crop growth. Later this year, the Pyroformer will be relocated to the new European Bioenergy Research Institute building  at Aston University, in the centre of Birmingham, following its trial phase at Harper Adams. 

 

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