Vattenfall sponsoring Discovery Museum’s new exhibition ‘Steam to Green’

Discovery Museum’s ambitious new exhibition Steam to Green: A North East Energy Revolution is set to open in July highlighting the latest innovations in green renewable energy including ground-breaking research taking place in North East England.

In partnership with Newcastle University, the exhibition will demystify green technologies, and showcase science and engineering objects from the museums’ historical collections, including some that have not been on display for many years.

The exhibition is supported by headline sponsor Vattenfall, a leading European energy company that is helping society to break free from fossil fuels. Vattenfall employs nearly 100 staff across the north-east and has been based in Hexham ever since UK operations started in 2008.

An interesting connection between Vattenfall and an important part of the North East’s history in energy production, is that one of Vattenfall’s onshore windfarms – Ray Wind Farm, which is one of the largest in the North East - is built on the former estate of Newcastle engineer Charles Parsons. Charles Parsons was a North East industrialist best known for inventing the compound steam turbine to power ships. He built the 34 metre steam powered ship, Turbinia to test his invention. Once the fastest ship in the world, the iconic vessel now takes centre stage at Discovery Museum. He also founded the Newcastle and District Electric Lighting Company in 1889 to bring wide-scale electricity supply to the west of the city, an important forerunner to the electricity distribution network we use at home and work every day.

Keith Merrin, Director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) said: 

“We are very excited about the Steam to Green exhibition, and it has been fantastic to work with Newcastle University and so many local companies to put the exhibition together and showcase the pioneering work in renewable energy taking place in North East England.

“It's fantastic to have Vattenfall as our headline sponsor and to be able to share their work in renewable energy alongside some of the other brilliant innovations.”

Lisa Christie, UK Country Manager at Vattenfall said:

“Vattenfall is delighted to be supporting the Steam to Green exhibition, at a time when inspiring people about the possibilities of a green future has never been more important. With a 100-strong team based in Hexham and our Ray Wind Farm meeting around 10% of Northumberland’s electricity needs every year, Vattenfall is a key part of the North East’s energy transition.”

Steam to Green: A North East Energy Revolution will open on 20 July 2024 and run until 6 September 2026. It will take a positive view on how once again the North East of England is leading the way in technological innovation. It will reference the area’s heritage of fossil fuel extraction and use of steam power and contrast this with the green energy research and innovation happening in the region today particularly around green, energy use in transport and the home.  

Discovery Museum is well known for its world-class science collection including the world’s first steam-turbine powered ship Turbinia, conceived and built on Tyneside by Charles Parsons. It also houses one of the best collections of lightbulbs in the world, including the world’s first commercial lightbulb invented by Joseph Swan.  

Steam to Green will also include a family events programme, schools learning programme and adult after-hours events.  

Working with industry leaders across the North East region Discovery Museum will facilitate careers fairs and illustrate career pathways for tomorrow’s workforce too.

Discovery Museum is open seven days a week, weekdays 10am – 4pm, weekends 11am – 4pm and closed on Bank Holidays. It’s always free entry and donations are welcome.  

Steam to Green: A North East Energy Revolution will open on 20 July 2024 and run until 6 September 2026. Find out more here.

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