A multi-million pound energy centre has had its official opening.

Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry MP was in attendance for the opening of the flagship University of Chester facility at Thornton Science Park.

The centre, part of the so-called Cheshire Science Corridor, will be a place where industry and academia come together to innovate, develop and demonstrate new, intelligent energy technologies.

After being welcomed by the university’s vice-chancellor, Professor Tim Wheeler, Mr Berry was given a tour of the facility – which was created following the repurposing of the former Shell Technology Centre site.

Mr Berry said: “How exciting that the place that was responsible for fuelling the Lancaster Bomber and Lewis Hamilton’s Formula One car will now be fuelling the Northern Powerhouse.

“It’s been a great pleasure to be opening the energy centre at Thornton.”

Prof Wheeler added: “The university is extremely proud of the energy centre.

“This is a flagship innovation project for the Cheshire Science Corridor, of which our Thornton Science Park is a designated site.

“The state-of-the-art building is offering companies unrivalled possibilities to allow ‘light-bulb’ moments to happen, as researchers ‘plug and play’ with a number of facilities, across all aspects of energy systems and smart grids.

“Thornton has already played host to several government ministers, including two Chancellors of the Exchequer, and the fact that the Northern Powerhouse minister has opened this facility is further proof of its regional – and national – importance.”

The new technologies that may be tested and developed at the energy centre include new types of photovoltaic solar cells; innovative electrical energy storage solutions; developments in low power motor drives; new algorithms for load balancing on micro-grids; and non-electrical energy systems such as heat networks and thermal storage.

The energy centre development was part-funded by the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), which contributed £6.8m from the Local Growth Fund, awarded as part of the LEP’s Growth Deal, alongside £8m invested from the university.