Funding secured to investigate ways of ‘greening up’ Bristol’s traditional industrial heartland

January 24, 2024

Green technologies such as carbon capture and heat networks could be introduced into Bristol’s largest industrial area as efforts are stepped up to decarbonise its traditional business activities.

Some £750,000 has been secured by an 11-strong consortium led by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) to draw up a green action plan for firms based in Portbury, Avonmouth and Severnside.

The consortium, which also includes UWE Bristol and Bristol City Council, will identify how firms based in the area, which contains Bristol’s docks and many of its traditional industries, can become much more energy efficient, and where cleaner, greener fuels can be used.

The area is already home to the UK’s first carbon capture and shipping hub, pictured.

Among ideas being investigated are the use of heat networks similar to one in Bristol city centre which uses underground pipes to deliver affordable, low-carbon heat and energy to buildings,

Other green technologies being studied are using carbon capture at industrial sites linked to the area’s rail network where it will be impossible to completely stop generating carbon.

Mayor Dan Norris, who leads the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), said: “The West of England is home to some tricky-to-decarbonise industries.

Business leaders tell me they want to step up and do the right thing to reduce their carbon footprint.

“But to do that, they need a solid plan, backed by ambitious, achievable policies to make that transition to a greener way of working as simple as possible.”

He said the climate crisis was “the number one challenge of our time”, adding: “That’s why I’ve made it a priority. I’m determined to redouble our efforts here in the West to do the right thing.”

The latest funding boost builds on a number of funding boosts for the West of England, including £2.5m to establish a new hydrogen supercluster bringing together academic, civic and industry leaders to unlock the huge potential of the region’s hydrogen ecosystem.

Called Great Western Supercluster of Hydrogen Impact for Future Technologies (GW-SHIFT), the far-reaching project will look at how harnessing clean green hydrogen to decarbonise the region’s transport, energy and storage & distribution sectors could support up to 100,000 jobs by 2050.

As a result of these successes the region was fast becoming a key centre for climate innovation, said Mayor Norris.

The decarbonisation consortium also includes US renewable energy firm Ameresco, the Black Country Industrial Cluster – which is made up of more than 3,000 energy-intensive manufacturing businesses in the West Midlands – national strategic communications agency Copper Consultancy, Avonmouth and Royal Portbury docks owner First Corporate Shipping (Bristol Port Company), Hydrogen South West – which brings together 10 leading organisations covering aerospace, shipping, hi-tech engineering and public utilities – social enterprise SevernNet, Severnside Carbon Capture and Storage Hub Ltd (7CO2) and North Somerset Council.

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