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reenwashing – the ‘spin’ which makes consumers believe they are buying into a sustainable way of life – is an important theme of this issue (see ‘Dodgy green claims could face action’, page 40.)

accounting. But, as with any topic, there are ‘goodies’ ‘baddies’ and everyone in between. Let’s hope evolving legislation and growing awareness of greenwashing keep the major players on their toes.

Most companies mean well. They want to show off their carbon-neutral credentials and prove they’re not energy ‘fossils’. But then again, net zero isn’t just good for brand, it’s even better for business.

Meanwhile, the jury is out on COP26’s legacy. Will it be a game-changer or a watered-down squib? As most commitments made at COP are self-policed, it is up to each of the 200 countries involved to make their pledges legally binding.

So how much substance lies behind the grandiose claims? As the dust settle on COP26, how can we ensure the ambitious pledges don’t get diluted into meaningless platitudes?

But at current rates, the world still looks set to reach 2.4C warming by the end of the century – way over the 1.5C target needed to prevent climate catastrophe. Could environmental litigation and a Green Code play a part in reversing the tide? We shall see.

The answer is by keeping the spotlight firmly on ‘greenwashing’. And judging by a hard-hitting new report from the New Climate Institute, some household names are largely failing the net zero climate pledge test. The Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor, in collaboration with Carbon Market Watch, evaluated 25 major companies across different sectors and geographies. By investigating the transparency and integrity behind headline pledges, it concluded that their strategies – if implemented – would reduce emissions by an average of only 40%, not the 100% touted. Overall, only one company’s net zero pledge was evaluated as having ‘reasonable integrity’, three were ‘moderate’, ten ‘low’ and 12 rated ‘very low’. The report found that many pledges are undermined by plans to reduce emissions elsewhere, hidden critical information and clever

Karen Southern Editor, Green Business Journal


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Green Technology 6|7 Scott Davidson, managing director at ISN Solutions, investigates how the latest technological innovations and practices can be harnessed to help businesses navigate the energy transition.

Green Technology 8|9 The UK government plans to cut emissions in 30 million buildings with its net zero strategy. Installing low carbon heat pumps to replace gas boilers and grants for electric vehicles are among some of the suggested tactics.

Green Technology 10|11 Researchers have provided an important insight into the cultural taboo surrounding an innovative ‘green’ technology that enables users to transform their domestic toilet waste into biogas.

Recycling 22|25 An Oxford eco-cleaning company is putting the traditional laundry industry in a spin. Using space-age technology, green tech startup Oxwash has set its sights on decarbonising the toxic washing and dry cleaning sector.

Recycling 28|29 Sustainable biotech innovator Kelpi has secured funding to further develop its pioneering technology creating bioplastics from seaweed. Kelpi’s compostable bioplastic packaging for food is now a step closer to the supermarket shelves, with the aim to replace single-use fossil fuel plastics.

Energy 30|31 Under-representation of women in the renewable energy sector is down to a number of factors. But with the potential for 10-15 million jobs in the anaerobic digestion industry alone by 2030, opportunities are clearly there to be encouraged and promoted.


Editor Karen Southern

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Energy 32|33 Li-ion battery systems are vital to the future of renewable energy, but sustainability is also a crucial consideration, as Sam Bailey, Partner and Patent Attorney, Mewburn Ellis, explains.

Energy 34|35 If the UK is to meet its Net Zero targets by 2050, the renewable energy sector will need to innovate, and innovate fast, to ensure supply keeps up with demand as we move away from traditional fossil fuels towards ‘cleaner’ energy.

Environment 40|41 Greenwashing environmental credentials. Firms making ‘dodgy’ green claims could face action, warns Nick McAleenan, Partner at JMW Solicitors.

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Environment 44|45

Green Business Journal

Will the CEO of the future mean Chief Environment Officer? Probably not, argues Hark’s Jordan Appleson, but that doesn’t mean UK workers won’t be professionally involved in improving sustainability in years to come (if not already!).

Net Zero 50|51 Toby Gill, CEO of British climate-tech company IPG, argues that a holistic approach is needed to make hydrogen the ‘fuel of the future’.

Distinctive Media Group Ltd or Green Business Journal cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies that may occur, individual products or services advertised or late entries. No part of this publication may be reproduced or scanned without prior written permission of the publishers and Green Business Journal

Net Zero 54|56 Professor Jovica V. Milanovic, of the University of Manchester, discusses the balances to be struck (and the trade-offs to be made) in the pursuit of net zero.


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IT SERVICES CAN PLAY A PIVOTAL ROLE IN REDUCING CARBON EMISSIONS Scott Davidson, managing director at ISN Solutions, investigates how the latest technological innovations and practices can be harnessed to help businesses navigate the energy transition.


OP26 reinforced the need for society to reduce carbon emissions and be more ecoconscious. If we are to meet the targets set out by governments and organisations, tangible actions must take place. The UK has committed to reaching net zero by 2050, a challenging prospect that requires all levels of society to play their part. Business and industry’s energy consumption is an area that can be vastly improved when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. IT and data-driven decisions can help reduce carbon emissions, playing an important role in the move towards a greener world. Today, business operations hinge critically on a company’s digital capabilities, therefore, with a careful consideration of your business’s IT infrastructure, you can maximise your outputs whilst maintaining environmental responsibilities.

The role of emerging technologies AI and machine learning have the ability to gather enormous amounts of data to inform operational decisions, including those that would affect the environment. Forecasts gleaned from these data insights can prove to be valuable assets for planning realistic pathways to effective and sustainable decarbonisation goals. They also provide the potential for accurate reporting of emissions and evidence of target achievement for long-term reputational enhancement, and to appease stakeholders


and investors for long-term growth against competitors. Data insights can deliver additional benefits like cost-savings by allowing thorough review of carbon reduction strategies before any initial investment or expensive change to operations is implemented. On the operational side, there is massive potential for new technologies to help with the storing, sorting, and sharing of data that can improve business performance whilst still meeting environmental commitments. This has been evident in the energy industry where innovation in technology and data is improving risk mitigation, monitoring equipment performance and fault discovery, where it could be optimised for decision-making by leveraging AI analytics. AI analytics can process large data streams and recognise and flag insights that should come to senior leaders’ attention. However, increasingly, data is playing a growing role in all forms of industry and the principles are transferable. The efficiency AI and machine learning provides, has measurable effects on carbon emissions, as the less resources and capital wasted on acquiring and analysing data, the smaller the business’s environmental footprint is. But to achieve the environmental commitments set out at COP26, it will require global cooperation across all forms of business to promote business interests and data reporting systems while secure, resilient IT infrastructures will need to be implemented.

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How can data help to reduce carbon emissions? The sticking point in global cooperation is the immense value of a company’s data to its competitors. Businesses may understandably be reluctant to share data insights within their industry, should it enable a competitor to glean insight into its operations. However, through our experience in the energy industry, collaborative efforts such as the ODSU Forum open data platform helps provide ‘a secure, reliable and homogenous data platform across any infrastructure to enable the unique operational needs of the energy industry’1, and allows for subsea data to be shared across the industry. However, initiatives like this demonstrate the collaborative opportunities in a field full of competitors, demonstrating that businesses can work together. This platform utilises cloud-based solutions and software for the secure transfer and sharing of data, requiring businesses to have adequate IT infrastructure to make use of these initiatives.

Combining OT and IT could also enhance a business’s ability to reduce its carbon emissions more effectively, as combining insights from both the operational and business side will be needed to action sustainable solutions, and a seamless integrated network is a reliable way to reach all relevant personnel. Cyber security concerns have led to past reluctance, certainly in ‘heavy’ industries, to link OT and IT. However, effective solutions have been implemented to minimise security risks, incorporating secure firewalls to analyse data transferred from both ends of a business and uphold network security. Linking these two areas is only one part of an ongoing initiative to create intelligent, connected operations, along with goals to improve network infrastructure, connectivity and increase the implementation of digitalisation across modern businesses.

This platform utilises cloud-based solutions and software for the secure transfer and sharing of data, requiring businesses to have adequate IT infrastructure to make use of these initiatives.

Given that tackling the climate change emergency is one of the most pressing issues of our time, cooperative initiatives like these could be immensely beneficial to all competitive sectors and help to speed up progress in reducing carbon emissions. Technological capabilities like cloudbased software and AI analytics can allow for collaborative projects that focus on improving energy efficiencies across reducing carbon footprints. The technological capabilities are not limited to a certain sector and can help all forms of business reach their goals.

A robust and secure IT network is vital Innovation in IT is an often overlooked but integral element to successfully implementing both emerging technologies and data-driven decision making, as part of decarbonisation efforts. Previously, ISN Solutions has worked with oil and gas and exploration companies to implement a robust network infrastructure that unifies IT and operational technologies (OT) to link the capabilities of machinery and intelligent software, ensuring data insights are instantly accessible.

Although robust network solutions may require initial investment, the impacts are enormous, not only due to the potential to make more use of emerging technologies to control and reduce carbon emissions, but for improvements in worker safety and productivity too.

SCOTT DAVIDSON Managing Director ISN Solutions

No easy answers Achieving reduction goals in line with COP26 and meeting the expectations of an increasingly environmentally conscious society is the primary goal for businesses. There are many options to consider for this and embracing technological and digital developments can be instrumental. From a business standpoint, investment in IT infrastructure is something that has been necessitated for the modern way of working. By leveraging this effectively, businesses can achieve meaningful environmental progress whilst maintaining their bottom line. Investment in IT provisions is non-negotiable to stay competitive in an increasingly eco-conscious landscape. ISN Solutions is a corporate IT managed services provider with more than 20 years’ experience of partnering with energy companies.

1. data-analytics/whitepapers/ the-open-data-platformimperative-for-the-energyindustry


GR E E N T E C H N O LO GY Joh ns on Cont rol s U K &I

SMART BUILDINGS – THE MISSING PIECE OF THE PUZZLE The UK government plans to cut emissions in 30 million buildings with its net zero strategy. Installing low carbon heat pumps to replace gas boilers and grants for electric vehicles are among some of the suggested tactics. Yet one important piece of the puzzle was missing from the raft of proposals – smart technology, in particular smart buildings. Jamie Cameron, Director of Digital Solutions at Johnson Controls UK&I, investigates. 8

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orty per cent of carbon is generated by our buildings, meaning that innovation in technology holds unique potential to drive down carbon dependence in this area. Thankfully, these technologies already exist, but we need to implement them in the right ways to get the most out of our buildings. Where are we now? Businesses across the UK are implementing smart solutions, just not at the pace required to see real change. Our recent research shows that only 34% of UK buildings are fitted with smart technology yet, when asked how important this technology is to performing their role, almost every respondent (99%) saw its value. When looking at these figures, the disconnect between awareness and action becomes clear.

the way we operate: our buildings need to deliver ROIs and achieve net zero carbon and energy efficiency targets, all while ensuring occupant comfort and safety throughout. The smart building of the future will need to tick all these boxes. The challenge is that we need to manage the combination of operating tech, bringing together multiple data sources and different systems to drive value. Digital twins, for example, can turn the physical world into computable objects. Computable objects provide a consistent way for software to manage and represent entities from the physical world. These can then be used to predict the future state of physical objects, and to simulate or test future processes. If a product is having any issues, or is nearing the end of its lifecycle, a digital twin can notify and send out an engineer with the right part to fix it first time. The building can remain energy-efficient while bringing down costs to the business.

Businesses can meet net zero targets while remaining on track with employee safety and comfort. But this lies in holistically bringing smart solutions together and ceasing to rely on siloed approaches.

When the pandemic disrupted the world of work, the focus for smart tech turned to health and safety. Businesses across the country implemented point solutions such as thermal cameras, contactless access controls, air purification systems and remote management into buildings to make it safe for employees to return to work. At the time, it was what we needed for our buildings.

But as sustainability and efficiency conversations continue to take precedence; a new era is on the horizon. It may seem like a daunting goal, but in fact it isn’t. Businesses can meet net zero targets while remaining on track with employee safety and comfort. But this lies in holistically bringing smart solutions together and ceasing to rely on siloed approaches. Tomorrow’s smart building If we get the technology right in our buildings now, we can transform the way we use them in the years to come. But first we need to move away from solutions and concentrate on our desired outcomes. This means changing

JAMIE CAMERON Director of Digital Solutions Johnson Controls UK&I

The future is automated With new technologies such as digital twins, IoT, ML, AI and Automation, smart buildings can operate without much human interference at all. Building management systems can maintain and optimise buildings on their own, and only need human intervention when they are notified. Businesses now have the opportunity to create an environment that’s sustainable, efficient, and healthy. Covid-19 has woken us up to the issues of our health, and the climate crisis can no longer be ignored. If we create truly smart buildings, we’ll be in good stead to achieve the goals of shareholders, employees, customers, and regulators for the future.


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A TLAD in a Nepal village showing (A) cow dung and food waste inlet, (B) toilet (C) animal holding and digester, and (D) underground digester dome.

THE LOO TABOO: STUDY EXPLORES UPTAKE OF CONTROVERSIAL TECHNOLOGIES Researchers have provided an important insight into the cultural taboo surrounding an innovative ‘green’ technology that enables users to transform their domestic toilet waste into biogas.

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he team at the University of Stirling believe that their findings will help decision-makers understand and overcome the barriers preventing uptake of new technologies designed to reduce impact on the natural environment.

which converts the waste into biogas for use as a clean cooking fuel, and fertiliser to improve soils. However, despite its efficiency, recycling human waste in this way is uncommon because most cultures consider it unsavoury.

One pioneering process enables home toilets to be connected to an anaerobic digester – airless units in which bacteria breaks down organic matter –

Multidisciplinary researchers from Stirling conducted in-depth interviews in Nepal, where uptake of toilet-linked anaerobic digesters (TLAD)

G REEN TEC HN OLOGY Universi t y o f S t i r li n g

is high, to understand how people overcame their cultural aversion. Those who adopted TLAD improved their home sanitation, indoor air quality and use of resources, the study found. Natalie Boyd Williams, a PhD researcher in the division of Biological and Environmental Sciences, said: “I believe we have all the technology and the means to solve the world’s problems, but whether we are using it or not often depends on social factors. “Particularly in the West, decision-makers often make assumptions about what people will or won’t accept – meaning that they don’t properly explore how certain technologies can be adopted. There has been community resistance to wind farms and biogas plants, for example, that has been dismissed and overlooked by developers, when engagement with these communities can in fact lead to acceptance. “We wanted to challenge the assumption by exploring how an initially unacceptable technology – in this case, toilet-linked anaerobic digesters in Nepal – can become widely adopted. This is understood in Nepal but less so outside it.” The researchers conducted in-depth interviews with rural householders about how they overcame their cultural and religious objections around purity and pollution.

compared to traditional wood fuel, which blackens utensils and causes indoor air pollution and related illnesses. Liquefied petroleum gas, another common fuel, relies on fossil fuels. The closed, circular system of TLAD improved sanitation and provided fertiliser for crops. “Lastly, adoption can take time – some had to wait for the older generation to die to adopt it. Policymakers and organisations should be prepared to demonstrate the technology, show the benefits, and be prepared for people taking time to get used to new technologies that they find challenging.” In the UK, sewage and food waste is converted into biogas and agricultural fertiliser using anaerobic digestion on an industrial scale – but smaller scale biogas units remain futuristic, despite their potential contribution to the circular economy. “I’ve seen potential plans for blocks of flats that have underground shared biogas units,” said Ms Boyd Williams. “And smaller scale biogas units could be used locally across the UK, for instance for community energy projects, like those which the UK government had greater support for in the past. But, at the moment, there are policy barriers to digesters here.

In the UK, sewage and food waste is converted into biogas and agricultural fertiliser using anaerobic digestion on an industrial scale – but smaller scale biogas units remain futuristic, despite their potential contribution to the circular economy.

Ms Boyd Williams said: “We found that uptake was high where there was one risk taker who led the way. For example, in one village, one former policeman, who said he didn’t care what people thought, adopted the unit – and within a year most of the villagers had their own. “This also happened because people could go into his house to see how it worked. Demonstration was another important pathway to adoption, so people could see and understand how it functioned. “Being able to see and understand the benefits was also very important. People were worried it would make their home smell, or be unhygienic, but they were able to see that wasn’t the case. The benefits began to outweigh their opposition.” Explaining the benefits of uptake of TLAD, she continued: “Biogas is a clean cooking fuel

“In the Global South, governments are looking at domestic digester units because they offer good sanitation and indoor air pollution reduction opportunities. If we, in the West, are serious about developing the circular economy, and adopting sustainable technologies, we need to understand what matters to people, how they interpret messages about science, and how and why they change their views and behaviour.”

NATALIE BOYD WILLIAMS Member of Research Team University of Stirling

The research was carried out with Durham University as part of an IAPETUS Doctoral Training Partnership, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council. The paper ‘Taboos, toilets and biogas: Socio-technical pathways to acceptance of a sustainable household technology’ is published in Energy Research and Social Science. Further research will compare TLAD adoption in Nepal and India, and acceptance of and resistance to products made from sewage in the UK.


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G REEN TEC HN OLOGY S m ar ter Te chnolo g ie s

ADDRESSING THE DATA CENTRE ENERGY DRAIN In our digitalised world, technologies like data centres are essential. However, they also take centre-stage in energy consumption. Matthew Margetts, of Smarter Technologies, examines how companies can reduce the drain on resources while retaining crucial data.


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Data centre operations require a safe, efficient and dependable power supply. There’s no doubt that sustainability is going to be the overriding trend that will remain front and centre within the data centre industry for the foreseeable future.


nside vast factories bigger than aircraft carriers, tens of thousands of circuit boards are racked row upon row. They stretch down windowless halls so long that staff ride through the corridors on scooters. In an increasingly digitalised world, data centres are the information backbone, with demand continuing to grow along with dataintensive technologies. Estimated to account for as much as 1% of worldwide electricity use, data centres are energy-intensive enterprises. In Ireland, data centres could account for about 25% of the country’s electricity usage by 2030, potentially leading to electricity supply challenges. Fearing the pressure data centres place on the national grid, countries such as the Netherlands and Singapore have gone so far as to stop issuing building permits to data centres.

Why do data centres require so much energy? To provide constant power supply with minimum disruptions Electricity used by IT devices such as servers, storage drives and network devices is converted into heat, which must be removed from the data centre by cooling equipment that also runs on electricity Facilities must be kept at the appropriate temperature Additional equipment such as humidifiers and monitors are also required


The energy impact of data centres is undeniable, but so is the need for these facilities to handle the world’s ever-increasing data demands. What can’t be ignored is the energy efficiency trends that have developed in parallel. The IEA reports that although workloads and internet traffic have nearly tripled, data centre energy consumption has flatlined for the past three years.

Here’s what can be done to improve data centre energy efficiency and sustainability: High-efficiency equipment The use of server virtualisation and ARMbased processors can help reduce the energy consumption of IT devices. This new technology is designed to perform fewer types of computer instructions, allowing them to operate at a higher speed and resulting in better performance at a fraction of the power. The servers of today are more powerful and efficient than ever before, and the technology continues to improve. Renewable energy One of the best ways to match the rise in ICT workload energy is to ensure a corresponding increase in the usage of renewable energy sources. By moving part of their high-intensity computing hardware to alternative locations using renewable energy, companies can benefit from a more sustainable energy source while taking energy off the national grid. A location like Iceland boasts reliable, low-cost renewable energy.

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By moving part of their high-intensity computing hardware to alternative locations using renewable energy, companies can benefit from a more sustainable energy source while taking energy off the national grid. A location like Iceland boasts reliable, low-cost renewable energy. Big data centre operators such as Google are establishing solar generation plants to offset their data centre usage on the grid, using small panels coupled with battery storage to reduce non-critical functions such as engine heaters, office airconditioning, fuel polishing and lighting. Intelligent power distribution management The key to better energy efficiency in data centres is managing power load and distribution. For example, reducing the number of servers needed during low traffic hours. Rather than leaving all servers idle, some servers can be turned off when not needed while others run at full throttle. Matching the server capacity to real-time demands is made possible through smart monitoring and management tools. It’s also important to remove “zombie servers”, which are servers that have become redundant and are no longer in use, yet are still powered on and consuming energy. Research shows that 25% of physical servers are zombies, along with 30% of virtual servers. In general, these servers haven’t been shut down because operators don’t know what they contain or what they are used for. To deal with this problem proactively, every server and function must be documented and monitored appropriately using asset management software.

Machine learning and automation in data centres can also be used to optimise cooling system setpoints for variable outside conditions, which provides a number of marginal energy gains. Heat transfer technology Using the heat coming off the servers is like taking advantage of a free resource. For example, an IBM data centre in Switzerland warms a nearby swimming pool with its waste heat. However, because heat doesn’t travel well, the use of waste heat is generally limited to data centres that can supply nearby customers or cities that already use piped hot water to heat homes. Energy offsets The information age is making buildings smarter and more energy efficient. With fairly simple automations such as occupancy sensors that turn off lights and HVAC when no one is in a room, along with informed decision-making as a result of access to real-time utility consumption data, building managers can use smart technology and building management systems to reduce their carbon footprints. This infrastructure is facilitated by data centres, so one could argue that some of the energy being used by data centres is offset by the lower consumption of the smart buildings they service.


Policy making and planning

Director of Sales and Marketing Smarter Technologies Group

Decision-makers need to be able to confidently and accurately evaluate future efficiency and mitigation options. Policymakers and energy planners need to be able to:

Optimised cooling

Monitor future data centre energy use trends

In conventional data centres, standard air conditioning uses a significant proportion of the centre’s energy bill. All IT equipment must remain at safe temperatures, which is why proper ventilation and cooling is so important.

Understand key energy use drivers

Measures managers can take to optimise cooling include the following: Proper insulation can help maintain temperatures within the room. Strategic equipment layout and streamlined airflow can also improve cooling efficiencies. A popular solution is to locate data centres in cool climates and use the outside air to cool the inside. This is known as “free cooling”. Piped water is a good conductor of heat. Warm water can be used as a less energy-intensive way to cool data centres. Cleaning up workloads and eliminating unnecessary equipment. Replace older cooling systems with new technology to improve efficiencies.

Assess the effectiveness of various policy interventions In order to do this, data analysts need access to reliable data sources on the energy consumption characteristics of IT devices and cooling/power systems.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Matthew Margetts is Director of Sales and Marketing at Smarter Technologies. His background includes working for blue-chip companies such as AppNexus, AOL/ Verizon, and Microsoft in the UK, Far East and Australia.

Smart metering technology is just the start—along with the data from smart meters, energy managers need a platform with data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities in order to make the most of the data they are presented with. Data centre operations require a safe, efficient and dependable power supply. There’s no doubt that sustainability is going to be the overriding trend that will remain front and centre within the data centre industry for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, the very same smart technology that is necessitating the growth of data centres is also helping to make them more energy efficient and future-fit.


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WORCESTERSHIRE LAUNCHES INDUSTRYFIRST CLEANTECH BOOTCAMP Wyre Forest District Council and Worcestershire technology accelerator BetaDen have launched an industry-first Cleantech bootcamp to help businesses develop and commercialise solutions to some of the biggest environmental challenges facing industries around the world. BetaDen North Cleantech Bootcamp is funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund and will see leading figures from the Cleantech world bringing their expertise to Worcestershire, helping Cleantech entrepreneurs and established businesses alike develop the technologies required to lead industry supply chains to a Net Zero future. The programme, which is delivered by Carbon Limiting Technologies (CLT), brings to life the real issues and opportunities for businesses arising out of the push towards Net Zero. The significance was brought even more sharply into focus at COP26, where over 40 governments


signed up to ‘the Glasgow Breakthroughs’ - a series of commitments to speed up the development of clean technologies to help achieve key climate targets by 2030. Ostap Paparega, head of North Worcestershire Economic Development and Regeneration, said: “BetaDen North Cleantech Bootcamp is a fantastic opportunity for start-up, scale-up and established businesses to access specialist support to develop their Cleantech ideas. “Promoting low- and zero-carbon technologies is a key part of the county’s industrial strategy and we have a wealth of innovative companies here that have the potential to make a real difference.”

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The pilot programme will begin on 24 February with a series of four workshops, delivered by some of the industry’s leading lights and illustrating issues and challenges facing business as well as highlighting significant opportunities for Cleantech innovators.

The BetaDen North Cleantech Bootcamp is a pioneering programme that paves the way for a nationally significant Centre of Excellence for carbon reducing technologies to develop in the region.

Eight companies will then be chosen to join a specialist Cleantech bootcamp, with participants receiving professional mentoring, commercialisation support and access to marketing funds to develop their ideas, before taking part in Dragon’s Den-style pitch to potential customers, partners and investors. Linda Smith, founder and CEO of technology accelerator BetaDen, said: “The BetaDen North Cleantech Bootcamp is a pioneering programme that paves the way for a nationally significant Centre of Excellence for carbon reducing technologies to develop in the region.


“Participants will have access to advice and support from innovators who have truly been there and done it in this emerging field, helping them shape their ideas to provide real world solutions for real world problems.” Companies and individuals interesting in joining the programme should register their interest at will take place at Wyre Forest House in Worcestershire from 24 February, with applications for the bootcamp programme closing on 25 March. The bootcamp runs for eight weeks from 25 April, culminating in a live pitch event in June.



MAKE YOUR “GREEN” BUSINESS MORE FINANCIALLY SUSTAINABLE IN 2022 BY TALKING TO AN EXPERT ABOUT AN R&D TAX CREDITS CLAIM? At Cooden – R&D Tax Specialists, we were in somewhat celebratory mood as 2021 drew to a close. On 16 December we received the last payout of the year into our client account, it was for one of our newly acquired clients in 2021, a specialist veterinary care business based in Wales. This claim was momentous for Cooden as it saw our clients’ Research and Development tax savings top £5 million in a calendar year for the first time. 18



021 has been a year of steady growth with a number of new significant businesses becoming clients. We’ve even taken on a Blue Chip Cyber Security business, with a number of claims for their UK-based entities. Our goal was to obtain 4 new clients who would have claims of over £75k, in the end we took on 6. We don’t have a vast number of businesses in the green/sustainability space, which I suppose is one of the reasons we are writing these articles for the Green Business Journal. Our leader in the space has to be Tensei, they are in the process of developing high quality papers from straw. Another business with Green credentials at its heart are a Vegan Cheese company we’ve been working with in Kent, we’re on the verge of completing their first two years’ of claims. We’ve also just been engaged by a company developing Vegan Burgers and Sausages for high end restaurants, we haven’t started on their claim yet, but this could be a very interesting one. Actually, the more I look through our client list, the more businesses I seem to find. There’s the feminine hygiene brand that are working on reusable products, organic cotton-based products and developing alternatives to plastic applicators

at the same time as offering a subscription based model that is as flexible as the feminine body. Then there is the Electric Trials bike company, OSET Bikes who have been designing and developing a range of Electric Trials Bikes for the last 15 years and have recently finished a Knowledge Transfer partnership with the University of Brighton, home of Clean Growth UK, one of the leading bodies for sustainability in the UK. Finally there is the engineering business looking to harness the power of the sun to power our railways, they’ve been involved in a number of funded projects from both Innovate UK and the Rail Safety and Standards Board. At the end of it. they are all just our clients, I reckon if I spent another 20 minutes going through everyone on our client list, there would probably be another 2 or 3 that would definitely be described as “Sustainable” or “Green”. Ooh, yes, there’s the International Hop Processing business that were experimenting with the fines from processed hops as a beer stabilizer rather than using fish products, but they also have a patent for a product that is used by some beer manufacturers to prevent excess foam formation during fermentation on that was manufactured from a waste product from another part of hop processing.



You might think, I ‘ve done this deliberately, but I swear, the more I looked, the more I found, because we didn’t necessarily class them as “green” or “sustainable”, but they are all undertaking projects that have an element of this to them. It’s funny how the mind plays tricks on you. It can be the same for you as a business owner when you are considering whether you have been performing research and development within your company. The default answer tends to be, it’s not research and development, we are just doing what we have always done, solved problems, overcome some technical issues with a new product or a product update, engineered out a design flaw in one of our established products, looked to fundamentally redesign the manufacturing process so that we generate less waste. It’s just what we do.


We’ve never filed an R&D Tax Relief Claim, because we don’t think that we are performing any R&D and no one has really told us any different and challenged our way of thinking. Well, if you always do what you have always done, don’t be surprised if you keep getting the same results. Stop! Take some time, consider what you have been doing, ask yourself: • Could anyone else have done this without spending a lot of time and effort doing it? • Would someone like to steal it or copy it? • Would someone have paid us a lot of money for you to do it for them?

a no-obligation discovery session to determine your eligibility prior to starting the claim; a low-hassle data collection process for both the financial element and the technical element of claims; and the use of our client account to receive funds and for visibility to chase HMRC when they haven’t been forthcoming. So, there really are few reasons left for you not to at least have an initial discussion with our Director, Simon Bulteel, but just in case you have any others: If you are worried that it might not be worth it, our average claim value was just under £75,000;

We’ve never filed an R&D Tax Relief Claim, because we don’t think that we are performing any R&D and no one has really told us any different and challenged our way of thinking. Well, if you always do what you have always done, don’t be surprised if you keep getting the same results.

• Did we go through a lot of heart ache trying to get to the end of this? • Have we suffered a scientific or technological failure that has prevented us from completing the project? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ve probably been doing some R&D and it might be worth getting in touch, just like all of our new clients in 2021 who have discovered that claiming for R&D Tax Relief wasn’t quite so taxing as they might have thought and ultimately for many of them was very rewarding, so why not see if you have the same feelings at the end of your journey.


It would appear as though our stress-free service offering has gone down very well with our customers. It consists of

If you are worried that we can’t handle large claims, our largest claim was for just under £700,000 for a scaling up Cyber-Security business and our next largest claim was over £575,000 for a technology company delivering banking solutions for Instant Payments. If you are worried, you’ll be wasting our time, you won’t, our smallest claim was for just under £1,500 for a start-up skincare business.

If you are worried that HMRC are going to punish you for making a claim, we’ve had one enquiry in 2021 into a Patent Box claim, where HMRC couldn’t find a patent in the name of the company.

There really are no reasons left to stop you. We are here to guide you, just like we have over a 150 businesses before you, to a successful and rewarding R&D Tax Credits claim. With new changes coming in 2023, there has never been a better time to start claiming for your new product developments or improvements and with the ability to claim for two prior years, you could see a significant boost to your 2022 cashflow. You can book your no-obligation discovery session at a time that suits you by visiting simon-bulteel/discovery-gbj



research & development tax relief specialists

Get your cash from HMRC Call us on: 01424 225 345 email us on: @Coodenconsults

Validate your claim No Win No Fee

Offic e 8 • C har ter House • 43 S t Leonards Road • Bexhill on S ea • East S ussex • TN40 21 1JA

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OXWASH: PUTTING A GREEN SPIN ON LAUNDRY An Oxford eco-cleaning company is putting the traditional laundry industry in a spin.


sing space-age technology, green tech start-up Oxwash has set its sights on decarbonising the toxic washing and dry cleaning sector.

process using technology more typically seen in space and hospital sterilisation, before setting up washing facilities (known as lagoons) in London, Oxford and Cambridge.

The Oxford-based firm also cleaned up in a June 2021 funding round, raising £2.08 million in seed expansion investment. Total investment to date has reached over £5 million.

The UK’s industrial laundry sector currently processes over 743,000 tonnes of laundry every year, and the nation’s households use a collective 360 billion litres of water (equivalent to Lake Windermere’s volume) just by sticking a wash on at home.

Oxwash was founded in 2018 by ex-NASA scientist and Forbes’ Europe’s 30 under 30 alumni, Dr Kyle Grant, and Oxford engineer Tom de Wilton. Kyle was still at Oxford University, finishing his Synthetic Biology PhD, when he and Tom launched a cleaning service for students, having been frustrated with constant washing machine breakdowns on campus. Together, the pair re-engineered the cleaning

So it’s no surprise that Oxwash’s focus is on sustainability. Kyle explained: “Our team is not only developing chemistry that works at 20˚C better than at 40˚C or higher, but we have integrated water reclamation and reduction technology into our process that saves up to 60% of the water consumption versus you washing at home or any other typical commercial washing service.”


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An Oxwash lagoon.

Their cleaning process uses ozone (generated by renewable electricity) and biodegradable disinfectants to sterilise fabrics at lower temperatures, achieving higher than medicalgrade disinfection. Cold water is used during wash cycles to cut down on energy bills, while water from a rinse cycle is put into the next wash cycle, saving up to 60% in traditional consumption.

The team also use dissolvable laundry bags, and electric cargo bikes for ‘hyper local’ pickups and deliveries. Oxwash’s responsible business model – online bookings, collection, washing and drop-off – has proved so successful that growth has been 15% month on month since the start of the pandemic. And their on-demand service offering is attracting eco-conscious investors such as Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, and angel investors like Magnus Rausing of Tetra Park and Kal Patel, exCEO of Best Buy.

“We’re confident that Oxwash can clean up and deliver substantial returns.”

Heavily stained clothes are blasted with compressed air and water, negating the need for heavy chemicals, and micro-plastics and fibres are filtered, capturing 95% of shed materials before they disappear down the drain as pollutants.


Speaking after a crowdfunder last winter raised £500,000 in 15 hours, Dr Grant said he was totally blown away by the level of interest. “Our goal was to build a wide network of shareholders

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Tom de Wilton, left, with CEO Dr Kyle Grant.

who care about our purpose as much as we do, and can be true ambassadors for the brand, which is why we capped the investment level at £5,000 per person.” He added: “We know being just another laundry app won’t cut it. Developing a model that is hyper local, carbon neutral and tech enabled, that reverses the sector’s adverse impact on the planet rather than adding to it, is absolutely critical. “Partnering with the likes of Reckitt, The Oxford Foundry and Founders Factory, as well as being part of the Collective Impact programme with Virgin StartUp have given us access to some of the best minds in business which has undoubtedly been a leg-up for the business. “There is a growing awareness and appetite for green washing services – and we’re confident that Oxwash can clean up and deliver substantial returns.”

of the Vanish brand) to give old clothes a new lease of life, and help reduce the mountain of clothes ending up in landfill. The company also has a collaboration with luxury fashion rental business Hurr Collective, whose customers include Carrie Johnston. Looking to the future, the ‘green cleaning’ market is expected to reach over $11 billion by 2029, so Oxwash is currently developing a modular, rapidly scalable model for cities across the UK and overseas. And with 8000 individual customers, corporate clients like the Marriott Hotel Group, the NHS, the Astrazeneca Vaccine Trial and Peloton, plus a host of top-level investors on board, Oxwash has certainly hit the right cycle at the right time.


Through the Reckitt partnership, Oxwash’s lagoons use sustainable formula Vanish 0% (part


R E CYC LI N G Ha p pie r B e au t y

WORLD’S FIRST REFILLABLE TOOTHPASTE DISPENSER IN DEVELOPMENT A British eco-friendly dental brand is developing the world’s first refillable toothpaste dispenser with biodegradable refill capsules.

We are so excited to be the world’s first toothpaste company to bring a refillable toothpaste dispenser to market.


appier Beauty has received a Smart Innovate grant of £150,000 to develop the dispenser, which aims to help eliminate single-use plastic tubes and pumps. The company has already devised a toothpaste which it claims is 100% recyclable.


The new toothpaste dispenser will be made of aluminium and 50% recycled plastic, so designed for multiple usage, while the refill capsules are biodegradable. Together the products will provide an alternative to standard toothpaste tubes that are notoriously difficult to recycle and result in 1.5 billion plastic cast-offs ending up in landfill every year. Happier Beauty has already debuted a planet friendly toothpaste tube made of aluminum which is easily recycled. However, the brand wants to create a more circular solution to the climate crisis. The new toothpaste dispenser will allow consumers to refill using biodegradable capsules. The refill


capsules will be sent out to customers as a subscription, along with the reusable dispenser in their first subscription. Customers will be able to choose the frequency of their subscription. Founder of Happier Beauty, Faye Wilson, said: “It is becoming clear that recycling will not save us from the climate crisis, and so Happier Beauty wanted to take it one step further by creating a truly circular refillable and reusable solution. “We are so excited to be the world’s first toothpaste company to bring a refillable toothpaste dispenser to market. Refills are becoming more popular across food and beauty so why not dental care? Toothpaste is a product we all use twice a day but innovation in this market has been pretty slow up until now. “Our refills have numerous advantages for the planet, they are easy to biodegrade so reduce the amount of plastic going to landfills.”


The planned Energy Recovery Facility in Enfield.

BLACK BIN WASTE BECOMES GREEN ENERGY OF THE FUTURE Unhygienic black bin bag waste will be transformed into energy for nearly 180,000 homes at the UK’s most advanced energy recovery facility.


orth London Waste Authority (NLWA) has signed the contract for this pioneering project with infrastructure and renewable energy developer, ACCIONA, creating hundreds of job opportunities for local people, including at least 418 full time roles, 180 training placements and 90 apprenticeships. The public-owned Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) will transform black-bin waste into electricity for up to 127,000 homes, and heat and hot water for up to 50,000 local homes, eliminating the need for gas boilers. It will prevent black-bin-bag waste from ending up in landfill, where it generates greenhouse gas methane, which has a warming impact 30 times greater than CO₂. It will also save the equivalent of 215,000 tonnes of CO₂ each year, equivalent to taking 110,000 cars off the road. The ERF forms part of a £1.2 billion investment in Edmonton in Enfield known as the North London Heat and Power Project (NLHPP), serving seven north London boroughs*. It includes state-of-the art recycling and waste facilities with the most advanced technology in the world. The new facilities will replace a single energy-from-waste plant on the 16-hectare site, which began operating in 1971 and is now Europe’s oldest such facility. NLWA’s chair Clyde Loakes said: “With contracts signed and sealed with ACCIONA, work now begins on the next stage of one of the most sustainable and nationally significant projects ever to tackle waste and increase recycling rates, and one which greatly boosts employment opportunities in the area.” ACCIONA will build the ERF section utilising worldclass tech such as Selective Catalytic Reduction

technology, which converts the nitrogen oxide created by incinerating waste into water and nitrogen, a harmless gas that makes up 78% of the Earth’s atmosphere. It’s the same tech used at the Amager Bakke/Copenhill ERF in Copenhagen, recently featured in the BBC’s Earthshot Prize, which even has a dry ski slope on the exterior because the pollution controls are so effective. Cllr Loakes added: “In parallel with the project, NLWA’s focus continues apace on preventing waste in the first place by urging Government and business to make vital systemic changes and through ongoing community engagement. NLWA is leading the way on recycling too, dealing with difficult items such as mattresses and expanded polystyrene as well as ensuring recyclable plastic is processed only in the UK.”


NLWA has spent over eight years specifying an ERF that exceeds statutory requirements on environmental standards as well as due diligence to ensure value for money. It’s estimated the ERF will save an estimated £20 million a year (or £1 billion over its lifespan) in third-party waste disposal. NLWA has already secured funds for the first stage of works with a loan of £280 million at extremely low interest rates from the Public Works Loan Board. The facility also aims to install carbon capture after 2030, aligned with the development of a south-east industrial cluster. *NLWA is the statutory waste authority serving the London boroughs of Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, and Waltham Forest.


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THE PIONEER BIOTECH TURNING SEAWEED INTO BIOPLASTICS Sustainable biotech innovator Kelpi has secured funding to further develop its pioneering technology creating bioplastics from seaweed.


elpi’s compostable bioplastic packaging for food is now a step closer to the supermarket shelves, with the aim to replace single-use fossil fuel plastics. The Bath-based start-up will use the funds to scale up development of prototype bioplastic packaging that is compostable, marine-safe and carbonnegative. “This landmark investment enables Kelpi to advance its work as one of just a handful of companies worldwide using seaweed to create entirely new bioplastic packaging solutions,” said Kelpi co-founder and CEO Neil Morris. “We set out to play a part in eliminating plastic pollution and enabling net zero. This funding will allow us to accelerate progress towards achieving that goal using seaweed - a natural, renewable biomass that has huge potential to sequester carbon and sustainably address climate change.” Kelpi will use the investment to prototype packaging solutions for a range of clients primarily



in the food industry. Kelpi focuses particularly on thin films which have some of the lowest recycling rates of any plastic, with less than 1% being recycled in the UK according to WWF (2018 report). Right now, more than 99% of plastics are produced from chemicals derived from oil, natural gas and coal — all of which are dirty, non-renewable resources. If current trends continue, by 2050 the plastic industry could account for 20% of the world’s total oil consumption, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. Kelpi already has sourcing agreements in place with seaweed suppliers in Europe, as well as Asia where most of the world’s seaweed is currently cultivated. The pre-seed round – a combination of private and public sector funding – was led by Bristol Private Equity Club (BPEC) combined with a linked Innovate UK ‘Combined Investor Partnership’ grant landed through SETsquared’s Regional Angel Investment Accelerator (RAIA) programme.

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The investment represents the first significant investment of BPEC’s new Seed division focused on early-stage businesses. BPEC Seed’s Pete Lockett said: “Kelpi stood out to us as a strong combination of world-leading scientific innovation with great entrepreneurial experience. Cofounders Neil, Murray and Chris have established a business which can deliver profit and purpose, playing a vital role in addressing climate change and impacting on plastic pollution.”

division was set up this year specifically to enable our members to support start-ups and it works well alongside the RAIA programme.”

The Kelpi lab is one of a handful worldwide using seaweed to create bioplastics.

As a SETsquared Scale-Up Programme member, Kelpi, benefitted from the Regional Angel Investment Accelerator (RAIA) scheme delivered by SETsquared and funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, which aimed to simplify, de-risk and accelerate public/private co-investment into ambitious, deep-tech businesses. To date, the programme has supported nine companies (including Kelpi) to raise £820K of Innovate UK grant funding which leveraged £2m Angel equity investment.

Kelpi already has sourcing agreements in place with seaweed suppliers in Europe, as well as Asia where most of the world’s seaweed is currently cultivated.

Jerry Barnes, founder of BPEC, said: “As the largest and most active Angel Investor in the South West, we are delighted to once again invest in a highly innovative SME in the region that can become a world-leader with the right support. Our Seed



WORKING IN RENEWABLES: HOW CAN WE ENCOURAGE MORE WOMEN TO APPLY? Under-representation of women in the renewable energy sector is down to a number of factors. But with the potential for 10-15 million jobs in the anaerobic digestion industry alone by 2030, opportunities are clearly there to be encouraged and promoted. Dr Nina Skorupska, chief executive at the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA), looks at challenges and prospects.


tatistics suggest that just 22% of employees within the energy industry are women, with the renewables sector being only marginally higher than this at 32%. But these figures don’t come as a surprise to Dr Skorupska.


A lack of specific qualifications, diversity barriers and public perceptions are just three of the numerous hurdles women have to overcome in their journey to a career in renewables, but what can be done to inspire them to enter the industry?


Promoting the role of women within the workforce As mentioned above, the AD industry could create millions of jobs within the next 10 years, offering the perfect opportunity to create a diverse and dynamic workforce. However, more needs to be done to promote roles for women in the renewable energy sector and promoting diversity should be action-orientated. What is stopping women from applying? What solutions can be developed to overcome this? And how can these solutions be delivered in order to make an impact?

Encouraging a younger generation Stevie Leeks, marketing manager for Privilege Finance, a specialist funder in climate reduction and mitigation projects, says that most women currently working in renewables have come across their jobs by chance.

Stevie Leeks, of Privilege Finance , believes most women in renewables have come across their jobs by chance.

She emphasises the need for roles in renewables to be highlighted to a younger generation, and points to the absence of a specific qualification which makes this really difficult.

“Job descriptions need to be more encouraging

Stevie explains: “The sector is growing in response to the climate crisis; there is so much career potential in the sector, but it just isn’t widely recognised.

companies. It requires a complete mindset change

“Offering an AD or renewable energy focused qualification would definitely encourage young people into what is a very important sector, both now and in the future.”

Dr Skorupska also advises the need for strict policies

Changing public and self-perception

“Everyone needs to be aware of the

Dr Skorupska was one of the first female power

underrepresentation of women and the gender

station managers in the early 1990s, and explains that facilitating conversations with male employees was crucial for her success. “You have to establish a level of respect and the best way to do that is through creating conversations and changing those perceptions of women in the industry.”

for women. Women respond to roles where they can make an impact, so the wording of these job descriptions should be a key consideration of all from everyone on all levels,” she added.

Implementing policies in the sector. “We need policies which address gender discrimination and the barriers which women in the sector face.

imbalance in the industry to overcome this,” she explains. “And by

Offering an AD or renewable energy focused qualification would definitely encourage young people into what is a very important sector.

implementing policies,

– Stevie Leeks, Privilege Finance.

enough to have a brilliant

But she emphasises that it’s not just about educating your male peers but a whole industry-level change.

we can encourage new members into the sector and create a much


more open culture in renewable energy.” Both women agree that they were fortunate support network around them when venturing into the world of

renewables, but they appreciate that not everyone is so lucky and a lack of external support can vastly impact career choices.



Me w b u r n E l l i s

EXTRACTING VALUE IN THE BATTERY LIFECYCLE Li-ion battery systems are vital to the future of renewable energy, but sustainability is also a crucial consideration, as Sam Bailey, Partner and Patent Attorney, Mewburn Ellis, explains.


ost with a basic understanding of chemistry will have heard of chromatography, solvent extractions, and precipitations. Indeed, you could be forgiven for thinking that chemical extraction and separation techniques and their applications are typically well-established. New developments of these techniques, however, are starting to show promise in lessening the environmental impact of lithiumion (Li-ion) batteries.

A surge in demand With developments in technologies such as electric vehicles and grid power storage to support renewable energy generation, the demand for Liion battery capacity is set to rise exponentially in the next decade. To meet this demand there is a huge focus in the scientific community on improving the efficiency and capacity of these battery systems by changing the underlying cell chemistry and construction. While those innovations will play a vital role in meeting the future energy needs, addressing the environmental impact at both ends of the battery lifecycle is also essential if this form of power storage is to be truly sustainable.


The negative (-) Both ends of the battery lifecycle share some common challenges, like extracting a desired pure material from a heterogeneous feedstock. At the birth of a battery, raw materials must be extracted, maybe from a mined ore, and made into a battery cell in an energy efficient and environmentally friendly way. At the death of a battery the raw materials need to be retrieved as far as possible to feed back into the manufacturing process alongside the freshly extracted raw materials. These challenges have prompted researchers to adapt existing extraction technologies to meet the specific conditions in the battery environment. For example froth floatation extraction is a well-known technique in the mining industry to increase the hydrophobicity of valuable parts of a mined ore so that they can be skimmed off the surface of a floatation vessel while the less valuable components sink to the bottom. Unfortunately valuable battery cathode materials such as lithium manganese oxide (LMO) typically sink in this type of system making them hard to separate.


Me w b u r n E lli s

The positive (+) In new research scientists at MIT have succeeded in adapting the known systems to effectively separate out not only the metal foil parts of a Liion battery but also the LMO cathode material in high purity for recycling into new battery cells1. Other innovative extraction technologies are also being applied in the battery arena; such as a selective chemical transformation to allow easier separation of valuable elements, either from mined ores or from used Li-ion electrode materials.

Worldwide, the main areas of lithium mining (Australia, South America and China) do not, with the exception of China, coincide with the regions of high Li-ion battery production. This leaves many manufacturers forced to import their lithium supply. Application of a variety of extraction techniques to geothermal brines (aqueous solutions having high concentrations of salts resulting from circulation through hot underground rock formations) is touted as a possible local lithium supply to avoid the environmental impact of transporting lithium around the world.

Extraction technology is also being enlisted to address one of the supplychain hurdles facing Li-ion battery manufacture; sourcing a local supply of lithium.

Isolation processes such as solvent extraction, ion exchange, and precipitation techniques are known to achieve this type of isolation. These commonly use large amounts of solvents, however, many of which may be environmentally damaging.

A variety of extraction techniques have resulted in large numbers of patents in this area some of which are summarised in a research paper from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory3.

A second research group at MIT has developed a process by which desired elements in an ore or recycling feedstock can be selectively transformed into sulphides allowing separation and then desulphidation to reclaim the valuable material; thus avoiding the use of large amounts of solvents 2.

These approaches to extraction of valuable components demonstrate the type of innovative techniques that will be needed to develop local production of elements for battery manufacture and the recycling of valuable materials from spent Li-ion batteries.

Extraction technology is also being enlisted to address one of the supply-chain hurdles facing Li-ion battery manufacture; sourcing a local supply of lithium.

These clever twists on known technologies will work alongside the performance improvements in the batteries themselves as we strive for a more sustainable battery lifecycle.

SAM BAILEY Partner and Patent Attorney Mewburn Ellis


“Direct Recycling of Blended Cathode Materials by Froth Flotation” by Tinu-Ololade Folayan, Albert L. Lipson, Jessica L. Durham, Haruka Pinegar, Donghao Liu and Lei Pan, 29 July 2021, Energy Technology. DOI: 10.1002/ ente.202100468


“Direct Recycling of Blended Cathode Materials by Froth Flotation” by Tinu-Ololade Folayan, Albert L. Lipson, Jessica L. Durham, Haruka Pinegar, Donghao Liu and Lei Pan, 29 July 2021, Energy Technology. DOI: 10.1002/ ente.202100468


Energies 2021, 14(20), 6805; en14206805 - summary of patents in tables 7, 8 and 11



WHY CLEANER ENERGY DEPENDS ON PEMD If the UK is to meet its Net Zero targets by 2050, the renewable energy sector will need to innovate, and innovate fast, to ensure supply keeps up with demand as we move away from traditional fossil fuels towards ‘cleaner’ energy.


o meet this demand, and continue to showcase the UK as a leader in environmental engineering, there needs to be an even greater focus on Power Electronics, Machines and Drives (PEMD) technology. PEMD – the most important acronym most people have never heard of – are the enabling technologies that will make electrification possible, at scale, that will make clean energy affordable and accessible for all. Totalling nearly £80 million, UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Driving the Electric Revolution challenge – a governmentfunded programme – is investing into these electrification technologies to support the up-scale of PEMD Manufacturing.


The challenge aims to: leverage the UK’s world-leading research capability in PEMD help industry create the supply chains necessary to manufacture ‘homegrown’ PEMD products identify gaps in the supply chains and help industry fill them ensure cooperation and collaboration so we don’t duplicate effort, waste time and can reuse solutions across all sectors help fill the skills gap by retraining, upskilling and repurposing engineers from traditional internal combustion businesses into PEMD supply chains.


It is the UK’s most important intervention into PEMD – providing funding opportunities for collaboration between SMEs, big businesses and academia, to create innovative and cost-effective solutions and establish ‘best-in-class’ facilities to create robust and resilient UK supply chains. Thanks to UKRI, the Driving the Electric Revolution challenge has already invested in 40 ground-breaking PEMD projects, many with clear links to the energy sector with more funding successes yet to be announced. One program that has benefitted from this funding is the Development of PEMD for Nuclear Coolant Systems. In support of broader government objectives towards electrification and Net Zero carbon emissions, nuclear is viewed as a critical part of the UK’s plans for producing future clean electricity. This project, aided by consortia members at the University of Sheffield and Hayward Taylor Limited, includes the design and supply of electric pumping machinery, forming part of the primary nuclear safety systems of upcoming Small Modular Reactors, with specific consideration for UK capability in low and zero cobalt metals. The Development of PEMD for Nuclear Coolant Systems project will support initial conceptual design through to a theoretically proven drive system designed specifically for Small Modular Reactor Cooling Pumps. The knowledge and experience acquired during this project will provide a framework to engage with UK suppliers on specific product designs facing the same issue, with the overall goal of establishing a motivated UK-based supply chain that is suited for future nuclear applications. The GreenSpur Wind Project for the development of coil winding and magnet assembly manufacturing processes showcases another funding success, producing rare-earth-free wind turbine generators that are set to revolutionise wind power. All wind turbine Permanent Magnet Generators (PMGs) use conventional designs that rely on one key material, rare-earth magnets. GreenSpur, has invented and patented a new and highly innovative approach, with a PMG that substitutes

scarce and expensive rare earth magnets for cheap and abundant ferrite magnets. The long-term vision of GreenSpur’s project, in partnership with The University of Warwick, is to stimulate the development of a UK supply chain and manufacturing network that can build multiMW generators for the UK wind market. As a result of their CGI project, GreenSpur has seen multiple orders of their ferrite-based designs from Californian wind turbine developer, Wind Harvest International, further highlighting the demand for cleaner and greener innovations. Another project that has benefited from UKRI funding is the WIND Electric Revolution (WINDER) project that aims to bring the manufacture of large generators for offshore wind to the UK. With the involvement of stakeholders such as Magnomatics Limited and Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, the Magnomatics Pseudo Direct Drive (PDD(r)) combines a magnetic gear with a permanent magnet generator. The PDD is extremely efficient and very reliable with no meshing gear teeth Magnomatics will develop computer-based modelling software which can then be used to design robust PPRs including dynamic modelling of the pole piece loads to predict wear and possible erosion of the composite structure. These methods will be validated using the new test data from the ORE Catapult. A virtual product validation will also be performed on concept designs to ensure the PPR achieves the expected product lifetime of 25+ years.

PEMD Power Electronics, Machines and Drives

With wind turbine generator unit volumes expected to reach 800 units per annum, it is essential that PPRs are manufactured within the UK to drive down costs, rather than import these technologies from overseas. The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), at the University of Sheffield, is providing input and support to Design for Manufacture (DfM) of the PPR to achieve this outcome. Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult showcased the project, sharing this video to highlight Catalysing Green innovation. This article is courtesy of Innovate UK, which is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

PEMD – Power Electronics, Machines and Drives – is the most important acronym most people have never heard of. 35

E N E R GY L e v idi a n



ational Grid has agreed to trial a cuttingedge decarbonisation device as part of a world-first bid to boost the amount of hydrogen in the UK’s gas supply. LOOP – developed by Cambridge-based climate tech business Levidian – uses plasma technology to separate methane into its constituent atoms: carbon, locked into high-quality graphene, and hydrogen, which can either be used immediately or stored for future use. Backed by Network Innovation funding, the project could allow National Grid to reinforce parts of the gas pipe network by using graphene as corrosionresistant internal coating, making it more able to carry increased quantities of hydrogen and less likely to crack. Reinforcing the network using graphene – a honeycomb of carbon atoms so thin it is considered two-dimensional – could increase the country’s ability to transport and access clean hydrogen, allowing existing infrastructure to be repurposed, minimising disruption and making the switch to hydrogen easier for consumers and businesses. Levidian Chief Executive John Hartley said: “Levidian’s mission is to enable a decarbonised future fuelled by hydrogen, built on graphene.


“LOOP can deliver that vision, decarbonising existing energy sources and enabling our existing network to carry hydrogen through the power of graphene. The National Grid programme will showcase LOOP in action now as we scale the technology this year and into the future.” Antony Green, Hydrogen Director at National Grid, added: “While gas will remain critical to underpinning the UK’s drive to net zero emissions, we will leave no stone unturned in terms of reducing carbon emissions while ensuring reliable supplies to consumers. “Graphene could be a key component in allowing us to repurpose our transmission assets, minimising disruption to consumers and reducing the overall


costs of converting our transmission network to hydrogen as work towards net zero.” National Grid will also be trialling LOOP’s ability to reduce the combustion CO2 potential of the nation’s gas on a larger scale. When run through the device, natural gas is replaced with a hydrogenmethane mix with no loss of energy potential. With heating, cooking and other industrial processes accounting for 37% of the UK’s CO2 emissions, the project represents a huge opportunity to make progress on National Grid’s aim of increasing the amount of hydrogen used across the country, which, in contrast to natural gas, produces only water vapour when burnt. As part of the LOOP process, the hydrogenmethane mix – produced alongside graphene –can be delivered in any proportion, including pure hydrogen, to match the capabilities of the network or combustion equipment it is supplying. The technology docks easily with existing energy infrastructure at any site in the world with a supply of natural gas, including industrial sites, large businesses, housing developments, hospitals, or waste disposal facilities. The trial follows ten years of research and development into hydrogen and graphene production from Professor Krzysztof Koziol, following the company’s spin-out from worldleading nanomaterial development labs at Cambridge University, focusing predominantly on graphene. Since December 2020, Levidian has raised over £12 million in private investment to fund the next stage of plans to revolutionise the scale and accessibility of decarbonisation, with investment led by British businessman Jamie Edmiston. Further investment rounds are planned for 2022, as LOOP devices are scaled for high-impact deployment, including on sites with large amounts of waste methane such as anaerobic digestion facilities.


I nnovate U K

£4.5M COMPETITION FUND TO UPSKILL UK’S PEMD SECTOR The UK energy industry is set to benefit from a £4.5m government investment with a new funding competition from Innovate UK.


he aim is to further develop talent pipelines across power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD) - the technology that underpins electrification. The Building Talent for the Future 2 competition will support the creation and delivery of course content and materials for skills and training across PEMD manufacturing and the wider supply chain, with grants up to £1m available to organisations within the energy sector. The competition has two stages: 1.

Organisations interested in applying for a grant valued between £50,000 and £1,000,000 were required to submit an expression of interest (EOI) by Wednesday 2 March 2022.


Upon receipt of an EOI, successful organisations will then be invited to apply for funding in March 2022.

Organisations submitting an EOI must deliver a clear game-changing intervention or address a clear industrial requirement whilst providing a long-term commitment to supporting the UK PEMD industry talent need. Organisations looking for a funding grant of less than £50,000 will not be required to submit a EOI, but will be required to submit their full proposal in March 2022. Professor Will Drury, Challenge Director for Driving the Electric Revolution, said: “If we are to meet our Net Zero commitments by 2050, industry needs to move to clean technologies and electrification. “PEMD technologies underpin electrification in all sectors and the UK is a world leader in the development of PEMD technology. But for years now we’ve lacked the skills needed to bring these ideas to reality. “Without a skilled workforce we cannot create a strong PEMD manufacturing supply chain in the UK, forcing us to import these technologies from around the world. By investing in skills, talent and training in this sector we aim to support the growth of not only the UK’s PEMD supply chains, but its people too.”


About the Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge Launched in 2019 and funded by an £80 million investment from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, run by UKRI. Working across all sectors the challenge aims to make the UK a global leader in the manufacture of core technologies which support electrification: PEMD. Without PEMD net zero is not possible and without driving the electric revolution, PEMD manufacturing will not happen at scale in the UK. About UK Research and Innovation (UKRI): UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is the largest public funder of research and innovation in the UK, with a budget of over £8bn. It is composed of seven disciplinary research councils, Innovate UK and Research England. UKRI continues to support the research and innovation community to navigate the transitions associated with the exit of the UK from the EU. See for latest updates.

INNOVATE UK organisations/innovate-uk

More details about the competition can be seen here.

Organisations looking for a funding grant of less than £50,000 will not be required to submit a EOI, but will be required to submit their full proposal in March 2022. 37


E de n U t i l i t ie s

SUSTAINABILITY IS THE WORD AT EDEN UTILITIES Take the stress out of managing your business utilities by handing them over to Eden Utilities, the energy market specialists who care.


den Utilities offer a personal and personable service for all your energy needs. Their flexible end-to-end solutions include procurement, forensic invoice validation, energy cost risk management, total cost utility management and reporting. With their special emphasis on green solutions, Eden Utilities will take care of as much or as little of your company portfolio as you want, so that you can focus on what matters most… running your business with peace of mind. For example, the team can: handle your utility procurement needs help you save money on an ongoing basis through auditing, consumption monitoring and advanced budgeting take full control of your utilities It’s entirely up to you!


CEO Mark Chipol explains, “Value and efficiency are the most important issues for companies when it comes to finding the best energy deal, but there is so much more interest now in getting the best green deals too. Sustainability is a core value for industry today – not just for our clients, but for their customers and shareholders too.” Mark adds, “Being ‘sustainable’ can seem difficult and expensive, but our support allows clients to make informed decisions about clean energy deals which are presented in a wholly transparent way. Transparency and trust are core values in everything we do. “For example, our Eden Infinity product is a circular economy solution, tailored specifically for business. It involves recycling a company’s waste and using the electricity generated from that process to supply back to the company, in effect supporting the generation of your own power in a


E den U t i li t ie s

whether it’s reducing costs, switching supplier, or simply going ‘greener’, we can definitely help.”

Being ‘sustainable’ can seem difficult and expensive, but our support allows clients to make informed decisions about clean energy deals which are presented in a wholly transparent way.

clean, environmentally friendly way, plus there’s no large investment in time and money and even no need to change your waste collector. Everything is managed for you from the signature of an electricity supply contract. “Our team is very knowledgeable about the challenges and pressures faced by our clients on a day-to-day basis. They are here to chat through your requirements and help you manage costs efficiently and effectively. Whatever your goal –

Eden Utilities tracks wholesale energy markets to ensure that energy is bought at optimum timing. “It’s a bit like buying shares. We monitor the rates to ensure that we get the best value and pricing on the market.” Mark has over 25 years of experience in the utilities industry, and founded his independent company seven years ago. The company has grown massively in that time but their ethos has never changed. “We pride ourselves on building quality relationships with every single one of our customers, who range from SMEs to leading multi-nationals. In fact, many are personal friends now, and we have got a lot of new business largely through word-of-mouth recommendations! “Most importantly, we pride ourselves on the transparency and honesty of our practices. We believe that all our clients, no matter how big or small, deserve the same quality service; essentially the concerns and requirements are the same, when to buy, how to buy, who to appoint and for how long; it’s just the consumption that’s different. Eden Utilities offers a range of services, so that you get the best price and the best value. Plus, we are definitely not a sales company, so there is no missselling risk, and any commission earned is always disclosed.”

MARK CHIPOL Managing Director Eden Utilities

Find out more at or email


E N VI RON ME N T JM W S ol ic i tors

GREENWASHING ENVIRONMENTAL CREDENTIALS Firms making ‘dodgy’ green claims could face action, warns Nick McAleenan, Partner at JMW Solicitors. “Greenwashing” is nothing new. In the 1980s and 1990s The Body Shop tapped in, very successfully, to the marketability of green consumerism. By encouraging customers to bring along their used bottles for refills, and announcing its support for various environmentally friendly campaigns, The Body Shop recognised that there was value in being seen to care about green issues and social responsibility – even if some of their products at the time were not especially sustainable.

An increase in businesses making slightly unlikely green claims has ultimately led to action by the advertising regulator. In September 2021, the Advertising Standards Authority announced that it would publish new guidance targeting misleading green adverts and tackling initiatives which encourage unsustainable behaviours. It announced research projects into carbon neutral and net zero claims.

The Green Claims Code sets out six principles for companies to ensure that claims are truthful and accurate.

NICK MCALEENAN Solicitor JMW Solicitors

They asked customers what seemed at the time to be a fairly odd question: do you need a bag? Of course you did! However, the UK’s “tax” on single use shopping bags would take many decades longer to be introduced.

Fast forward to the 2020s and COP26, and green virtue-signalling is arguably on the increase. Business is currently adapting to an evolving public concern about the environment. A global shift in societal attitudes has fed into new consumer preferences, increased political scrutiny of companies’ activities, and pressure from corporate investors. Big Business in particular has become subject to an ever-expanding range of targets, ESG considerations and environmental reporting obligations. These KPI checks have been imposed by a mix of new law, regulation and interventions from supra-national organisations. In particular, there has been a proliferation of environmental ‘disclosure’ requirements imposed on large companies.


For example, if you pay £15 to offset the impact of your globetrotting flight to Brazil, is this financial sacrifice actually an appropriate amount of money or just ‘tokenism’? The ASA intends to target specific issues, starting with claims concerning energy, heating and transport, but going on to other topics such as plastic alternatives. This focus will no doubt provide food for thought for many marketing executives, and guidance is expected in Spring 2022. Similarly, in September 2021, following an earlier investigation and consultation, the Competition and Markets Authority published a ‘Green Claims Code’. The Code sets out six principles ranging from a requirement that companies ensure that claims are truthful and accurate, through to a requirement for substantiation. The regulators clearly have the issue in their sights. Environmental activism is also evolving. Campaigners are increasingly using litigation to challenge environmentally controversial behaviour. Of course, social media has played its part in the battle for hearts and minds. Greta Thunberg has

EN V IRO N MENT JMW S olic i tors

five million followers on Twitter alone, which is roughly double the global membership of Greenpeace. Campaigners are also challenging environmental claims made in advertising. Predictably, some adverts run by airlines and car manufacturers have featured in ASA cases. However, less well known is that shale extraction sites and wind farms have also begun to come in for attention too. Global understanding and opinion have moved on since The Body Shop pioneered green consumerism many decades ago, but businesses now wishing to demonstrate their eco-credentials must keep in mind an evolving regulatory environment.


E N VI RON ME N T T he Hacke t t Gro u p

SUSTAINABILITY – THE CRITICAL FIRST STEPS As with any major initiative, setting and achieving new corporate environmental goals requires careful planning. Nicolas Walden, Senior Director at The Hackett Group, outlines the three key criteria you should consider.


ver the past year, many businesses have announced ambitious environmental goals. Unilever, Microsoft, L’Oréal and many other companies have made bold commitments to sustainability focusing on carbon emissions, waste reduction, renewable energy, single-use plastics, and more. It’s exciting, it’s uplifting, and it’s definitely the right thing to do. But unless like them you’ve already thought a lot about sustainability issues, don’t make your speech just yet.

NICHOLAS WALDEN Senior Director The Hackett Group

As a procurement advisor to the Global 1000, I have seen many companies make promises before they are truly ready to undertake the work involved. Investors, employees, and customers push them to make a commitment, their communications department comes up with an objective that sounds good, and then before they know it, they’ve made an announcement. But they weren’t really ready for their close-up. They don’t actually know what comes next. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to squander the goodwill and internal momentum such an announcement can generate. Nothing terrible happens right away, but by keeping the objective vague and distant and the measures to achieve


it scattered and non-strategic, you set yourself up for disappointment, and depending on how your communications are handled, may even damage your company’s reputation internally with idealistic employees and externally with climatefocused consumers. More importantly, without proper planning and forethought, you are unlikely to accomplish your overall goal of making the world a better place for us all to live in. The truth is that achieving success with a sustainability effort is no different than any other corporate objective. To make real progress, you must approach the challenge with sincerity, focus, and a strategic plan. First, you have to decide what aspects of sustainability you want to make your highest priority. There are many possible approaches, but to find the right one for your company, you need to consider three sets of criteria: Stakeholders. Whose expectations are you trying to satisfy? Consumers, internal staff, investors, or even regulators? Prioritise the stakeholders for your effort, and understand their expectations. Drivers. Why are you doing it? Is it for revenue growth, market share, reputation, or simply

EN V IRO N MENT T he Hacke t t Gro u p

because it’s the right thing to do? There can also certainly be more than one driver. But it pays to assess and understand them. Goals. In the context of the most invested stakeholders and these drivers, how would you define successful in terms of your sustainability program? And how will you get there?

Then, think carefully about what it will take to follow through on this programme. Make sure you have the internal support and the resources to fulfil it. If your programme involves your suppliers, be prepared to support the mentoring and educational outreach that will be necessary for you to have a genuine impact.

Achieving success with a sustainability effort is no different than any other corporate objective.

Once you have a clear understanding of all these things, you can develop a sustainability programme that resonates with your mission and your culture. There is a plethora of options to choose from. A company that produces consumer packaged goods may want to think first about recycling, while a professional services company may want to focus initially on what it can do to reduce its carbon footprint by changing its travel policies or developing a benchmark for an industry it knows well.

Finally, keep in mind that as tough as it is, it’s not impossible. Others have done it; others are doing it. As Paul Polman, the sustainability advocate and former Unilever CEO, has written, “the only impossible journey is the one you never begin.”

Nicolas Walden is a Senior Director, UK Programme Leader, Procurement and P2P Advisory for The Hackett Group, a global strategic consultancy. More information on The Hackett Group’s sourcing and procurement offerings is available here.


E N VI RON ME N T Ha r k

WILL THE CEO OF THE FUTURE MEAN CHIEF ENVIRONMENT OFFICER? Probably not, argues Hark’s Jordan Appleson, but that doesn’t mean UK workers won’t be professionally involved in improving sustainability in years to come (if not already!).




e often hear about improving energy efficiency or tackling the climate crisis for ‘the benefit of our grandchildren’. But when it comes to much younger generations, or generations which haven’t even arrived yet - what will they be doing to contribute to a greener, more sustainable world when they enter the world of work? Whilst the true answer lies decades away, we’re starting to see some interesting shifts in the way businesses are set up to be more sustainable, which could give us a clue as to the shape of ESG in the future.

The rise of the Chief Sustainability Officer? It’s no secret that businesses have begun developing their managerial structures to allow for a greater focus on sustainability - a report from Weinreb Group in 2020 stated that Fortune 500 companies hired more Chief Sustainability Officers in that year than the previous three combined, with demand up by 228% for the role. A more up-to-date litmus test (which is by no means as accurate) shows some 11,000 roles on LinkedIn with the word ‘sustainability’ in their title in the UK alone. It won’t be surprising that the vast majority of these roles aren’t in the C-suite. And nor should they be. We work with some of the leading names across retail, energy and manufacturing - in particular to improve their energy consumption measurement and efficiency of legacy assets - which means we’ve seen first-hand how sustainability and energy efficiency features in the workloads of a multitude of stakeholders.

A varied approach When looking at a recent manufacturing project, part of our remit included us helping a Finance Director encourage factory employees to make sustainability a bigger part of their day-to-day. In the Nuclear space, we have worked alongside Lead Architects and Digital Transformation Project Leaders who have various objectives such as reducing excess energy and utility bills and also tracking and tracing complex assets and systems on enormous sites. It’s clear there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach to becoming more sustainable - improvements can be made across pretty much all areas of business, and therefore should reach all areas of the workforce.

Whose responsibility is it? Ultimately, successful businesses will handle sustainability in a similar vein to how forwardthinking businesses have approached digitisation. Yes, there may be ‘Heads of Digital’ in the way we’re seeing ‘Heads of Sustainability’, but these people aren’t the difference between being a digital or sustainable business or not. Ultimately, they help guide the introduction of new technologies, processes and cultures across the estate.

JORDAN APPLESON Founder & Chief Executive Officer Hark

Most important is taking all employees on the sustainability journey together, so they have (at the very least) a strong awareness of how their work impacts energy efficiency. It’s easier to make this step than you might think it might be as simple as connecting up and getting visibility across energy consuming assets for an estate, giving almost instant clarity on where efficiencies can and should be made.

Ultimately, successful businesses will handle sustainability in a similar vein to how forward-thinking businesses have approached digitisation.


E N VI RON ME N T E nv i ronme nt B a nk

ENVIRONMENT BANK CELEBRATES NEW CREDITS SCHEME A Yorkshire-based business is seeking to restore biodiversity and create new wildlife habitats throughout the UK, with the help of its pioneering ‘Credits’ scheme.

New Environment Bank CEO James Cross with founder and chairman Professor David Hill.


EN V IRO N MENT E nv ironment B a n k


nvironment Bank has hired 20 professionals, including ecologists, marketing, operational and legal experts to work on its new product, Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) credits. This will offer developers a simple way to implement BNG and generate a guaranteed income for landowners. The aim is to unlock economic growth, while funding conservation and biodiversity projects across the UK. Housing and commercial developers, infrastructure businesses and corporates in the UK are now required by law to ensure BNG on all new projects or risk planning permission being refused. The Environment Bank’s latest recruits include CEO James Cross, formerly Chief Executive of Natural England, Ecology Director Emma Toovey, Head of Operations Dana Foster, and Commercial Director Alexis Perry.

Company founder, Professor David Hill, CBE, created the concept of biodiversity net gain in 2007 and has long campaigned for it to be mandated into planning law. This was achieved with the passing of the Environment Act last November. Prof. Hill said: “We have been waiting for this moment for many years and we are incredibly pleased and proud to see it finally become law. All credit to Defra and Natural England for ensuring its inclusion in the Act. “BNG means leaving the natural environment in a better state than before a development or infrastructure project was built. Ensuring this happens via the planning process has now been made law through the Environment Act. This presents a greater opportunity than ever before to restore nature across our country at scale. This is critical because we have seen an unprecedented 60% decline in biodiversity over the past five decades. “At Environment Bank, in anticipation of the Act we have put in place the necessary structures to allow us to deliver BNG at scale. This includes expanding our team of expert ecologists so they have a national footprint across England, strengthening our operational capabilities, and reviewing our board of directors and senior management team.” Environment Bank is currently creating its first habitat banks, tapping into thousands of hectares of land to restore wildlife habitat and support the Government’s targets for nature recovery. Founded in 2006, the Bank has evolved rapidly and seeks to be a catalyst for change in the way development is done across the UK.


CEO James Cross continued: “Having grown our team from six to 26 in the past 12 months, we are now in a prime position to help developers and corporations unlock the opportunities created through the Environment Act.” Full details at

Environment Bank is currently creating its first habitat banks, tapping into thousands of hectares of land to restore wildlife habitat and support the Government’s targets for nature recovery.


Innovative companies often have the spark but not the resources to make the leaps in technology that are so critical to creating a greener world. Thankfully grants are available to help businesses unlock that much-needed capital to get a project off the ground. Millions of pounds are being handed out to companies each year, most of it awarded by the nation’s innovation agency, Innovate UK. Since 2007, it has invested around £2.5billion to help businesses across the country, with matchfunding from industry taking the total value of projects above £4.3billion. Businesses seeking to help build a greener future are particularly in luck as the majority of grants on offer have a green dimension. That has been one of the key changes over the past decade — green technologies are at the forefront of the research & development field, a situation that’s unlikely to ever change. These environmentally-focused grants cover all sorts of sectors, from food and drink and farming through to motoring and innovation in the renewable energy sector itself.

These awards of funding are already sparking revolutions right on our doorstep from helping distilleries to decarbonise to enabling the mechanised farming of seaweed to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Smart electric vehicle charging is another area that is receiving huge support in the form of grant funding. The Government faces huge challenges in meeting its 2050 Net Zero target, as well as its Industrial Strategy, where its Four Grand Challenges focus on AI/data, an ageing society, clean growth and the future of mobility. That’s why there has never been a better time for green businesses to seek grants — they represent the official firepower being focused on these areas. Companies leading the way in improving energy efficiency, energy storage and working on heat pumps are just some of those facing huge opportunities as a result of the growing number of grants being offered.

Examples of funding New grants are announced on a regular basis, and larger funding bodies with deep pockets often administer grants in rounds, with many deadlines introduced over a matter of years. The £20m fund for the sustainable smart factory competition is one example of how grants dive into every corner of industry to drive the sustainable agenda. While this competition closed to applicants in January,

new grants are being launched all the time. Here are some you can enter right now: @Catax_UK @Catax_Group

The Heat Pump Ready Programme. This £60million fund is being rolled out to spur pioneering heat pump technologies, and closes to applications on February 15 and 22. It ties into the government’s ambitious target for the UK to be fitting 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028. It is hoped that switching to low carbon heating will cut emissions, and reduce the UK’s dependency on fossil fuels — both key to meeting the government’s 2050 net zero target.

Catax Group

No risk-service. If no grant or claim is identified, there is no charge.

The Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator has an ongoing deadline, with a maximum grant value of £1million. This fund offers grants to tech developers targeting energy and resource efficiency in industry. The support is designed to help them bring their innovations to market. Projects should work at scale. Previous recipients included a company that delivered a 70% reduction in energy use at a landfill site.

The Automotive Transformative Fund has just closed its 17th funding round, with a closing date for Round 18 due to be published in due course. The ATF is a £1billion fund designed to accelerate the UK’s switch to electric vehicles. The fund is a key cornerstone of the government’s strategy to reach net zero and provides support for investment in the key technology areas of batteries, fuel cells, motors, drives and power electronics. The fund is designed for those businesses seeking support for large scale, capitalfocused products.

The process is made simple. All we need is a couple of hours of your time, then our specialists will take care of the rest. The experts in grants services and tax relief. The team has helped over 15,000 clients receive nearly half a billion pounds back into their businesses.

How experts can help It can be a minefield sourcing the best grant funding streams and then applying, but experts can help you navigate this field and unlock the allimportant cash to set a project on its way.

Smart is Innovate UK’s ‘open grant funding’ programme. There’s no limit to how much you can be awarded from its £25million pot and there are rolling deadlines throughout the year. The criteria for this grant are tightening after the next deadline closes on 13th April as the focus shifts to exports and getting products to market quickly. But plenty of green businesses will still qualify and it’s open to any UK-registered company.

The Catax grant team will also conduct checks to ensure that you are eligible to apply and your project fits within the grant scope. This may involve a review of your finances, time-frames, internal resources, business strategy, match funding and mapping out of your technical readiness level. They may even identify the need for a project partner if you are to be in contention, all helping to craft and shape how your application will be pitched.

These are just a few of many recent grant schemes, and there will doubtless be many more opening in the coming year.

Applying may seem complicated, but having an expert by your side can help you to navigate the entire process and get your project moving.

An average of £76k back into your business

Contact us on: 0300 303 1903 email: or visit:


CAN HYDROGEN FUEL PROPEL FROM THE BACK OF THE LAB TO BECOME STAR OF THE SHOW? Toby Gill, CEO of British climate-tech company IPG, argues that a holistic approach is needed to make hydrogen the ‘fuel of the future’.


nvestment in green hydrogen production is on the rise: take the UK Government’s £10 million project to decarbonise Glasgow’s local transport, or even Iberdrola’s €2.3 billion “green steel” project. Increasingly, there is a renewed sense that Hydrogen could actually be the fuel of the future. So, with all these good news stories for the transportation and industrial sectors, what is preventing this same progress for distributed power generation, to ultimately bring about the demise of the diesel generator?

Why fossil fuels have remained dominant to date To understand more, let’s take a closer look at what the diesel generator offers. Temporarily setting aside the emissions it produces, it’s a highly useful product across a huge variety of industries, from construction and mining, providing back-up power in hospitals and data centres, or even to power electric vehicles (EVs). That’s because of its ability to provide power exactly when and where a business needs it. The large-scale investments seen in the news demonstrate a willingness to make the jump to greener energy. However, renewable fuels such as hydrogen still aren’t being adopted by businesses as a viable alternative to diesel. The reason for this is risk. Diesel is widely accessible no matter where a company is based in the world, even if geographic location affects its cost. For businesses with a job to do, a project to build, or a service to deliver, diesel is a fuel source


with as low an availability risk as there could be. The world’s largest companies can fund dedicated, renewably powered facilities and even move operations to the optimal geographic locations to do so. Last year, for instance, Amazon invested some of its $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund in Infinium, a company that uses green hydrogen to generate ultra-low-carbon fuels. Meanwhile Ikea is planning to spend £3.4 billion by 2030 to ensure its global operations use energy from available wind and solar farms, alongside funding EV charging infrastructures and hydrogen to reduce the emissions from its delivery vans. But these only represent a small fraction of enterprises that continue to burn diesel every day. Although smaller companies are willing to increase their initial outlays to minimise environmental impact, what they cannot compromise is stability. All businesses need a reliable and secure energy supply to maintain day-to-day operations – something that greener energy sources aren’t yet able to offer in the way diesel generators can. Green hydrogen, solar, and wind plants are all distributed power assets, reliant on specific conditions – such as the presence of water, sunlight or ideal weather patterns – meaning energy must be pumped in from outside industrial areas, often leading to uncertain results. Moreover, the lifetime of diesel generators spans more than a decade, which when combined with the risk of unreliable supply of alternative fuels, results in a very slow rate of change. Instead of demonising companies that continue using diesel generators when they don’t have a true alternative,


and ultimately consigning them to a transition too slow for our climate goals, now is the moment to work with these businesses to understand their pains and deliver alternative solutions that make sense for them.

Smoothing the road to hydrogen adoption Further work is needed to make hydrogen supplies secure and truly sustainable. Firstly, not all hydrogen is produced the same way. As of 2019, the majority of hydrogen was generated using fossil fuels. Grey hydrogen, for example, is created using non-renewable energy sources and gives off carbon emissions, while blue hydrogen generation captures these emissions to decrease environmental impact. Green hydrogen, as will be created by the Glasgow project, is produced using electrolysis to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, leveraging renewable energy to do so. But with so much complexity and uncertainty around the production — and therefore the secure availability — of greener fuels, investing in the infrastructure for a single fuel source presents a high risk to businesses. Companies need to be assured that they can get a long-term and reliable supply of their chosen type of hydrogen or alternative renewable fuel. Due to the diesel generator being so good at the job it was designed for, and the transition to a greener alternative such as hydrogen being a precarious decision, industries currently face a chicken-andegg scenario. Most energy providers don’t have the incentive to increase green hydrogen production when businesses aren’t ready to buy it, but without a reliable supply, business aren’t investing in power generation assets that have demand for those fuels. This will continue to undermine the progress we are making with wind, solar and energy storage. So, what can be done to further the progression towards a truly net-zero energy system for all businesses?

How can we turn aspirations into reality? Fuel agnostic generators offer a way of providing onsite, dispatchable power without the risks presented by renewable fuel supply issues, enabling

businesses to transition away from diesel sooner. These generators utilise a varying combination of fuels to produce the necessary power and switch between sources to ensure they use whichever is the most reliably available at the time – thus reducing the reliance on fossil fuels. Without this adaptability, companies will understandably continue purchasing diesel generators with the intention of running them for their lifespan, delaying the transition to more sustainable fuels for up to ten years at a time. The diesel generator has delivered a one-stop solution for companies no matter their power requirements or location. Now as the transition to a more complex and distributed energy system continues — with hydrogen, wind, solar, and other sustainable fuels — procuring a renewable power solution for business needs is also becoming increasingly complex. For example, a construction company with many sites across the UK or a delivery company with multiple depots require a solution for those cases where wind and solar are not practical or economically feasible. Because of these scenarios, committing to the removal of all diesel generators from construction sites or implementing 100% net-zero power generation isn’t possible. What fuel-agnostic generators offer therefore is another feather in companies’ cap, joining a suite of renewable energy technologies that can deliver netzero power requirements in all circumstances. Although energy security has presented challenges to the adoption of more sustainable fuels, being empowered to seamlessly change between sources will allow businesses to move forwards with their green initiatives. To deliver this vision and achieve a net-zero combination of hydrogen and other renewables as needed, there is a growing pressure for industries, energy suppliers, and technology providers to unite their efforts and help the market mature. Only then do we have all the components needed for a net-zero energy system that can provide power exactly when and where a business needs it.


Find out more about IPG’s work on flameless generator technology at



RISING TO THE CHALLENGE OF SCOPE 3 EMISSIONS The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in your value chain are often the most difficult to measure and control, but they are a crucial part of any credible net zero strategy. Phil Richards at BiU explains. UK businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of Scope 3 emissions within a net zero strategy and for setting any associated science-based targets. They are the GHGs that come from sources connected to a business, such as suppliers, service providers and distributors, rather than directly from the business itself. That’s why they’re often known as “value chain emissions”.

Why Scope 3 matters


Scope 3 emissions make up a surprisingly high percentage of total emissions for many businesses and depending on the nature of the business, are often the largest portion of the total. When food giant Kraft mapped out the sources of its own emissions, it found that over 90% of total emissions associated with the company were under Scope 3. This isn’t untypical; the best estimates place Scope 3 emissions somewhere between 80% and 97% of total emissions for a large business. So, while many businesses do focus solely on Scope 1 and 2, this means only tackling a small percentage of the emissions linked to your business. Ignoring the emissions in your scope 3 emissions and specifically your value chain means that you will never get a grip on your company’s true carbon footprint. Setting an emissions reduction target without Scope 3 also won’t meet the standards of any recognised scheme. For example, the ScienceBased Targets initiative’s new Corporate Net-Zero Standard requires participating companies to do a “complete scope 3 inventory”, to identify emissions hotspots, reduction opportunities, and areas of risk up and down the value chain. Many businesses also find that because tackling Scope 3 involves engaging more closely with your value chain, this means building stronger relationships with stakeholders and recognising opportunities to work more efficiently together, which in turn drives innovation. More and more


Phil Richards

businesses are learning that their value chain is at different stages of combatting climate change and therefore a very pragmatic approach needs to be applied for understanding Scope 3 emissions impacting their business.

Types of Scope 3 emissions The concept of the three scopes is set out in the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol, which is the internationally recognised standard for measuring greenhouse gas emissions. The GHG Protocol splits Scope 3 emissions into two broad categories: upstream (from your suppliers) and downstream (from whoever buys your company’s goods or services). These are further divided into 15 distinct categories by the GHG Protocol.

Scope 3 emissions - Upstream 1. Purchased goods and services 2. Capital goods 3. Fuel and energy use 4. Upstream transport and distribution


5. Waste generated in company operations (if you don’t own or control the waste management facilities) 6. Business travel 7. Employee commuting 8. Upstream leased assets

Scope 3 emissions - Downstream 1. Downstream transport and distribution 2. Processing of sold products 3. End-use of sold goods and services 4. Waste disposal and treatment of products 5. Downstream leased assets 6. Operation of franchises 7. Operation of investment

Measuring Scope 3 emissions: where to start First you need to identify the emissions sources in your company’s value chain, both upstream and downstream, then decide which of the 15 categories set out by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol they fall into. Then you can start measuring the energy use and calculating the associated emissions.

This high-level screening should identify which Scope 3 categories of emissions are most significant to your business operations. For example, if your company relies heavily on materials that are imported by suppliers from overseas, upstream transport and distribution may be the Scope 3 category to look at first. All this is a lot easier said than done, despite the detailed and helpful guidance from the GHG Protocol. The best way to start measuring your company’s Scope 3 emissions is to seek expert help. Experts like the team at BiU will start by mapping your company’s unique emissions profile, showing exactly where emissions are being generated in its value chain, using industry recognised guidance such as GHG protocol and sector based specific guides. Some businesses, rather than engaging outside help straight away, will do the work of gathering information and transposing it into the right format in-house, but then ask a specialist organisation to verify their calculations. The feedback given by this process is particularly valuable if you’re concerned you may have fallen into bad practices or if a reporting requirement is new to your business. If you’d like advice on reporting and reducing your Scope 3 emissions, get in touch with BiU on



U n i ve rs i t y o f Ma nches ter

NET ZERO: RECOGNISING THE CHALLENGES AHEAD Professor Jovica V. Milanovic, of the University of Manchester, discusses the balances to be struck (and the trade-offs to be made) in the pursuit of net zero.



Universi t y o f Manche ste r


he term ‘net zero’ has been on the lips of many a climate expert, politician, or sustainability advocate for some time now, and occupied much of the agenda at COP26. Striving for such a goal will be crucial in minimising rises in global temperature in the decades to come, and ensuring our planet is safe for future generations to inhabit. The discourse around net zero is often punctuated by grand gestures, heady promises, and bold statements about how we can and should reach it. It is hugely encouraging in many respects to see such commitment to a singular aim, but it’s also important that we take a step back and consider the ins and outs of what needs to be done to make net zero a reality. The truth that we must face is that net zero will come at a substantial financial cost to governments, businesses, and public sector organisations. There will also be a significant burden for the general public to bear, whether through higher taxes, more expensive vehicles, or the inconvenience of having to change, to an extent, their ways of life.

COP26 as a “good start”. Ulka Kelkar, an economist heading the Indian climate programme for the World Resources Institute think tank, was effusive when describing India’s net-zero pledge, saying it was “much more than we were expecting to hear”.2 Net zero is clearly a great ideal to aim for in principle, but there are a multitude of requirements to be met for it to be truly realistic.

Making international collaboration work Reaching net zero on a global scale means getting governments, businesses, and other institutions onto the same page. On a planet of close to eight billion people and with a plethora of different challenges facing each country, this is much easier said than done. For example, nations such as China rely much more heavily on fossil fuels, such as coal, to meet their vast energy demands, and will be reluctant to give up this abundant and locally available resource, even under pressure from the international community.

In the broadest terms, net zero refers to when a business, country or the entire planet isn’t adding to the amount of greenhouse gases currently in the atmosphere.

There are many balances to be struck and tradeoffs to be made in the pursuit of net zero, and it can only be reached if we all understand and are prepared for these.

Net zero: the principle In order to illustrate the work that needs to be done, we should establish exactly what net zero means. In the broadest terms, net zero refers to when a business, country or the entire planet isn’t adding to the amount of greenhouse gases currently in the atmosphere. This means reducing emissions as much as possible, while offsetting any remaining emissions and cutting down on practices such as deforestation.1 More than 130 countries around the world have pledged to reach net zero by 2050, with the movement given renewed impetus by discussions at COP26. Russia, meanwhile, has said it will achieve the goal by 2060, while India has stipulated a date of 2070. China has asserted that it will reach ‘carbon neutrality’ by 2060. These promises have been met with optimism by some experts: Tim Lenton, head of the Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter, described methane reduction targets outlined at

There is also the problem of governments making unrealistic or outlandish promises that they are either unable or unwilling to keep. For countries to collaborate effectively, it is crucial that they hold each other to account on the promises they make, and steer away from performative statements that do little to support the long-term net zero goal. It is a complex, labyrinthine challenge, but one to which we must all commit.

The everyday impact Achieving net zero means spending money on the grandest of scales, in order to develop and implement climate-friendly technologies and bring them into the mainstream. While much of this financial outlay will rest with businesses and governments, it is inevitable that a large proportion of this, in one form or the other, will be passed down to the general public.

PROF. MILANOVIC Electrical Power Engineering Unviersity of Manchester

BIOG Prof. Milanovic is Professor of Electrical Power Engineering at the University of Manchester, Fellow of the IEEE and former member of the Governing Board of the IEEE Power & Energy Society.

This can be seen in new schemes encouraging people to purchase electric vehicles or replace their gas boilers with heat pumps, both of which are prohibitively expensive for the vast majority even with existing government subsidies in place. Net zero will also likely mean more expensive bills, food, goods, and travel, estimated by the National Infrastructure Commission to cost families up



U n i ve rs i t y o f Ma nches ter

to £400 extra per year.3 If these rises are to be accepted, governments must work closely with citizens to gauge their opinion on the necessary changes to be made and ensure the benefits are clearly always articulated to them so that no one is left behind. Ambitious net-zero targets can only be achieved with widespread public support.

Further, there is an urgent requirement to accelerate the rate at which low- and zero-carbon technology is developing. Recent breakthroughs in battery storage energy systems (BESS) and hydrogen are encouraging7 but this progress needs to be accelerated where possible. The aforementioned need to recruit more people into technical roles will play into this.

Technology limitations

Perhaps most crucially of all, those driving net zero initiatives need to win the hearts and minds of the general public. Hence the need for social science and public engagement experts. This means governments, energy firms and other companies figuring out how the poorest and the most vulnerable in society can be supported in a world of higher bills and empowered to embrace zero-carbon alternatives in their everyday lives, so that no one is left behind. Expanding the UK’s Renewable Heat Incentive8 could be one of the ways of moving towards this.

Renewable energy technologies have come a long way in recent decades. The UK’s progress in this area is strong evidence of this, with renewables accounting for 43% of the country’s domestic power generation in 2020, a contribution which has more than doubled since 2014.4



2. articles/d41586-021-03034-z

3. article/bills-set-to-rise-by400-a-year-to-cover-cost-ofnet-zero-target-tlfkjcw5q

4. platts/en/market-insights/ latest-news/energytransition/100421-uk-targetspower-from-100-renewablesources-by-2035

5. articles/nuclear-power-mostreliable-energy-source-andits-not-even-close

6. electric-car-uk-climatechange-chargers-crucial-tobritain-going-green-but-lackof-planning-worrying-1283006

7. news/huge-achievement-as50mw-battery-system-is-firstto-export-to-uk-grid-fromtertiary-connection/

8. domestic-renewable-heatincentive


However, the fact remains that renewable sources still don’t offer the reliability that many non-renewable sources do. The potential of wind or solar power, for example, is blunted during prolonged periods of unfavourable weather. In contrast, a carbon-free yet non-renewable source such as nuclear offers a far higher capacity factor5, which suggests it should form an important pillar of global energy infrastructure in the years to come. Other technologies designed to aid the shift to net zero are also some ways from maturity. Battery storage, a fairly mature, and hydrogen, a fairly new energy storage technology, have immense potential to offset the use of fossil fuel power generation and increase availability (and such ultimately efficiency) of weather dependent renewable power generation, such as wind and solar. They are though still facing some challenges both technological and related to application at the power system level. Electric cars are also rapidly growing in sophistication, but the charging infrastructure needed to make them fully viable still lags behind.6

Conclusion: a marriage of ambition and realism The net zero goal is a noble one, and recent pledges by world leaders have certainly imbued the cause with a renewed sense of optimism. The most important thing of all though, is to be realistic in what we can achieve in the short, medium, and long-term future. If achievable targets are set, the right financial investments are made, and the most disadvantaged people are not made to suffer, there is every chance our efforts will be successful, and the society at large will fully support a transition to net-zero. people are not made to suffer, there is every chance our efforts will be successful, and the society at large will fully support a transition to net-zero.

Making the net zero dream a reality With all of the above in mind, it is now important to establish exactly what else needs to be done by all stakeholders in order to fulfil their net zero promises. The first element is the need to carry out massive recruitment drives to increase the number of people in climate-focused technical and social roles. Technology is the turbine that will drive the net-zero juggernaut for the decades to come, so governments, businesses and other interest groups need to do everything in their power to attract people with the requisite technical skills, such as IT, data analytics, cybersecurity, and engineering. Similarly, social science and public engagement experts are needed to help with understanding and acceptability of the necessity of transition by the society at large. These people also need to be rapidly brought up to speed with the unique challenges of the sector, and ensure they are incentivised to remain in net zero-focused roles.

Renewable energy technologies have come a long way in recent decades.

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