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Bristol – a technology hub Scratch away the surface and you find a deep well of technological brilliance lurking within Bristol, as Caroline Macdonald discovers.

A new mode of urban transport

I

f you have been to Heathrow’s T5 the chances are

you have probably used one of Ultra Global PRT’s electric driverless pods. Up to 800 passengers per day use each pod, helping to reduce congestion, speed up connections and minimise transit environmental impact. Based in Aztec West, Ultra Global PRT was the brainchild of Professor Martin Lowson of Bristol University who, in 1995, sought to address the travel needs of cities, such as Bristol, with a 21st century solution. The technology uses proven ‘off-the-shelf’ automotive industrial components with batteries: the magic lies in integrating how the vehicle’s controls works with the central control software as an overall system. The result is a mode of transport that has 50 per cent CO2 savings over buses and 70 per cent over cars, with minimal noise and pollution. What's more it’s tracks, or guideways, are lightweight and can be easily retrofitted into an urban traffic system. If Bristol can’t have a tram, then perhaps a system like this could run between Temple Meads and the central bus station? ■

Solar metrics

D

espite the fall in Feed-in-Tariffs (FiTs), solar

power remains part of our energy mix. Many new-builds, both residential and commercial, are integrating solar as part of the design process, whilst retrofitting continues to upgrade existing buildings. For many householders who have solar panels installed, it’s not easy to know how much energy they are producing, using and exporting back to the grid. Clean Energy Prospector (CEPRO), a new company from Easton, has developed Simtricity, the first Ofgem-approved meter to measure self-consumption. It also incorporates wi-fi enabling links with online comparison sites and analytics tools that can help users decide whether to switch energy providers or install energy efficiency measures. Damon Rand, co-founder of CEPRO, says: “More than 500,000 homes in the UK have already installed solar with many more planned, and unsubsidised solar power is on track to be as affordable as mains electricity within just a few years. By supporting organisations and individuals from outside the solar industry to manage the rollout process and understand the benefits that come from it Simtricity is help to drive the growth of solar in the UK” ■

Water of life

H

ave you ever wondered how much water

goes into producing our food? A neat footprint calculator has been developed by the team at Sustain Ltd, the Baldwin Street-based sustainability company, that allows you to do just that. As yet, the cost of water is generally not taken into account when pricing food items. However, in countries where water shortage is a real problem and is sometimes seen as an alternative currency, the use of water has a significant local impact. Africa and parts of Asia (global suppliers to the food market) are now beginning to understand the demand on water as a resource. Jean-Yves Cherruault, manager at Sustain, says: “Water looks set to become the next big thing after energy supply in terms of the scarcity debate. Our clients in the food sector have found that our footprint calculator has been effective in providing information and interpretation of data about the environmental impact of water on their business.” www.cleanenergyprospector.com www.sustain.co.uk www.ultraglobalprt.com ■

If you have an interesting technology that you would like to see featured in Good Bristol, please email caroline@oggadoon.co.uk, tweet @OggaDoon or visit www.oggadoon.co.uk

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summer 2014

Good Bristol Magazine Issue 2  
Good Bristol Magazine Issue 2  
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