Derby ‘delight’ at business backing for future fuels ambitions

Council leaders say they are “delighted” with the support they are receiving from the business community after setting out Derby’s ambition to become the UK’s leading centre for future fuels technology.

The city council announced in October that it wanted to use Derby’s advanced manufacturing expertise to revolutionise the way low-carbon energy is used to power businesses, transport and homes.

It believes Derby’s high-tech businesses are ideally placed to develop the equipment and infrastructure that will allow communities to generate low-carbon power and to capture and store by-product or waste energy.

They say the plan will create new jobs, reduce energy costs for domestic and commercial customers, assist with UK energy security and help with diversification of the economy and decarbonisation goals.

The proposals have been well-received by the business and academic communities and more than 80 companies and organisations are now working with the authority to develop its thinking.

Arup, a global firm of designers, planners, engineers, architects, consultants and technical specialists, has been commissioned to conduct a study into the potential of hydrogen as part of the future fuel landscape in the region.

They have carried out workshops with local stakeholders to assess the opportunities for hydrogen production, storage and transfer to unlock new and existing sites in the area, including its application to industry; the use of hydrogen to decarbonise heating; transformation of the transport sector and the skills and research that will be required and job opportunities created to make this a reality.

City council leader Councillor Chris Poulter said the city’s strengths in engineering and innovation meant it was uniquely placed to lead on developing the technology that would enable widespread use of future fuels.

Energy sources being considered include renewables, advanced micro nuclear, advanced gas, friction, batteries and hydrogen.

Poulter added: “Derby already has the research, development and manufacturing skills to make and deliver market-ready products for the integration of future fuels into an energy system and it has been deeply rewarding to receive so much interest from potential partners to help move this exciting initiative forward.

“Our ambition is for Derby to showcase future developments in transport, commercial and domestic energy systems, maximising local low-carbon power generation, capturing and using by-product energy and reducing energy waste. The support we have received so far gives us great hope that these ambitions can be realised.”

Arup has been leading work on the potential for hydrogen to contribute to the decarbonisation of Derby and the wider D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership Area.

Arup’s project director, Vicky Evans said: “We are excited to be a part of shaping the future fuels ambitions for the Derby region and to help make a transformational step change in the region’s future energy systems.

“Over the past month, we have enjoyed curating several inspiring conversations with Derby City Council and regional stakeholders, who are aligning to collaborate and reap the potential benefits of a low carbon and hydrogen economy.

“We have had over 80 stakeholders engage with us over the past month, including Toyota, Uniper, Cadent, ITM Power, D2N2 LEP, as well as our world class universities. I look forward to working with Derby City Council and stakeholders on the next steps, which includes identification and assessment of potential projects and a clear roadmap to help bring these to fruition.”