On the 7th of June 2021, the Cross-Sector Battery Systems and the Hydrogen Economy Innovation Networks brought their communities together for the first time in a joint webinar and workshop for Off-Highway applications. Following this successful event, we are delighted to share with you the key highlights from this event.

The webinar explored Zero Carbon Off-Highway solutions in the Construction, Defence and Agriculture sectors. Following an introduction from Steffan Eldred and Nikoleta Piperidou of KTN on the aims of the two Innovation Networks and information on how to get involved, participants heard from Shamal Mohammed of the Agri-EPI Centre about the carbon emissions of the agriculture sector and how hydrogen and batteries can support in decreasing these. Andrea Davidson and Neil Wait of HS2, Robert Lockwood of SCS Railways, and Bekir Andrews of Balfour Beatty highlighted the challenges that the construction sector is facing, and presented case studies on how innovation is contributing to the sector’s decarbonisation efforts. Darren Browning of DSTL summarised the key technical challenges for the defence sector, and drew attention to the requirements for military applications.

The presentations were followed by innovative companies who had an opportunity to pitch their solutions; these were: Arcola Energy, Hyperdrive Innovation, NanoSUN, PUNCH Flybrid, and BMZ Innovation.

If you’ve missed the webinar, click here to watch the recording.

In the second part of the event, a smaller group of the participants came together for an interactive workshop. Jon Regnart presented APC’s Off-Highway and Heavy Duty Technology Roadmap, and David Trimble of Terex gave an OEM perspective on the challenges for adopting innovative technologies in off-highway vehicles and machinery. Participants were then split into 4 breakout groups to identify the technical and non-technical challenges, map out the innovation activity and list the remaining gaps.

Following the workshop, the team analysed the input from those who took part in the discussions and created a brief summary of the participants’ input. You can find a summary of the discussions along with the list of participating organisations here for your perusal.

High level observations:

  • The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has recently published a new Climate Change and Sustainability Strategic Approach which aims to set out the ambitions for the UK Defence sector to meet the climate change challenges.
  • Front-line Commands used 666 million litres of fuel in 2018-19, equating to 1.8 million tonnes of carbon equivalent greenhouse gas emissions (approximately equivalent to emissions from 200,000 homes for a year).
  • The Defence sector leads many different programmes; linkage is required across programmes and innovation centres (Army, Airforce and Navy)
  • The agricultural sector produces 10% of UK’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.
  • However, farms could play a key role in the generation, storage and supply of renewable electricity and fuel in rural areas, as well as supplying decentralised power networks.
  • Regarding farm machinery, manufacturers are gradually introducing electric, biogas, hydrogen fuelled or hybrid tractors and farm vehicles.
  • The construction industry represents another 10% of UK carbon emissions and directly influences 47% of all national emissions.
  • Main Contractors can play a vital role in the transition to a low carbon future as they can drive change in partnership with their supply chains and clients.
  • Batteries and hydrogen can help decarbonise the Defence, Construction and Agricultural sectors; however, further innovation is required in areas such as next-generation batteries, hydrogen storage and transportation, and non-technical challenges such as regulations, standards and new business models need to be addressed.

If you would like to be informed about future activities, you can sign up to the Cross-Sector Battery Systems Innovation Network here and to the Hydrogen Economy Innovation Network here.

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