The past year has seen considerable central and regional funding directed towards activities and technologies which will reduce UK vehicle CO2 emissions. Continuing the recent trend towards 'industrial activism', this funding is increasingly aimed at deploying low carbon vehicles and infrastructure across the UK.
Hydrogen/petrol-fuelled Ford Transit converted by Revolve Technologies in Essex (Source: Cenex)
In February 2010, the Midlands became a UK Low Carbon Economic Area (LCEA) for Advanced Automotive Engineering. Part of the UK?s Low Carbon Industrial Strategy, Low Carbon Economic Areas are aimed at accelerating low carbon economic activity in areas where Britain?s existing geographic and industrial assets give a location clear strengths. The Midlands LCEA will direct £19 million of government funding into low carbon vehicle R&D. In July 2009, the North East became the UK?s first LCEA specialising in ultra low carbon vehicles.
Although much of the activity is related to the electrification of road transport, South Wales and the South West were recently awarded low carbon status for hydrogen energy, with £6.3 million of funding directed through the University of Glamorgan. A core element of the activity is aimed at establishing the M4 as a ?hydrogen highway?. Vehicle deployments are also underway on the Technology Strategy Board/Department for Transport £25 million Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator programme, which will deploy around 350 vehicles in real-world trials across eight regional hubs over the coming 18 months.
The Low Carbon KTN is working with the Technology Strategy Board to bring these low carbon initiatives to fruition. In February the Technology Strategy Board, in conjunction with the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, launched Competition 4 of its Integrated Delivery Programme. Worth up to £19 million, the competition focuses on vehicle-centric projects which demonstrate significant CO2 improvement through the development of the UK automotive supply chain capability.
The Low Carbon KTN worked with the Technology Strategy Board, together with SMMT Foresight Vehicle and the IOM3 (Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining Automotive division) to organise a one-day seminar and consortium-building workshop entitled ?Low Carbon Vehicle Technologies and Supply Chain Development?. 164 people from 131 companies participated in the event on 4 February 2010 at the International Digital Laboratory & International Manufacturing Centre, Warwick University, Coventry. The objective of the seminar was to stimulate innovative research projects and consortia to address this need, delivering vehicle-centric technologies for ultra low carbon vehicle applications.
The smart ed electric vehicle, which is currently on a 100-vehicle trial in the UK supported by Cenex, is powered by an electric drive developed and fitted by West Midlands-based Zytek (Source: Cenex)
The first session on direction and funding included presentations by John Laughlin of the Technology Strategy Board on the Integrated Delivery Programme 4th call; ?Technology Requirements for Ultra Low Carbon Vehicles? by Dave Greenwood of Ricardo; and the ?Low Carbon Vehicle Technology Project? from John O?Connor of Warwick University.
Speed networking at February Low Carbon Vehicle Technologies and Supply Chain Development event
The second session addressed supply chain research opportunities in the fields of engine technology, energy storage, lightweight structures and power electronics. There were presentations by Steve Richardson of Jaguar Land Rover, Andy Scarisbrick of Ford, Chris Greenwood of Torotrack, Mark Preston from Formtech Composites and Phil Mawby from Warwick University. Finally, Robin Haycock made a presentation on OLEV and the government vision for ultra low carbon vehicles.
The afternoon sessions were oriented towards showcasing technology opportunities. There were 10 very stimulating showcase presentations from specialised organisations that are looking to participate in collaborative research about low carbon opportunities. This session was oversubscribed with many organisations wanting to present. ?Five-minute power presentations were useful catalysts,? commented R Bruges of Unipart Logistics.
Finally, a ?speed-networking? session was organised for delegates to meet with the showcase presenters and thus to encourage consortia to come together. ?Speed dating is a great idea? commented Louise Mothersole of Qinetiq.
Very positive feedback was received about the low carbon event and included the following comments from delegates:
?It is always interesting to get a wider understanding of where companies see future technologies heading.?
Andy Dickinson, Controlled Powertrain Technologies Ltd.
?Very good mix of technology and business.?
K J Hammett, Welsh Government.
?Same high standard of event.?
Tony Spillane, SAIC Motor UK Technical Centre Limited.
?Good snappy presentations and good contacts made.?
Robin Paling, Freescale.
Responses from several delegates indicated that a focus on low carbon commercial vehicles and buses would be valuable for a future event. Presentations from the event are available on the Low Carbon KTN website, www.lowcarbonktn.org.uk.
The Low Carbon KTN is managed by Cenex, the UK?s first national centre of excellent for low carbon and fuel-cell technologies. Cenex works with SMMT Foresight Vehicle to deliver the Low Carbon KTN.
Tel: +44 (0) 1455 292455
Added the 19 April 2010 in category Innovation UK Vol6-1