Bee Net Zero

Energy Innovation Agency discuss Green Transport Solutions at Green Transition: Sustainable Transport for a Better Future

  • Thursday, November 16, 2023
  • Posted By The Growth Company

On Wednesday 15 November 2023, Bee Net Zero partner The Energy Innovation Agency attended “Green Transition: Sustainable Transport for a Better Future” a conference held by The Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the UK.

Taking place at the University of Salford and hosted by the University of Salford Business School, the conference gave Greater Manchester organisations the chance to discuss the future of green transition in the transport industry with a focus on sustainable transport and decarbonisation within the sector.

The audience was able to learn about new opportunities and good practices promoted in the North of England such as Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2038.

The evening began with a welcome speech by Dr Giulia Sirigu, Head of the North-West Office at The Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the UK and Matteo Corradini, Consul of Italy in Manchester.

Then representatives from Salford Business School gave an overview of the support they offer to businesses through their Business Innovation Service. The School will partner with businesses to develop innovative solutions, take new products to market, and utilise specialist knowledge to become more sustainable, efficient and profitable.

Then, Dr Graeme Sherriff, Co-Director of the Sustainable Housing and Urban Studies at the University of Salford, gave an overview of his research into eScooters and what his findings can tell us about transport as a whole. Based on Salford’s trial with Lime Scooters, Graeme Sherriff’s research looked at the motivations for and against using the scooters as well as the transport system as a whole.

On the success of Salford’s eScooter trial, he said “In Salford, there have been 850,000 trips on eScooters over 100,000 users covering 900 miles in total which show it has been heavily used. 49% of people surveyed replaced a trip by car or taxi with an e-scooter throughout the trial”

Reasons, why the transport method has been identified as successful, were the value and less worry involved in shared transport systems, accessibility for people who struggle to walk far, a feeling of safety as people can move around quickly, particularly on dark nights and their usefulness for shift workers, as they offer a round the clock service when public transport doesn’t, reducing the need for costly taxis.

He said “You have to consider the different social groups when designing transport infrastructure, not just age but gender, ability and other factors.

“We also have to think about the concerns people have about e-scooters. We don’t want a world where we allow people to use e-scooters in a way that puts people off using our pavements. Fundamentally it comes down to the challenges of sharing space.” 

Then it was time for a panel session which featured Tony Prescott and Rosie Prescott from GTS Logistics, Paolo Vota Finance Director at Iveco UK & ROI and Kevin Aisbitt, Innovation Project Manager at the Energy Innovation Agency.

GTS Logistics specialise in sustainable logistics through rail, they have a mission to help what they call a dirty industry, to become cleaner and greener, reducing its impact on the planet.

Discussing the role of logistics providers in the decarbonisation challenge, Tony Prescott said:One of our objectives is to change mindsets. We’re trying to encourage more businesses to take up more sustainable modes of freight. How are we going to save the planet? Collaboration, it’s very simple.   

One of the key things we can offer is switching from road to rail. We operate 5,000 trains a year bringing products from Italy into the UK. Road to rail reduces CO2 emissions by 75% and each train we operate takes 33 trucks off the road, so why aren’t we doing it more?”

Paulo Vota of Iveco Ltd then discussed alternative fuels that businesses can adopt to reduce their carbon emissions through transport. These included bio-methane, liquefied natural gas, battery electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles, taking the audience through the advantages and challenges that come with each fuel.

He said “We will not focus on a single technology to replace diesel not only for technical reasons but because of the urgent need to make an impact now. We need to reduce dependency on a single source.”

Then, Kevin Aisbitt gave an overview of The Energy Innovation Agency and the work it is doing to deploy low-carbon innovations across Greater Manchester. As a Bee Net Zero partner, the agency works with innovators to create dynamic solutions to the challenges that come with climate change, particularly through the built environment and transport. The agency works to bring solutions to market, connecting them with end users across Greater Manchester to help us reach our target of becoming carbon neutral by 2038.

On transport, Kevin explained that the agency is looking at digital solutions to improve the efficiency of transport and improve the performance of existing infrastructure, an example he gave is adding solar panels to car parks.

Kevin Aisbitt said, “The challenge of the agency is how can we get the innovators we’re working with into the ecosystem to help Greater Manchester to achieve our target of being net zero by 2038.

By 2040 50% of all journeys will be made by walking, cycling and public transport. Innovation can make the planning of the journey easier and make sure the technology we’re deploying is doing what it’s supposed to do.

Innovations are emerging, it doesn’t matter the technology-readiness level as there are a lot of early adopter conversations to be had, we have the networks to have these conversations. We’re trying to help innovators access the market and get that innovation deployed as quickly as possible, to get end users to deploy and get commercial benefit to innovators as quickly as possible.”

The session was followed by networking and discussions around sustainable transport, in hopes of encouraging take up across the region.

To learn more about how your business can adopt sustainable transport, such as switching to EVs, and the benefits it can bring, contact the Bee Net Zero partnership.