COP26NW Power to The People: Enabling A Smart Energy Transition - Materials Roundup

As global leaders gathered at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference, COP26NW Power to The People: Enabling A Smart Energy Transition saw regional leaders examine the future for energy production and use in the North West.

Business representatives, academics and public sector leaders came together at the Mayfield Depot in Manchester to outline the low carbon innovations happening in Materials Science within the region. Panels at the event presented a range of solutions the North West will use to lead the charge to smart energy and sustainable power, influencing the lives of more than 7.3 million of its citizens and many more around the world.

Matters relevant to Materials Science covered at COP26NW included the following:

Event Introduction

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, cited his “ambitious science-based goal of a net-zero Manchester by 2038” in the introduction for the event. This statement opened the floor for discussion by public sector leaders around the net-zero targets and scientific developments at regional levels in Liverpool, Lancashire, Cumbria, Cheshire and Warrington. The panel considered many of the big questions asked by Materials Science around the built environment and transport, smart energy, and future sources of sustainable fuel and electricity, notably addressing what these global concerns mean to to local communities.

‘Power to the People: Leading the Change’ and ‘Charging Ahead: The Future for Net Zero Carbon’ Panels

Sarah Kemp, Chief Executive Officer of the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership and Miranda Barker, Chief Executive Officer of the East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, presented the work of the RedCAT scheme. RedCAT facilitates R&D support in the region in order to accelerate the commercialisation of low carbon technologies including EV Batteries, Waste to Energy and Packaging Tech projects.

‘Smart and Resilient Buildings for a Net Zero Future’ panel

Alex McDermott,  co-founder and managing director of Nationwide Engineering, detailed the joint work of the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre and Nationwide Engineering to bring graphene enhanced Concretene to the construction sector. Alex cited that the Concretene drop at the Mayfield Depot alone provided a CO2 saving of more than 4.5 tonnes, and that the Concretene technology is a material innovation with the potential “to save more CO2 than a small country”.

You can read about the Royce Institute’s vision for how materials science and innovation will help the UK achieve net-zero in our joint report with IOM3 (Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining) here.