Greening the Black Country

The Black Country is taking a significant step to becoming a leader in the drive to de-carbonise the nation’s industrial sector.

Greening the Black Country background

By establishing four zero-carbon industrial hubs in the region, the RtBC aims to generate 1.3 million tonnes in carbon dioxide-equivalent savings over the next decade. These hubs will use local resources, including commercial waste, renewable energy, and electricity generated from hydrogen, to deliver zero-carbon electricity and heat to local businesses via small-scale power stations located on brownfield sites, providing new opportunities in the circular economy and helping to support resource efficiency initiatives in business and manufacturing operations.

Led by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, the RtBC is a public-private partnership that includes local businesses Pro Enviro, Kew Technology, and CR Plus, experts from the University of Birmingham and the University of Warwick, and companies specialising in urban agriculture (District Eating) and energy investment (M3MAS).

The project “recognises the potential leadership role the Black Country can take in de-carbonising the UK’s industrial sector,” says Nersi Salehi, CEO of Pro Enviro, a specialist energy engineering, carbon abatement, and process optimisation consultancy, with over 30 years’ experience working with organisations in energy intensive sectors.

“It will make the region one of the most attractive places in the world to invest in manufacturing by ensuing local companies have access to inexpensive, low- or zero-carbon power.”

He continues, this will mean lower energy bills for companies and a lower carbon footprint for the region, as well as providing commercial opportunities for local businesses. “All of which will be good news for the economy of the Black Country.”

The region, named in the mid-nineteenth century for the smoke from the thousands of ironworking foundries and forges in the area plus the working of shallow and thick coal seams, played a leading role in the industrial revolution.

Today, the industrial landscape of the Black Country comprises more than 3,000 smaller and medium-sized energy-intensive manufacturing businesses, including engineering and metal forming companies that fabricate components mainly for the automotive and aerospace industries.

These same industrial processes, notes Salehi, are essential components of developing the “brave new world of zero-carbon technologies and will help position the Black Country at the heart of the ‘green’ industrial revolution.”

By providing companies with access to a team of specialists who can assist them with developing low- and zero-carbon strategies, he says RtBC will help deliver clean and cost-effective growth for the region.

According to Salehi, the RtBC has recently identified the locations for the four zero-carbon power hubs. Pro Enviro is now busy developing a virtual zero-carbon hub, which, he says, will be a “knowledge management platform to showcase the latest low- and zero-carbon technologies to help companies transition towards de-carbonisation.”

For businesses interested in hearing more about the RtBC, visit Pro Enviro’s website (www.proenviro.com) or email Nersi Salehi at nersi.salehi@proenviro.co.uk.