“Challenges Drive Change”: Key moments from an event showcasing transformative innovations

Wales has committed to decarbonising its public sector by 2030, but this ambitious goal can only be reached by taking courageous steps. Accelerating decarbonisation is a priority area for the Cardiff Capital Region Challenge Fund, and since 2021 we’ve supported several challenges that are pushing forward the transition to zero emissions for local authority vehicle fleets.

On the 7th of June, our event focusing on decarbonisation projects, “Challenges Drive Change”, was hosted successfully by CCR Energy at Aberthaw Power Station. It brought together public and third sector professionals from the Cardiff Capital Region whose work or interests are directly involved in carbon reduction.

As attendees arrived, they were greeted by the imposing sight of the former coal-fired power station that was once emblematic for fossil fuel energy in Wales. The event opened with an address from CCR Director Kellie Beirne, who reiterated the organisation’s commitment to investing in decarbonisation initiatives. Four compelling presentations followed, showcasing the real-life impact and scalable potential of our Net Zero fleet challenges.

The Welsh Automotive Forum discussed their feasibility study evaluating the potential for repowering buses and coaches across Wales. Following this, a presentation on the Monmouthshire County Council and Vantastec Ltd collaboration highlighted the groundbreaking vehicle developed by the company, which relies entirely on hydrogen fuel cells for its auxiliary equipment, increasing the range of the vehicle.

After a break, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council and Evolt Charging shared their work on a smart charging system for electric vehicles at council depots. Lastly, Caerphilly County Borough Council and Optrak Distribution Software Ltd showcased the development of a tailored software solution for the local authority’s management of electric vehicles and charging locations.

During the lunch break as well as after the sessions ended, attendees had the opportunity for one-on-one chats with challenge solution providers at their presentation booths. A prototype of the Meals on Wheels vehicle with hydrogen-powered auxiliary equipment developed by Vantastec was also available for viewing at the front of the building.

Attendees expressed hopes that the exchange of ideas would accelerate the implementation of low carbon initiatives.

The event underlined the need for innovation in approaching decarbonisation in the public sector, and the potential for scaling up solutions in the region. If we are to mitigate environmental damage and create a more sustainable Wales, we must learn from one another

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