Innovative plans to create a global centre of excellence for hydrogen transport technology is the cornerstone of a £9 million bid for government funding by Adur District Council.
Keen to kickstart growth in the local economy post-lockdown, the Council has teamed up with Shoreham Port and international engineering firm Ricardo to pitch for vital investment to boost sustainable growth in its communities.
The Levelling Up bid, which is focused on the creation, storage and commercial use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel, would deliver clear economic and environmental benefits to the area – creating and securing 270 jobs, developing world-class training opportunities for local people, reducing carbon emissions and contributing £2 million a year to the local economy.
It would also further develop Adur’s reputation as a centre for industry and technology, placing the area at the front of the UK-wide drive for sustainable energy alternatives.
With support from local MP Tim Loughton, businesses and regional bodies, such as Greater Brighton, the Council called on government ministers to back the vision and help promote green growth in the south east.
Cllr Neil Parkin, Leader of Adur District Council, said: “I’m delighted we have submitted this bold, ambitious and forward-thinking proposal to the government for much-needed investment into our area.
“This bid builds on Adur’s fantastic track record for innovation and could establish our communities as a global centre for hydrogen, which is at the heart of the government’s plans for a green industrial revolution.
“The benefits to our local residents will be sizeable, creating more jobs, boosting salaries and giving local people training opportunities in a new sector. This is in addition to the environmental boost to our communities, helping reduce air pollution and our carbon footprint.
“I hope the government takes note of our bid and has confidence that we will deliver everything we promise, if successful.”
The bid to the government recognises that Adur has enormous potential when it comes to developing hydrogen due to its strong industrial base and sunny coastal climate.
It also acknowledges that Adur residents have lower wage levels than other areas of Sussex and the south east while there was a need to ensure the local workforce had the skills and qualifications to support its growing technology companies.
If successful, the funding would support the design and building of a Hydrogen Centre of Excellence which would be a world-class centre for advancing research into the emerging green technology.
This would prove pivotal in the development of a hydrogen fuel cell locally, making it easier and cheaper to convert buses and other fleet vehicles to run off more sustainable energy sources.
The Council would also work with local partners, such as Shoreham Port, to develop a Green Energy Hub which would use onshore wind turbines to help manufacture hydrogen as an alternative fuel.
The government will now assess bids for the £4.8 billion fund before making decisions in autumn.
Steve Dyke, Managing Director of Ricardo’s Automotive and Industrial business across EMEA commented: “Ricardo is delighted to be supporting Adur District Council in this important bid to government which will boost local economic growth, further enhance the region’s leadership in green and sustainable mobility technology, and deliver improved environmental impact for the local community.
“Ricardo is already working with a range of clients on hydrogen and fuel cell technology, providing clean efficient solutions which reduce carbon and noxious emissions across a wide range of sectors.
“We are investing several millions of pounds in a hydrogen development and test facility at our Shoreham Technical Centre in West Sussex.
“Our plan is to grow a globally recognised centre of excellence for hydrogen, defossilised fuels and electrified mobility engineering in the south-east of the UK. It is important to us that we play an active part in helping to establish not only our region but also the whole UK as a world leader in decarbonised energy and mobility engineering.”