INNOVATION FROM ARAMCO – One of the world’s largest integrated energy and chemicals companies, part of the global effort toward building a low carbon economy.



After water, concrete is the most widely used material on earth. Approximately 4 billion tons were produced in 2019, and that amount is set to rise over the coming years. However, creating the principle ingredient – cement – is also responsible for around 7% of annual global CO2 emissions.

While there is a clear desire to reduce CO2 emissions across the whole concrete industry, our focus has been on the usage rather than the production of cement. We are innovating the way concrete is manufactured to utilize CO2 as part of the curing process.


The basic building blocks

In its simplest form, cement is combined with sand, water, and aggregate to produce concrete. When the cement and water are mixed, it causes a chemical reaction called hydration, which starts to set and harden the overall mixture.

This process can be affected by a number of factors, from the outside temperature to the amount of cement in the mixture. What is crucial though, is that the concrete retains the right amount of moisture and is kept at the right temperature over a period of time (normally 28 days) to attain its full strength. If it dries out too quickly, the concrete will be significantly weakened – and that’s where curing comes in.


Curing is crucial

The curing process not only increases the strength of the concrete, it also makes it more durable, less permeable to water, and more resistant to cracking, freezing, and thawing.

There are many different curing methods available, from using steam or spraying the surface with a fog mist, through to covering it with moisture-retaining fabric or plastic sheets to prevent moisture loss. We saw the opportunity to innovate a new way of curing concrete using waste CO2.

A win-win scenario

Technologies like mobile carbon capture and carbon capture at industrial plants have proven successful at stopping emissions from reaching the atmosphere. But the question remains, what do you do with all the waste CO2 you’ve captured?Options include sequestering it deep underground, transforming it into new products through technologies such as Converge® , or, as in this case, developing a way to recycle it.Reusing waste CO2 is one of the four “Rs” (alongside reducing, removing, and recycling), contributing to the circular carbon economy. We believe this idea has the power to reduce global emissions while ensuring consistent economic growth. And our carbon curing innovation is a perfect example of this in action.


Precast was the way forward

The two most common methods of laying concrete are ready-mix and precast. They can both contain the same ingredients, but are produced in very different ways.

Ready-mix is manufactured in a plant and then transferred in cement mixers to the building sites where it can be poured into place. This can have a significant impact on the surrounding environment through increased dust, noise, and transport emissions.

We decided to focus on precast, which utilizes reusable molds to prepare, cast, and cure the concrete in a controlled environment — all in one location, all off-site. The finished products can then be transported to the construction site to be laid in place.

The use of molds reduces any potential errors, and makes it quicker and more efficient to produce large amounts of identical components, such as wall panels, staircases, pipes, and tunnels, which often sit alongside structural steel frames and concrete produced on site.

As well as being able to control the curing environment, precast concrete has several advantages, including lower labor and transport costs, and is a growing industry, valued at around $116 billion in 2019.

Stronger concrete. Produced faster

Following our successful lab test, we put our technology to work in a local precast concrete plant.

The most important test that our carbon-cured concrete had to pass was measuring its mechanical strength. The industry standard is 35 megapascals (MPa), and if a batch of concrete fails to reach it, it will be rejected completely.

We found that our technology not only exceeded the benchmark – it did it in a quarter of the time. Just 3 days instead of 28.

And what’s more, our concrete was also more durable than traditional concrete, showing lower water permeability and greater chlorine and sulfate resistance, all of which are crucial in construction offshore or in in places with high humidity.


Building for the future

Having achieved 20% CO2 uptake in a lab setting, the potential for our technology is huge once it is commercialized.

In fact, if the global precast concrete industry switched to our carbon curing innovation, we could recycle up to 246  million tons of CO2 a year – equivalent to removing emissions from 53 million cars.

Our next goal is to increase the amount of CO2 that can be absorbed into the concrete, as well as further reducing the time it takes to cure it. In addition, there is the opportunity to rethink where the waste CO2 is sourced from.

Imagine if we used the CO2 created by the cement production process itself? Then we would be able to reduce the environmental impact of the industry as a whole, and help it transition to a lower-carbon future.

Medical practices are at the heart of communities across the world. IG Masonry Support was proud to play an important part in the stunning redevelopment of the Bridges Family Practice, formerly known as Bryson Street Surgery.


The family practice has been a staple of Protestant and Catholic communities for more than a century, and its new moniker is a reflection of the bridging of these two groups. Thanks to significant funding from Landmark East, The Northern Ireland Executive’s Social Investment Fund, this vital community asset has been transformed into a state-of-the-art-facility that will continue to serve its people for years to come.

In its new glory, the practice boasts extensive amenities including interview and treatment rooms, children’s play and waiting area, facilities and access for wheelchair users and minor surgery capabilities.


The Challenge

East Belfast residents will recognise the new building has retained one feature – its unique, curved wall with a projecting soffit at its entrance. In order to maximise the visual impact of the wall, funding was secured through the Northern Ireland Executive’s Urban Villages Initiative to commission a piece of art for this iconic exterior.

IG Masonry Support, a company which continually meets customers’ high expectations in terms of quality, was tasked with crafting a bespoke Brick Slip Lintel that curved with this shape of the building’s entrance.

The Solution

IG Masonry Support’s teams utilised their skill, craft and expertise to create a Brick Slip Lintel that accentuated this architectural finish and fitted seamlessly with the constructed brickwork. IG Masonry Support also produced Brick Slip Lintels above each of the windows, which required a brick soffit.

IG Masonry Support’s Brick Slip Lintels can be used over small openings to eliminate the need for additional masonry support. Supplied in stainless steel or galvanised steel, IG Masonry Support’s Brick Slip Lintels have the same profile as a standard lintel and are delivered to site as a one-piece unit, complete with brick slips attached, eliminating the need for specialist installation onsite. These solutions are produced off-site in a factory-controlled environment which ensures that the bonding process occurs in optimum controlled conditions free from wet weather, extreme temperature variations and excessive dust.

With thousands of installations completed over the past decade, IG Masonry Support’s Brick Slip system is a proven and reliable solution which provides maximum BBA-certified adhesion of the brick slips.

The utilisation of IG Masonry Support’s Brick Slip Lintels will ensure the iconic curved wall of the Bridges Family Practice’s entrance looks good and performs well into its bright future.



Digital Twins to play a key role in COP26 and the built environment through international and national programs

Experts and industry leaders want Digital Twin technology to be top of the agenda for this year’s pivotal COP26 event in the UK from October 31st until November 12th.

Digital Twins are being named as a potential aid towards preventing the world’s current climate crisis, and many want the technology to be discussed and accelerated when global leaders meet in Glasgow, UK at the end of the month.

COP26’s biggest challenge is to ensure the planet is net-zero by mid-century and to keep a global temperature of 1.5 degrees within reach. Leading nations have been asked to bring ambitious 2030 emissions reduction targets to Scotland to align with these goals.

To reach net-zero, countries need to phase out the use of coal, curtail deforestation, speed up the electric vehicle switch, decarbonise our urban environments and increase investment in renewable energy. Progress is being made, but science shows that much more must be done.

Experts have already identified cities and urban areas as the key emissions battlefield; buildings within cities worldwide are currently responsible for 70% of world carbon emissions.

This combined with an acceleration of deforestation could be transformed using a global Digital Twin network or platform that measured, mapped, tracked, and rewarded sustainable actions.

Arnildo Schildt, former Brazilian ambassador and diplomat as well as a Harvard scholar, has been developing a new model for protecting the rainforests using carbon credits and offsets linked to an international Digital Twin platform.

Arnildo said: “We have been working tirelessly now for two years developing a model with governments, the UN, international banks, academics and industry partners as well as investors to harness the power of Digital Twin technology to simultaneously solve two massive challenges for our environment.

We have a delegation going to COP26 and will follow this with other partnership meetings in the UK, Canada and the US straight after the Glasgow event to make this a reality.”

According to a recent report from Ernst & Young, Digital Twins are forecast to reduce carbon emissions by 50-100% within buildings, reduce operating costs by 35% and boost productivity by 20%.

Due to this, some major cities are adopting Digital Twin technology. Chicago-based, with offices in the UK and India, Digital Twin provider Cityzenith recently launched a ‘Clean Cities – Clean Future’ international initiative, where it offers its SmartWorldOS Digital Twin platform to major polluting cities for free to track, manage, and reduce emissions.

New York and Las Vegas have recently signed up, with other major international cities expected to follow in the next few months.

“The use of Digital Twins to track, manage and reduce emissions within the built environment is unparalleled,” said Cityzenith CEO and founder Michael Jansen “And our ‘Clean Cities – Clean Future’ initiative will demonstrate how building owners and cities can dramatically reduce operating costs and emissions for little or no investment.”

“We have our Digital Twin platform so that it can work seamlessly with cities and building asset owners to drive down emissions and efficiencies as we build back better, but crucially we are able to link this to protecting our forestry and agriculture using carbon offsets or trades.”

Jansen is one of many that are pleased that Digital Twins will be a topic of conversation at this year’s COP26:

This event can play a huge role in bringing the climate crisis into the public spotlight – COP26 must give technologies such as Digital Twins the opportunity to make a difference in the fight to protect the planet.”

America’s climate envoy John Kerry, who earlier this year switched US government efforts back towards fighting Climate Change, believes COP26 is the last best hope for the world in protecting the planet:

“The truth is emissions are going up around the world, not down in enough countries, and key countries are pursuing policies that border on being very dangerous for everybody.”

Kerry also said that if greenhouse gas emissions were not reduced enough over the next nine years, there was no chance of meeting long-term targets.

Another Digital Twin program is being run at COP26 for a national Digital Twin program with the UK, which includes Anglian Water, BT, and UK Power Networks to foster better outcomes for the built environment.

The goal of this project is to deliver an Information Management Framework which can ensure secure, resilient data sharing and effective information management, while the program identifies a range of benefits to society, business, the environment, and the broader economy.

Left Paul Kyle and right Steven Ballantyne

Premier Modular, one of the UK’s leading offsite construction specialists, has made two new appointments to increase its presence in Scotland.


Based in Renfrew, Paul Kyle has more than 30 years’ experience in the offsite sector gained from holding senior roles for a number of modular building specialists. He re-joins Premier to provide local support for offsite projects throughout Scotland, having worked for the business for more than eight years in the 1990s.

As Senior Business Development Manager for Scotland, Paul is now Premier’s contact for its bespoke offsite construction solutions for NHS trusts, local authorities, universities, social housing providers, developers, and contractors across Scotland.

Steven Ballantyne has been appointed Area Sales Manager for Premier’s Hire Division in Scotland and brings a decade of experience in the modular hire space to his new role.

Working from Dundee, Steven will be assisting clients with modular building projects for short and long-term hire in the construction, infrastructure, healthcare, and education sectors – from high quality project offices and welfare facilities to decant classrooms and temporary hospital facilities to meet surges in demand.

According to Dan Allison, Director of Premier Modular, “The demand for offsite construction continues to increase in every sector as more construction clients recognise the benefits of enhanced quality, shorter programme times, affordability, and significantly reduced impact on the environment. Our modular solutions are precision engineered for high levels of energy efficiency and are manufactured with zero waste to landfill. And we are very keen to bring those benefits to our growing customer base in Scotland for both temporary and permanent building projects.”

“Paul and Steven bring some tremendous experience in offsite construction to the business which will definitely add value to customers in Scotland who are considering a modular solution. They both have invaluable local knowledge so we can offer the highest level of service, meeting individual project requirements across Scotland with a flexible approach that is unparalleled in the offsite sector.”

Established in 1956, Premier Modular is one of the most financially robust businesses in the dynamic offsite sector. It provides both temporary and bespoke offsite building solutions across a diverse range of sectors including education, healthcare, infrastructure, and construction.

In the residential market, Premier specialises in apartments and studios for multi-occupancy buildings – from hotels and student accommodation to build-to-rent and social housing schemes.


For further information, visit, call 0800 316 0888 or email

Junttan Oy Unveils World’s First Electric Pile Driving Rig
Junttan Oy is helping to ensure a sustainable future with the unveiling of the PMx2e, the world’s first fully battery-powered electric pile driving rig. The rig’s hydraulic system is controlled by a modern electric motor that generates power from a battery pack, which has replaced the counterweight.


The PMx2e has been designed to mimic the use of a diesel engine rig as closely as possible, even in challenging working conditions. Junttan was intentional in its quest to replicate the efficiency and power of a diesel rig. The PMx2e offers the same robust structure and usability as the PMx22, but consumes less energy per pile, reduces noise, and delivers more power and instant torque.

Junttan’s PMx2e is equipped with two detachable 396 kWh battery packs to allow for 8 to 13 hours of continuous pile driving.  An external quick charging unit allows the batteries to be fully charged overnight or during the day if needed.

This new, electric pile driving rig demonstrates Junttan’s commitment to helping our customers build a more sustainable future around the world, says Junttan Oy CEO Pasi Poranen. “After four years of research and development, we are bringing the future replacement of a diesel engine deep foundation machine to the market. PMx2e, will empower our clients by massively reducing their CO2 emissions and environmental footprint.”

The world’s first electric pile driving rig was commissioned in Sweden in late October 2021 by one of Europe’s premier contracting firms, Per Aarsleff, A/S and its Swedish subsidiary Aarsleff Ground Engineering AB.

Understanding the power of an alliance between manufacturer and end-user, Junttan and Aarsleff formed an alliance from day one known as “Junttan X Aarsleff.” Both had a shared vision of the future of driven piling.

For the first time ever in the history of driven piling, Junttan and Aarsleff saw an opportunity to write a new chapter in the playbook on sustainability. The companies’ combined their respective strengths and 119 years of combined expertise to improve sustainability without restrictions in performance or application.

Junttan’s introduction of the world’s first electric pile driving rig will support Aarsleff’s mission to reducing the carbon dioxide emissions that originate from fossil fuels. “The biggest challenge to finding alternatives to diesel-powered machines is the lack of large, powerful electric construction equipment, but machine manufacturers are working hard to solve this,” says Lars Dithmer, head of sustainability at Per Aarsleff A/S. “The future is beginning to look brighter for more environmentally friendly construction sites.”

Complex public sector sites – such as hospitals, prisons, and military barracks – could achieve a 70% reduction in carbon emissions by 2032 with an average capital cost of £12.6m per site, according to a two-year innovation pilot.

The Modern Energy Partners (MEP) innovation programme was tasked with exploring how to decarbonise the public sector estate, by developing repeatable methods that enable large campus-style sites to meet UK Government commitments on net zero.

MEP was driven and funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through the £505 million Energy Innovation, and overseen alongside Cabinet Office, and other estate-owning departments, with Energy Systems Catapult providing programme delivery, analytical and technical support.

The MEP pilot used a test bed of 42 sites responsible for over 294,000 tCO2e carbon emissions – equating to 8% of Ministry of Defence (MOD), 17% of Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and 6% of NHS sites.

MEP found that on average for a campus-style to achieve 70% emissions reduction by 2032 the capital cost was £12.6m per site.

The MEP final report provides independent recommendations for stakeholders involved in public sector decarbonisation for campus or similarly challenging sites:

  • Strategic plans to help speed up and scale up action are important: An increase in the pace and scale of decarbonisation across the public sector estate is urgently needed to reach targets. Agreed-upon, organisation-wide and long-term decarbonisation strategies can help simplify processes and cut timelines. More broadly, a public sector-wide reporting framework alongside appropriate carbon valuation will incentivise action.
  • Tailored plans at site level are vital: A tailored and detailed approach is needed for each site. The design stage should consider all aspects of Departmental and site-level governance as well as the appetite for investment in low carbon technology. Working with multiple consultancies in the development of individual design plans can increase idea sharing and avoid technology bias.
  • Delivery capability must be considered: Appropriate resourcing, capacity-building and prioritisation is urgently needed. This includes the capacity building of roles focussed on coordinating the planning and delivery of decarbonisation strategies into existing asset life replacement programmes on site. Important responsibilities of this role will be to select the technology appropriate delivery route and ensure sign-off and access are obtained in a timely manner.

The programme focused on “learning by doing”, MEP tested out the practicalities of scalable decarbonisation through three primary activities:

1. Tested rapid deployment of data gathering technologies and analysis techniques to appraise future net zero progress across 36 of the 42 testbed sites.

2. Developed a systematic and repeatable appraisal approach for the decarbonisation of campus-style public sector sites at 24 of the sites, showing estate-wide programmed deployment can be planned.

3. Worked intensively with four “pathfinder” sites to test out different commercial deployment routes, seeking quality and value for money:

  • Sheppey Prison Cluster
  • HMS Collingwood
  • NHS Goole and District Hospital
  • Catterick Garrison

Energy Systems Catapult chief executive, Philip New, said: “The public sector only accounts for around 2% of total UK emissions. But by both reducing its own emissions and demonstrating an ambitious, systematic and scalable programme of work, it offers an opportunity to demonstrate that it is possible to decarbonise at scale. The potential to procure at scale is likely to drive value for money for the public purse, encourage innovation, support skills building, help levelling up across the country and push technology prices down benefiting the wider economy.

“The Modern Energy Partners programme demonstrated that it was possible to put individual sites on track to hit net zero targets through a sustained effort by people with a mix of skill-sets.

“While some action has already being taken towards reducing emissions within the public sector estate, MEP experienced multiple barriers to delivery which must be overcome to deliver decarbonisation at scale.

“Firstly, each Government department needs a deliverable net zero strategy, which captures the scale and pace required to meet national net zero commitments.

“Secondly, the cost of decarbonisation is a key barrier. To make decarbonisation scalable, funding must be available and deployed efficiently within a department.

“Thirdly, MEP found that capability was limited to centrally based sustainability teams and, rather than embedded throughout departmental estate management. Under current conditions, delivery that relies on these small central teams is time-consuming and not scalable.

“Finally, we found that in the future decarbonisation of campus-style sites, like prisons, military bases and hospitals could be possible and could be delivered at the scale and pace required, however it needed to follow a systematic, repeatable and scalable approach.”



DOWNLOAD HERE: Modern Energy Partners – Summary Report 

Plans for the UK’s first £165m Plastic Park – designed to tackle a share of the UK’s 4.9 million tonnes of annual plastic waste – have moved a step closer.

Peel NRE, part of Peel L&P, has submitted a planning application for the Plastic Park to be developed at Protos, the company’s strategic energy and resource hub near Ellesmere Port, Cheshire. It will cluster together innovative processing and treatment technologies to get the most value from plastic waste.

Two facilities at the Plastic Park have already received planning consent – the UK’s first waste plastic to hydrogen facility using pioneering Powerhouse Energy technology and a PET (polyethylene terephthalate) recycling plant that will take food and beverage packaging, such as plastic bottles, and recycle them for use in making new packaging products.

Peel NRE is now seeking planning approval for several further facilities which would provide capacity for up to 367,500 tonnes of mixed recyclables and plastic and create 147 new jobs.

The application follows a public consultation where nearly 300 local people took part. An overwhelming majority of respondents agreed that more plastic recycling facilities are needed in the UK.

“As our pre-application consultation showed, the issue of plastic waste is high up the agenda. By clustering various treatment technologies together in one place, we can maximise the amount of plastic that can be recycled and create a circular economy in the North West. Over time, the flow of materials between the different facilities means vehicle movements will reduce and we will use any plastic that can’t be recycled to create hydrogen which can be used as a clean fuel for HGV’s, buses and cars,” Richard Barker, Development Director at Peel NRE, part of Peel L&P, said.

“This will not only create 147 jobs and address the urgent need to tackle plastic waste, it’ll also deliver significant carbon savings, helping the North West reach its ambition to be the first net zero region in the UK.”

It comes as the UK prepares to host the global climate summit, COP26, in Glasgow this November. Peel NRE’s innovative Plastic Park would contribute significantly to the North West of England becoming carbon neutral by 2040. As well as reducing the need for virgin plastic, the facilities would save over 190,000 tonnes of CO2 every year when compared to landfill.

The latest planning application features:

  • A Materials Recycling Facility (MRF): which will separate out dry mixed recyclable materials (such as glass, paper, cans, and card) into different waste streams and send them for recycling.
  • Plastics Recycling Facility One (PRF1): plastic from the MRF and mixed plastics arriving pre-sorted to the site will be separated into different plastic types. The separated plastic will either go to PRF2 or the PET recycling plant already consented at Protos.
  • Plastics Recycling Facility Two (PRF2): pre-sorted plastic from PRF1 will be washed and processed into flaked plastic which can be used to make new plastic products, such as food packaging or drinks bottles.
  • Polymer Laminate Recycling Facility: plastic (such as crisp packets and baby food pouches) will be heated, the plastic will break down into an oil for reuse in manufacturing new products with the aluminium recovered for recycling.
  • Hydrogen refuelling station: taking hydrogen from the consented plastic to hydrogen facility to supply up to 1000kg of hydrogen per day to vehicles, sufficient to fuel approximately 20 HGVs from outside Protos and a similar number of internal HGV movements that will be servicing operations within Protos.

The application will now be considered by Cheshire West and Chester Council with a decision expected in early 2022.

Peel NRE, part of Peel L&P, is at the heart of the nation’s activity around clean growth and the circular economy – helping the UK achieve net zero by 2050 and supporting regions in their actions to achieve climate emergency targets. They reuse, repurpose, and re-energise natural resources to develop and maintain vital infrastructure across the UK and are experts in renewable energies, district heating, waste to value, water management, materials management and electric vehicle charging.

Their Protos Cheshire energy and resource hub leads the way in low carbon energy and waste management through innovative technologies including the UK’s first plastic-to-hydrogen facility, a 50MW windfarm, a 26MW biomass plant, a 49MW energy from waste plant in construction and a plastic park blueprint to revolutionise plastic recycling nationwide.


Source: Energy Industry Review

The North East is famous for its walls – Hadrian’s is probably the best known but various town and city walls across the region are also of great historic significance.


Every year, millions of people visit them and marvel at the engineering skills displayed by their construction.


However, a similarly impressive set of walls has been built in recent months and the work has gone almost completely unnoticed.


With a combined length of more than a kilometre, reaching almost 8.8 metres at the highest point and with a surface area in excess of 4,800 square metres, the seven retaining walls now approaching completion at The Rise housing development, in Scotswood, are believed to be the biggest such structures built in the UK in recent years – and there are nine still to build.


They are creating a series of terraces on the steeply sloping Tyneside valley – allowing the construction of new homes which are part of a major regeneration programme in Newcastle’s west end.


The impressive engineering feat is being delivered for the New Tyne West Development Company (NTWDC) a public-private partnership comprising Newcastle City Council and Keepmoat Homes.  It is driving a £265 million project to deliver around 1,800 mixed tenure homes on the 148 acre site.  To date just over 400 have been completed.


Director, Lee McGray, said:  “This work has been steadily progressing for several months, almost unnoticed.  However, it deserves to be recognised as major piece of civil engineering, which is enabling the safe and cost-effective redevelopment of this steeply sloping site.”


Several specialist companies were engaged to determine the best solution  – 3E Consulting Engineers, Retain Solutions the retaining wall contractor, Remedy Geotechnics provided the detailed design and construction drawings for the reinforced soil walls and HMH Civils the groundworks and specialist civil engineering works.


McGray continued:  “After a huge amount of on site testing, technical planning and computer modelling, it was decided that, rather than cut into the hillside, terraces should be created using an Allan Block system, which met the overall stability requirements and offered lower ground bearing pressures.”


Allan Block systems are manufactured and supplied in the UK by Colinwell Masonry.


Remedy Geotechnics Technical Director, Daniel Simpson, explained:  “These are really quite big walls.   I’m not aware of anything of that size being built in the UK recently.  There was quite a lot of analysis involved, and we used a lot of test data in the detailed design of the reinforced soil retaining walls.


“This is a modular system, utilising specifically designed hollow blocks.  Starting from the bottom, a layer of blocks is set on a levelling pad and the drain is placed behind.  Granular fill is added and compacted up to the top of the block and the first layer of geogrid is laid.  The process is then continued until the required height is reached.”


The first seven walls so far created have enabled the second phase of housebuilding at The Rise to get fully underway.  The remaining nine walls will be completed as up to 1,400 more new homes are delivered.


Booming hydrogen market heralds water technology opportunities



  • Global market could grow to be worth up to US$12 trillion
  • Opportunities for water technology suppliers
  • Particular focus expected on green hydrogen projects



The hydrogen economy is at the start of a period of growth, with the size of the global market predicted to be as much as US$12 trillion by 2050, according to the latest research.


As part of global decarbonisation efforts, hydrogen is expected to emerge as an alternative fuel. Given water is the main feedstock for hydrogen production, the boom in the hydrogen market presents a range of opportunities for water and wastewater businesses, a report from BlueTech Research has found.


Particular growth is expected in terms of the number of green hydrogen projects, those where hydrogen is produced by water electrolysis powered by renewable energy. The size of plants is also expected to scale significantly in coming years.


The EU anticipates investment of up to €470 billion (US$557B) into hydrogen production and infrastructure by 2050, with annual capital expenditure of US$200 billion. In the period 2020-2030, the EU itself is expected to invest between €24-42 billion (US$29-50B) in electrolysers and €220-340B (US$260-400B) in scaling-up production and directly connecting 80-120GW of solar and wind energy capacity to the electrolysers.


However, the report notes that while there is a global agenda to push for green hydrogen, there are concerns about the amount of water and renewable energy needed.



Report author Kim Wu, a research analyst at BlueTech Research explains: “Water demand could be a concern for the large number of green hydrogen projects being planned, particularly for water utilities and councils, or in water-stressed areas as some hydrogen projects might expect to use tap water supplied by local utilities.

“Interestingly, water utilities have a unique role to play in the hydrogen economy. There are different pathways that water utilities can produce hydrogen at their wastewater facilities and benefit from implementing those processes.” 



Conventionally, hydrogen has been produced via steam methane reforming (SMR) using natural gas as the feedstock. To date, 90% of hydrogen from methane or light hydrocarbons is produced from SMR and the hydrogen produced is mostly used as a chemical feedstock.



Wu said: “With companies and governments leading and actively pushing towards net zero carbon emissions, there is an ongoing shift in which hydrogen is now being considered as the clean energy carrier in addition to a chemical feedstock.”


Green hydrogen projects also rely on the availability of, and investment in, renewable energy infrastructure. Suitable hydrogen storage and transport facilities will also be needed which amount to significant investment costs, the report suggests.


BlueTech Research chief executive and founder Paul O’Callaghan summed up the findings of the report: “After years of research and development, anticipation and slow market growth, the hydrogen economy is beginning to take off, fuelled by the pressing global agenda to decarbonise.


“Our research highlights different opportunities for water and wastewater business in the growing hydrogen technological and economic landscape. A particular focus will be on green in green hydrogen production, in which hydrogen is produced by renewable energy through electrolysis.”


The full report Water and the Hydrogen Economy is available to BlueTech Research clients.  To find out more visit 


Today Construction Europe reported Vinci and partners will launch a huge hydrogen initiative:

French construction giant to help grow €1.5bn fund for clean hydrogen infrastructure solutions

Construction and concessions giant Vinci, along with two other Paris-headquartered companies – gas technology firm Air Liquide and energy firm TotalEnergies – has launched a huge investment fund, dedicated to the development of clean hydrogen infrastructure solutions.

With major businesses in Europe, the Americas and Asia participating, the alliance says it plans to build a fund totalling €1.5 billion, which will be invested across the value chain of renewable and low carbon hydrogen.

Companies named by Vinci as either on board or soon to be include Plug Power, Chart Industries, Baker Hughes, Lotte Chemical, Axa, Groupe ADP, Ballard, EDF, and Schaeffler.

Leadership in energy transition

Vinci reports that €800 million has already been raised. With the fund managed by Hy241, a joint-venture partnership between Ardian and FiveT Hydrogen, the group will soon move to the selection of hydrogen projects in which to invest.

The company said it expects the fund to contribute to projects with a total value of approximately €15 billion.


Vinci’s chairman and CEO, Xavier Huillard, said, “Vinci is taking concrete action to support the development of clean energy by mobilising all its divisions in concessions, construction and energy, with the aim of actively combating climate change and decarbonising mobility in particular.

“By launching this investment fund today, hand in hand with other major industrial leaders, we keep moving forward to make green hydrogen a strong lever in achieving our objectives.”

Benoît Potier, chairman and CEO of Air Liquide, said, “Hydrogen has become a central element of the energy transition. The time to act is now, not only as companies on a stand-alone basis, but by joining forces with states, other industrial groups and the financial community.”

Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies, said, “We are convinced that a collective effort is needed to kick-start the hydrogen sector and take it to scale. We are…proud to launch and invest in the clean hydrogen infrastructure fund, which will also give us privileged insights in the sector”.

Modular housing developer ilke Homes is eyeing a pipeline of 10,000 factory-built homes over the next five years after securing £60m in new funding from Homes England and several other investors.

The developer said that regulatory pressures and ESG criteria have pushed the industry to scale up its modular construction strategies.

Modular developers like ilke have ambitious green agendas. This year, for example, ilke launched ZERO, its initiative to build thousands of zero carbon homes.

Having already delivered five such sites, ilke is aiming to deliver nothing but zero carbon homes by the end of the decade at no extra cost to investors or housing associations.

As part of the £60m fundraise, Homes England, the government’s housing accelerator, provided £30m of debt to ilke Homes, having previously invested £30m in 2019.

Homes England’s backing reflects the government’s explicit support for factory-built homes in combating the country’s housing shortages.

The remaining £30m came from a number of other investors, including The Guinness Partnership, Middleton Enterprises, Sun Capital and TDR Capital.

High (initial) cost of modular

ilke said the new investment will be “transformational”, allowing it to scale up production and accelerate capacity, quadrupling delivery from two to eight homes a day – which would also bring down manufacturing costs.

The company plans to invest heavily in automating more of its manufacturing processes to drive efficiencies, secure more sites and expand its “package deal” strategy, which offers full development service of site, infrastructure and homes.

Being able to deliver that many homes will be crucial for ilke, which reported an operating loss of £34.6m in the year to March 2020 – the latest figures available.

In its annual report, the company said it “continued to be very much in its development phase” and, as a startup business, expected to incur further liabilities over the following year.

As a result, its housebuilding delivery has yet to offset the costs of setting up and expanding its production capacity.

Given growing support from the industry and from the government, ilke – which wants to become one of the 10 largest housebuilders in the UK – has remained optimistic about its potential. Being able to deliver zero carbon homes at no extra cost will become a reality by 2030, the company recently said at the Chartered Institute of Housing annual conference.

Gearing up for the green revolution

Stephen Stone, board member at ilke Homes, said: “This announcement proves that there is a shared ambition among the public and private sectors to find innovative solutions to structural issues that have dogged the construction and housebuilding industries for decades.”

Stone joined ilke Homes earlier this year after 13 years at FTSE 250-listed housebuilder Crest Nicholson where he was CEO and, later, chairman.

He added: “This new funding will help us create hundreds more highly skilled, green jobs for an economy that is gearing up for a green industrial revolution. The fact that our own clients continue to either invest or increase their stakes in the company is testament to the dynamic approach ilke Homes has taken to housebuilding in the past three years.

“Faced with regulatory pressures and a requirement to meet ESG criteria, we are finding that investors are increasingly scaling up their MMC strategies.”

Harry Swales, chief investment officer at Homes England, said: “Manufacturers like ilke Homes are vital if developers are to build new sustainable homes at the pace and scale the country needs.

“This debt facility from the Home Building Fund shows our commitment in increasing productivity and efficiency in construction to meet government’s housing delivery ambitions.”


Source: PlaceTech