Gas emergency and pipeline service, Wales & West Utilities, has joined a consortium which is focused on the development of an ecosystem for hydrogen across the Bristol region.

The consortium, which gathered at a roundtable event hosted by Bristol Airport, will look at the possibilities for creating the infrastructure that will serve the needs of hydrogen as critical source of zero-carbon fuel in the decades ahead. Wales & West Utilities is one of the partners that will now work alongside Bristol Airport, Bristol Port, Wood, Costain, EDF(UK), Airbus, easyJet, and the GW4 group of universities.

The collaboration reflects the UK Government’s ambition to deliver a net-zero domestic aviation sector by 2040 and Net Zero international aviation by 2050, as part of its Transport Decarbonisation Plan that was released in July.

Matt Hindle, Wales & West Utilities Head of Net Zero & Sustainability, said:

We are delighted to partner with companies across different sectors to address the challenges that face us and find solutions which will help decarbonise industry, transport and homes in the Bristol region and beyond.

We are committed to deliver a Net Zero ready gas network by 2035 - unlocking the potential of green gas like hydrogen and biomethane, alongside renewable electricity, whilst keeping the impact on customers’ bills to a minimum.

The 2020s must be a decade of delivery, where we put the research and development work that has been done on hydrogen into practice and we must work together to develop the necessary infrastructure for hydrogen and this will stimulate business across the region and create high skilled new jobs in the process.

The roundtable event was attended by leading members of the region’s Aerospace and Aviation Cluster, as part of the Festival of Clean Aviation Growth. The focus of the event was the development of an ecosystem for hydrogen in the region – not just in the rail, road, maritime and air transport sectors but for domestic and commercial power too – with the strapline of Make It - Move It - Use It.

Dave Lees, CEO of Bristol Airport, said:

The creation of this consortium to develop an ecosystem for hydrogen in the region is a tangible product of the Aerospace and Aviation Cluster that the Airport has been proud to start up. Not only will it pave the way for our sector in the years ahead, but it will also serve the needs of a multitude of other requirements from running buses to heating homes.

Wales & West Utilities is the company that look after the pipes that keep the gas flowing to heat the homes and power businesses of 7.5m people across Wales and south west England. They operate the gas emergency service, connect new homes and businesses, and upgrade the gas network so it’s safe today and fit for the future.

The company is also committed to playing its part in getting to Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. 46 power stations connected to its network support renewables like wind and solar power, while 19 green gas sites inject enough decarbonised green gas to power approximately 180,000 homes. Additionally, the company’s network supplies bus garages in three locations across the south west of England, fuelling CNG buses that improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions from public transport.