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Zero Carbon Futures

Zero Carbon Futures

Discover how this "spin in" company is helping us to establish the North East of England as a hub for battery and electric vehicle research and innovation.

Preparing cities and towns for the future

The world is heading towards a carbon crisis, and generating innovative ways of moving towards a greener tomorrow is now imperative. 

Zero Carbon Futures UK aims to research and develop new technologies as low carbon vehicles become a major part of the world’s transport systems. Based at Newcastle University, the company also offers project delivery, marketing, training and insight into future city technologies. It connects industry, business, government, and academia to develop projects which will prepare transport, homes, and cities around the world for the future. 

Joining forces for growth

We acquired Zero Carbon Futures UK in 2020, bringing in the knowledge and experience of all their existing staff to work alongside our specialists and academics.

Now we’re growing the North East’s reputation as a hub for world-changing battery research, innovation, and pioneering development.

Originally formed in 2011 and after nine successful years working with major car companies, local authorities, industry bodies and academia, Zero Carbon Futures UK identified huge international development opportunities that would emerge from becoming part of Newcastle University.

Through research specialisms in transport, electric vehicles and sustainability, we provide a larger platform for the company to grow. At the same time, it brings to our University a wealth of experience project managing multi-million pound projects, skills delivery, and strategy for cities such as London, Manchester and Milton Keynes.

Zero Carbon Futures UK is led by Professor Colin Herron CBE, a Professor of Practice at Newcastle University with 48 years’ automotive industry experience.

Joining Newcastle University provided a larger platform for the company to develop. We bring business and local authority experience and expertise, whilst the University will increase our scope and provide access to a wealth of research.

Professor Colin Herron CBE

The Faraday Institution

One of the first impacts of Zero Carbon Futures UK joining Newcastle University was the successful bid to host the first regional office of the Faraday Institution. The Faraday Institution is the UK’s independent battery research institute.

Recognising the growing importance of the North East as a key centre of battery research, innovation, skills and production, the Faraday Institution opened a regional office in Newcastle 2021.

Known as Faraday Institution North East, the office is also based in Newcastle University and led by Professor Colin Herron CBE, supported by Lois Warne. Professor Herron has served on the Faraday Institution’s Training and Diversity Panel since its inception in 2018.

The role of Faraday Institution North East is to bring together multiple bodies in the battery innovation ecosystem including research and innovation centres, education and skills organisations, regional and national government and policy representatives, and battery cell manufacturers and associated supply chain partners. The success of this pilot means the Faraday Institution will next explore opportunities to strengthen regional engagement on energy storage in other parts of the UK.

Through the involvement of Professor Herron and Lois Warne, the Faraday Institution North East will input the Faraday Intuition’s voice as the UK’s flagship energy storage research programme into regional conversations around energy storage research; skills development; regional policy; commercialisation, innovation and industrial collaboration.

The North East Battery Alliance

Together, we have launched the North East Battery Alliance and were awarded more than £90k from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership to accelerate the project’s pioneering work that will impact cities globally.

The Alliance exists to bring together all North East England activity and ensure coordination and collaboration across the region. It builds on the region’s existing strengths in electrification, automotive, and advanced manufacturing to raise awareness of the North East as a leading hub for the battery industry and attract further inward investment.

The North East Battery Alliance launched with a conference, oversubscribed with attendees, exhibitors and speakers.

The creation of a North East Battery Alliance is another important step in making North East England an internationally recognised centre for batteries, from mining to recycling, from business support to research and skills.

Professor Professor Herron CBE

Boosting the local economy

The North East Battery Alliance will support the creation of more green jobs in the region and attract further investment in the energy sector. It will help build regional capacity and capability in every stage of the battery making process, from technological research right through to manufacturing supply chains.

Andrew Moffat CBE, Chair of the Investment Board at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said:

“The UK has a legally binding target to reach net zero emissions by 2050. The North East is one of the leading destinations in the world for advancements in clean energy, and because of this our region has a significant role to play in delivering the UK’s net zero target.”

The initial funding awarded from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership will be used to design and develop plans for a dedicated North East Battery Alliance office in the region, which will lead to the creation of new cutting-edge battery research facilities in the North East of England.

Looking ahead

In a short time, the acquisition of Zero Carbon Futures UK has already transformed the landscape of battery research and development to benefit cities, businesses, and lives around the world.

The North East of England is fast becoming the UK's national hub of excellence in batteries. Together with our partners, we’re taking a leading role in the generation of innovative methods to move towards a greener tomorrow.

Work with us

The work we do with our partners changes things.

Whether you are a global corporate or a SME just starting out, we can collaborate with you to innovate, overcome challenges and grow your business.

Every relationship we have is unique.

We will work with you to find a starting point and tackle your challenges together.