The initiative, organised by Sustainability West Midlands (SWM), addresses the leadership gap in the low carbon economy. It celebrates and promotes some of the most influential people driving the agenda. Professor Tony Bridgwater and Professor Andreas Hornung were amongst the 33 newly appointed Green Leaders, building on the existing leaders appointed in 2010.
Tony Bridgwater is a Professor of chemical engineering at Aston University. He is globally recognised as a leading bio-energy researcher and has actively helped the profile of Aston and the city of Birmingham to be reputed as a leading area of international expertise in bio-energy. His current interests are focused on the development of fast pyrolysis of biomass and the fuel and chemical products that can be derived from the liquids. His expertise in this field is supported by his numerous publications on the subject.
Andreas Hornung is head of the European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI) based at Aston University. EBRI works across disciplinary and national boundaries to achieve common goals. As an internationally recognised leader in the field of bio-energy, Professor Hornung is instrumental in driving forward the groundbreaking research in that area.
Professor Hornung is overseeing the development of new £16.5m engineering laboratories at Aston University to showcase and develop renewable low carbon technologies including a biomass fuelled power plant. Due to open on Aston’s campus in 2012, the facility, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Advantage West Midlands and Aston University, will include giant photo bioreactors harnessing algae, and a 0.4MWel small scale industrial power plant fuelled by biomass. The Plant will generate heat and power from biomass using algae, sewage sludge, wood and agricultural waste as sources of fuel. It will also generate biomass by-products including hydrogen power for low carbon vehicles or fuel cells and Biochar for use as an agricultural fertiliser and a source for decentralised hydrogen production.
The initiative asks the question “300 years ago, men and women from the West Midlands started the Industrial Revolution. Today, who are the new leaders who will start the Green Revolution we all require?”
The Green Leaders are already making strong progress with the organisation they are directly involved in, as well as the environment around them. All the leaders will have been appointed by 2012 and they will have clear milestone ideas that they are driving towards. By 2020 it is hoped that this drive by Green Leaders and SWM will mean that businesses and communities in the West Midlands will be environmentally sustainable and socially just.
George Marsh, chair of SWM, said: “This year our Green Leaders again feature a diverse group of individuals, who are all having a positive environmental impact in helping the West Midlands achieve our vision for a low carbon economy. There are some excellent examples of innovation, community and workforce engagement and, importantly, case studies of how proven techniques can deliver real cost savings whilst reducing the collective carbon footprint.”