Bentley’s solar-powered factory and a sustainable cities challenge: The sustainability success stories of the week

Published every week, this series charts how businesses and sustainability professionals are working to achieve their ‘Mission Possible’ across the campaign’s five key pillars – energy, resources, infrastructure, mobility and business leadership.

Across the UK and across the world, leading businesses, cities, states and regions are turning environmental ambitions into action. Here, we round up five positive sustainability stories from this week.

ENERGY: Bentley adds more onsite solar at Crewe plant


2019 saw luxury carmaker Bentley certifying its headquarters and manufacturing facility in Crewe as carbon-neutral. It had achieved the milestone by investing in onsite solar, energy efficiency and green energy contracts, before using offsetting.

This week, Bentley confirmed plans for an additional 2.6MWp rooftop-mounted solar project that will span across ten buildings at thesite. The panels should come online in November and will take the overall capacity of the site’s solar to 10MW – enough to meet 75% of the site’s electricity demands.

Solar installer 3ti is Bentley’s partner for the project. The firm’s sales director Andrew Troop said: “Bentley is an exemplar in pursuing bold end-to-end carbon neutrality targets and investing in clean, renewable solar energy.”

Bentley is targeting fully carbon-neutral business operations by 2030 and will transition its entire vehicle portfolio to electric models by that point.

RESOURCES: Partnership forged for UK’s first low-carbon tyre recycling plant


Every minute, more than 3,000 tyres are wasted globally. The market for recycling solutions is growing as nations seek to reduce waste from tyres, which can give off hazardous chemicals if not properly managed.

One of these solutions is pyrolysis. This process separates tyres into oil, carbon black, and gas. Each of the former two components is then recycled, while the gas can be used to power the process.

Waste management giant SUEZ has partnered with pyrolysis firm Pyrum Innovations to develop the UK’s first tyre pyrolysis plant, which will have a capacity of 20,000 tyres each year. A location will be identified and the approval process in the works within 12 months.

SUEZ believes the plant could be 72% less carbon-intensive than existing methods for tyre recycling.

MOBILITY: Gridserve unveils microgrid tech to overcome EV grid constraints


Regular edie readers will be familiar with Gridserve, the company behind the UK’s first “electric forecourt”  and plans for dozens more charging hubs.

Delivering hubs is not always easy, a key challenge being delays to connecting electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure to the grid. As this is currently the case at Gridserve’s latest site at the Moto service station in Ferrybridge, it is deploying a temporary microgrid solution for a few months.

The microgrid features a battery pack made using second-life car batteries. This will store and discharge energy produced using a generator fed with hydrotreated vegetable oil.

Gridserve claims these generators produce just 10% of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with diesel. To offset these residual emissions, the firm will invest in tree planting projects.

“Electric Super Hubs typically require new grid connections, which are outside of our control and often take much longer to deliver than installing all the chargers,” said Gridserve chief executive Toddington Harper.

“As a result, we’ve been working through solutions to get chargers working as quickly as possible, and we are excited to trial this microgrid solution, as this has enabled us to get the chargers operating many months before the grid connection was available.”

THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Sustainable cities challenge launches with $9m backing


The UN estimates that some 2.5 billion more people will be living in cities by 2050. But many cities are already carbon-intensive, depleting nature, and not properly prepared for future risks.

To help implement and showcase solutions to the multitude of social and environmental sustainability challenges facing cities. A new three-year global challenge has been launched with $9m of backing from the Toyota Mobility Foundation. The foundation is working with Challenge Works and the World Resources Institute (WRI) on the challenge.

Under the challenge, city leaders, transport departments and other regional agencies will need to pitch their solutions including public transport networks and urban renewable energy projects. Shortlisted cities will be invited to attend a capacity-building academy in the US and will receive support developing their challenge design.

Three winners will then be selected earlier next year and supported with their projects over a three-year period.

WRI director of integrated transport and innovation Ben Welle said:  “Cities are in need of innovations to foster sustainable mobility that reduces emissions, improves health, and increases access to jobs and opportunity for all. The Sustainable Cities Challenge is an excellent opportunity for cities globally to build capacity and support innovators to work hand in hand with officials.”

BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: Kingfisher surpasses science-based targets ahead of schedule


CDP revealed earlier this year that only 7% of businesses have set verified science-based targets. Moreover, the majority of companies with emissions goals are nowhere near on track to achieving them.

This puts home improvement retailer Kingfisher, sadly, in the minority. The business confirmed this week that it has reduced its Scope 1 (direct) and 2 (power-related) emissions by 52.6% since 2016/17, when it had been aiming for a 50% reduction by 2025/26.

Key decarbonisation levers included investment in energy efficiency, renewable electricity and alternative fuels for transport.

Kingfisher also posted a 34% decrease in Scope 3 emissions intensity against a 2017/18 baseline. It is aiming for the decrease to be 40% by 2025.

Kingfisher’s chief executive officer Thierry Garnier said: “We have made a very good start towards our new ambition to reach net-zero operational emissions by 2040, as well as further reducing our Scope 3 emissions, which are particularly challenging for retailers to address.”

The report came shortly after Kingfisher joined a new global collaboration on measuring and reducing Scope 3 emissions in the home improvement retail space. Other members include Bunnings and the Home Depot.

Comments (1)

  1. Richard Phillips says:

    No mention is made, in the opening piece on the solar plant at the Bentley factory, of any power storage facility.
    The instantaneous generation electrical power is of limited utility if it does not give rise to a system in which the power can be called upon when required.
    Solar power is of natural variability at ground level, may Ms George give us some more information on this matter, is there a large parallel battery installation?
    Solar power for a large industrial complex is obviously of considerable interest.

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