Q: Hello Holly. First of all, why Birmingham, and why the i-centrum?
Birmingham is an important city for ENGIE: we have several facilities management contracts there, some very long-standing – hospitals, schools, a district heating scheme – so we wanted to celebrate that collaboration, and of course there are a fair number of ENGIE employees living in and around the city. It was the first major event to take place outside London; and decentralisation, and indeed decarbonisation, figure among the city's main aspirations. The i-Centrum is an extremely active incubator, and for many of my colleagues, this was the first opportunity to actually see a real life incubator facility.
Q: Can you tell us briefly what happened during the day?
In the morning, eleven exhibitors were in a very lively Marketplace, presenting their products or services, and then there were speeches by Professor Martin Freer, Director of the Birmingham Energy Institute, and Alan Carr, from Sustainability West Midlands.
In the afternoon there were seven workshops, on themes such as Smart Buildings, Hydrogen and Microgrids. Each was led by a theme expert from ENGIE, aided and abetted by an external, non-professional 'Innovation Champion'. After that came the Big Pitch finale – five finalists, with Net2Grid winning £10,000 and a pilot project with ENGIE (already underway as we speak!) – and also the UK and Ireland Innovation Trophy, an internal competition voted for by our employees and won by Paula Broadbent with her 'Retirement Living Project'.
Q: Any high spots for you personally?
I really appreciated Martin Freer's speech. He's a thought leader for future energy systems: not only outstanding in his field, but a brilliant, inspiring public speaker. His talk contained masses of stimulating ideas for ENGIE, and I think for everyone present. His reflections on decarbonisation and collective responsibility were extremely thought-provoking.
Q: What would you have to say about the UK energy market and ENGIE's position?
The UK energy market is going through an exciting time at the moment. The state-funded organisation 'Innovate UK' has been set up to encourage innovation - and its industrialisation - via the 'Catapult' programme. ENGIE is working with the Energy Systems Catapult on the theme "How people will buy energy in the future", and is thus very well-positioned. It's an exhilarating time for ENGIE UK!
Q: And plans for the future?
Well we will definitely be hosting another showcase event and are hoping to organise a satellite event for our new customers and employees in Ireland.The main plan is to continue celebrating and nurturing the wonderful innovation ecosystem we have here in the UK&I.
A Second and Sustainable Life for Dirty Carbon?
Recycling is one of the most important pillars in fighting climate change. Scientists and engineers are constantly looking for ways to reuse everything from plastic to organic waste in an effort to optimize resources and lessen our impact on the planet. Now, an opportunity has emerged to apply the practice to another crucial material, carbon, repurposing “dirty” forms of the chemical element to help eliminate...I'm interested
Fight Covid 19 - ENGIE Initiatives to address the Coronavirus crisis
Within ENGIE, a lot of different people are tackling the Covid 19 crisis through various initiatives.I'm interested
About Covid19, a message from Michael Webber, Chief Science & Technology...
Because the headlines each day give startling numbers and a lot of bad news, it is easy to lose sight of our situation. However, I am an optimist so I think we have much to be thankful for.I'm interested
Sign up for the ENGIE Innovation Newsletter