Work begins on £12m green energy innovation centre

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 17 Oct 2018

WORK has begun on a £12m green energy innovation centre, which will give smaller firms the chance to collaborate with the region’s booming renewables sector. 

The Aura Innovation Centre, at the Bridgehead Business Park in Hessle, will offer support to SMEs on everything from ideas generation through to research and development, testing, analysis and marketing. 

The new centre will utilise high-spec lasers, 3D printers and super computers and is expected to open late next year. 

A group of high-profile dignitaries, including Lords Prescott and Haskins, Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy and East Riding Council leader Stephen Parnaby, helped break ground at the site on Monday, tying in with the start of Green GB Week. 

Read more: Drax completes £702m acquisition of Scottish Power's gas and hydro power stations

Lord Prescott said: “Climate change is one of the greatest threats to the planet and our economy. 

“A lot has changed for the good since my involvement with the Kyoto Treaty 20 years ago, and there is still a lot to do. 

“The development of the Aura Innovation Centre here in the Humber is another incremental change to moving towards a low-carbon future and clean growth economy. 

“I am very pleased to see how we are making progress right here in the Energy Estuary.”  

The Aura Innovation Centre received a £4m grant from the European Regional Development Fund. It hopes to address some of the real challenges faced by the offshore wind and low-carbon energy  sectors, as well as provide a supply chain to the Energy Estuary.

Dignitaries pose at the ground breaking of a new energy innovation centre.

Other partners in the Aura project include Siemens Gamesa, Ørsted and the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership.

Ben George, director of Aura, said: “This is an exciting day for the Aura team. 

“A lot of hard work has gone into bringing the Aura Innovation Centre about and making this happen. 

“The work has already started and the centre, when it opens next year, will just enhance what we are already working on.”

Aura will also house a £2m centre of excellence, carrying out cutting-edge research and development work to help improve the way offshore wind farms operated and maintained.

Engineering experts from Hull will look at the performance management of turbines to better predict their lifespan, as well as using bone-modelling research to design sections of blades to make them lighter and stronger.

Read more: This £200m energy park will create 4,480 jobs and change our future forever

Emma Hardy, MP for Hull West and Hessle, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be present at the start of what I hope will be a tangible and practical enterprise to grow the low-carbon industry here in the Humber. 

“I am particularly delighted that the Aura Innovation Centre is to be located in my constituency. 

“The timing is perfect as Green Great Britain week was launched on Monday to highlight the benefits clean growth can bring to all parts of society – from new jobs to cleaner air. 

“I hope that this will become a reality for us here in the Energy Estuary over the coming years.”

The Bridgehead site has already developed a booming reputation and is home among other big-name businesses to East Riding Council’s ergo centre.

It will also eventually house Connexin’s new £5m data centre for Hull.

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