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Future-proofing our planet

Future-proofing our planet

Author: Lara Young, Group climate change director

The recently published Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has highlighted the harsh reality of the damage we are inflicting on our planet. It’s clear that industry must do more to future-proof our environment for the generations to come.

At Costain, our focus is to ensure we decarbonise everything we do, offer decarbonised solutions to every client, and help create a decarbonised energy future for all.

We are already at the forefront of the development and delivery of both carbon capture and clean and renewable energy generation to reduce carbon footprints across every sector, leading the way with our Climate Change Action Plan, a clear route to net zero by 2035.

Supporting the UK on its journey, the plan addresses the most significant elements of whole life cycle carbon footprint (*covering scopes 1, 2 and 3) to decarbonise our operations and client solutions.

 

Accelerating clean energy growth

At Costain, we’re taking action to accelerate clean energy growth by decarbonising infrastructure delivery, energy systems and the wide scale deployment of hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.

We are leading to deploy hydrogen at scale supporting the gas networks, water sector and energy storage market to innovate solutions that bring about real change in the adoption of hydrogen. The government’s Hydrogen strategy (published on 17 August) gives project developers and investors the green light to increase the pace of deployment and clears the way for the UK to become a leading hydrogen economy.

We’re working on projects that will accelerate the decarbonisation of energy infrastructure and are working on some UK firsts.

  • Partnering with industry and academia to create plans to decarbonise some of the biggest industrial emitters, through the government’s Industrial Clusters Mission
  • Providing a credible pathway to the decarbonisation of our gas network by proving that hydrogen added to the existing national transmission system could be blended or separated out as needed
  • Advising on hydrogen storage in underground caverns which will help ensure security of supply and build resilience into the network.

In addition, we are leading the South Wales Industrial Cluster (SWIC) with industrial, academic, legal, public, and private organisations to create the world’s first net zero industrial cluster by 2040 with the potential to reduce emissions by 16M tCO2e every year. 

Appointed by the Aerospace Technology Institute’s (ATI) FlyZero project, Costain will explore the feasibility of bringing hydrogen-powered planes into operation by the end of the decade.

Backed by the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, FlyZero is a one-of-a-kind research project aiming to realise zero-carbon emission commercial aviation by 2030 delivering a detailed and holistic study of the design challenges, manufacturing demands, operational requirements, and market opportunity of potential zero-carbon emission aircraft concepts.

To support this, Costain will assess the conditions required for storing hydrogen and the impact of its use on turnaround times of planes at airports and explore the role of technology in facilitating the safe and efficient use of hydrogen.

 

Ambition in action

Ambitious targets are met by action, and we have made huge strides, harnessing valuable data, digital tools and training our people to accelerate change. We have been driving these changes through a Resource Efficiency Maturity Matrix which helps us to review and continuously improve performance.

  • We have identified and saved over 1.9MtCO2e in operational and embodied carbon emissions and over £51m in operational and capital costs
  • We are on track to eliminate emissions from our company car and car allowance fleets by 2030, with over 87% fully electric and hybrid vehicles
  • Leaders have direct line of sight into our operations and design community works to PAS2080 across all contracts to deliver low carbon solutions to all clients by 2023
  • By using telematics data across all our projects unnecessary plant idling went down by 20% in 2020 and we are on course to do the same in 2021.

 

On the road to decarbonisation

Costain is decarbonising transportation through electric roads and hydrogen buses, which help to improve social value and stimulate the circular economy by bringing jobs to communities, developing local supply chains, and providing low carbon transport links.

We are leading a consortium that will take another important step towards understanding how industry could work together to tackle one of the largest carbon emission producers in the country.

Through Innovate UK, the Department for Transport has commissioned Costain to lead and assess the economic and technical potential of the UK’s first electric motorway. The study is part of the UK government’s plan to reach zero net emissions for heavy road freight and create a cleaner, greener, and more efficient road freight network across the UK.

We are supporting our strategic plant supply chain to provide the latest electric, hydrogen and hybrid machinery and we are working with them and major manufacturers to accelerate the development and industry wide roll out of sustainable plant.

 

Continuous journey

The route to net zero isn’t going to be easy and will continue to challenge us all. Costain and its people are committed to being clean growth leaders by continuing to innovate, collaborate, and lead industry to a net zero future.

Find out more about Costain’s expertise in decarbonising UK infrastructure and meet our experts here.

Note *Scope 1 and 2 emissions are a mandatory part of reporting for many organisations across the world and relate to systems that are within reasonable control of an entity, such as onsite and purchased energy. Scope 3 emissions are focussed on sources of emissions that are more external to a specific organisation, such as those across the supply chain.

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