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Demystifying the Decarbonisation of Heavy Industry

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The South Wales Industrial Cluster (SWIC), a partnership between Welsh industry, energy suppliers, infrastructure providers, academia, legal sector, service providers and public sector organisations, has been awarded £1.5million from UKRI’s Industrial Decarbonisation programme to map what is needed to support South Wales in becoming a net zero carbon region by 2050.

Wales has a long and rich industrial heritage, leading the way in the industrial revolution. Now it plans to be a leader of the green revolution. Flora Davies, one of very few female Chartered Energy Managers in South Wales, chats to Business News Wales.

Flora said:

“I’ve always had an interest in environmental things. I was brought up in a farm in North Carmarthenshire and I couldn’t help but appreciate the landscape and the environment around me.”

Flora goes on to describe how the main aim of the Cluster Plan is to help Wales reach net zero by 2050.

“The point of it is to create a plan as to how industry can decarbonise in South Wales. That’s not closing industry, it’s keeping industry in Wales. The project is a two-year project and we have 30 partners involved. Together, we’re aiming to understand what the solutions to achieve decarbonisation are going to be.”

South Wales is the second largest industrial emitter in the UK, releasing the equivalent of 16 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year across industry and energy generation. In 2019, the UK became one of the first countries in the world to legislate that it will reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. If the UK is to hit this target, we need new ways of heating homes, powering businesses and heavy industry and fuelling transport. This requires reducing emissions as far as possible using methods such as: energy efficiency, fuel switching and carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS); plus, offsetting the residual carbon dioxide by other means, such as negative emissions technologies.

Flora is currently the youngest female Chartered Energy Manager, in the South Western & South Wales branch and overall in the Energy Institute.

She is also joint youngest Chartered (CEng, CEnv and Chartered Energy Manager) female member in the whole Energy Institute membership.

Brought up on a Welsh hill farm, Flora has always had a keen interest in the environment. She studied Chemistry at Durham University as a way to keep her options open, which paid off as she earned many transferrable skills. For her Masters, she focused on inorganic catalysis of nitrogen to ammonia and carbon dioxide to fuels.

Following her studies, she spent a summer volunteering with a variety of organisations where she discovered the breadth of challenges and roles within the energy industry and decided to follow a career as an Energy Manager.

Flora has worked as an energy consultant for the past seven years and has been lucky to work with many different clients and organisations, from county councils, SMEs to big corporate companies, all wanting to scope out energy reduction and energy generation projects.

Flora prides herself on being a generalist, however when it comes to her energy consultancy she thrives on solving technical and political challenges to ensure that projects get over the line, which is an ever-increasing theme in the energy industry.