The drive towards Net Zero will require collaboration across many sectors. That’s the conclusion following the first Energy, Tech & Sustainability Expo, hosted by leading science and innovation campus, Discovery Park.

More than 220 businesses attended the event near Sandwich, which was designed  to answer big questions about beating the Government’s 2050 targets.

Kent, where Discovery Park is located,  has one of the most diverse energy supply chains, including on and offshore wind, solar farms, battery storage, anaerobic digesters, energy-from-waste, biomass facilities, as well as electrical interconnectors linking the county with  mainland Europe. 

Mayer Schreiber, CEO of Discovery Park, said: “At the moment 80 percent of Kent’s energy consumption, including gas, electricity and fuel is carbon based, which shows the scale of the challenge. We’re fortunate on site to have many of our tenants actively seeking a solution to the issue of improving our environmental performance, whether it’s Cummins, ZeroAvia or GrowUp Farms.

“This event highlights the scale of the task we face, but also the commitment to reach the ambitious target, with Kent leading the way.”

Simon Barnes, Manager for Strategic Partnerships at the University of Kent, added: “The challenges facing business are how to finance the move to net zero; how to access the skills needed to make it happen; and what technology will be needed to make it a reality. The bigger issue of infrastructure is a debate to be had with Government and major businesses.

“Importantly there’s the opportunity to bring hydrogen onstream, both as a fuel and technology with investments already being made here in Kent, as well as the possibility of a small modular nuclear reactor at Dungeness.”

David Gowans, Head of Industry at Barclays Eagle Labs, added: “We’re really pleased to be partnering with Discovery Park as we work together to connect and drive growth in the EnergyTech sector. We want to play a leading role supporting climate and sustainability focussed businesses, and through our Eagle Labs, help EnergyTech businesses with the tools to help them connect, grow and scale.”

Attendees had the opportunity to climb aboard the world’s first hydrogen powered double decker bus, with the vehicle developed and built by Wrightbus, based in Northern Ireland.

The event was supported by Canterbury Christ Church University, the University of Kent, and University of Greenwich, alongside Barclays Eagle Labs, Cummins and Veolia.


All aboard the journey to Net Zero the first Energy, Tech & Sustainability Expo: (Left to Right) Peter Bridge, Veolia Water Technologies; Simon Barnes, University of Kent; Abbie Kempe, Canterbury Christ Church University; Jane Kennedy Discovery Park; Amanda Allan, Barclays Eagle Lab and Professor Peter Griffiths, University of Greenwich