£70 million ‘clean fuel’ centre opens

A NEW “green propulsion research centre” has officially opened on the Bristol and Bath Science Park in Emersons Green.

The Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems, or IAAPS, aims to develop clean, sustainable and affordable technology to develop future generations of ultra-low emission vehicles.

The Bath University-run centre promises “trailblazing initiatives” into new engine technology using alternative fuels such as hydrogen and helium.

It was officially launched by Chief Secretary to the Treasury John Glen MP and Metro Mayor Dan Norris at the end of September, at a ceremony attended by 250 guests including Kingswood MP and Net Zero Review chair Chris Skidmore.  

Bath University vice-chancellor and president Professor Ian White and IAAPS executive director Professor Chris Brace joined the line-up for a symbolic ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the  milestone.  

The 11,300 sq m IAAPS facility has been funded by Bath University, the government’s Research England and £10m from the West of England Combined Authority.  

Professor Brace said IAAPS is “a testament to the profound importance  of research and innovation as we move towards net zero transportation”.

He added: “IAAPS isn’t just a facility, it is also a commitment to push technological boundaries, to develop cleaner, more efficient  and safer vehicles, as well as nurture the next generation of engineers, researchers and innovators who will lead us into the future.” 

Professor White said: “The official opening of the IAAPS facility is an important  milestone for the University of Bath, as it advances its research and innovation regionally,  nationally and internationally.

“I look forward to the institute making major contributions in the field of propulsion in particular and mobility in general in the future.” 

Mr Glen said: “I am very proud to be at Bath University today to open this state-of the-art research facility, which will use British innovation to fuel the travel of the future.” 

Mr Norris stressed the importance of IAAPS to the region’s economy and skills development and said IAAPS would “really put rocket boosters under our plans for the West to become a zero-emission and innovation leader”.

He added: “It just goes to show how much of a key player our West of England region is becoming in the fight against the climate and ecological emergencies we all face.” 

Mr Skidmore said: “This is a hugely exciting project that can help revolutionise sustainable transport and aviation.

“It also demonstrates clearly that net zero is going to lead to more investment in communities

and is not a cost.”

Bath University says it has been working for more than 40 years to bring industry and academia together to “deliver transformational research into  cleaner, smarter engines, powertrains and driver technologies”.

The centre includes a green hydrogen manufacturing plant – the first of its kind in the region – as well as a “closed loop cryogenic helium system” which can be used in advanced motors.  

The university says it expects IAAPS to bring in £67m in additional research and development investment within five years of opening, produce an extra turnover of £800m in the UK automotive sector, employ around 190 people and support around 1,900 new jobs across the supply chain within the UK.  

For more information about IAAPS visit www.iaaps.co.uk.