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Land agreements step forward for £4bn renewable energy project

Plans for a £4bn renewable energy project that will place Swansea at the forefront of global green economy innovation have taken a major step forward.

Renewable energy hub CGI

Renewable energy hub CGI

The agreements - subject to planning permission - will lead to:

  • The expansion of the Fabian Way park and ride site to create a green energy transport hub to potentially include a hydrogen manufacturing station for hydrogen-powered transport, an abundance of electric vehicle charging points, and restaurants and flexible working areas for visitors to enjoy.
  • A new manufacturing facility on the former Morrissey site in SA1 to make high-tech batteries that would store the renewable energy generated by the project and for worldwide distribution.
  • The expansion of approved solar farm plans at the former Tir John landfill site to create one of the UK's largest solar energy generating facilities.

Solar Farm CGI

DST Innovations is also continuing to make positive progress on all other elements of the overall project. These include a tidal lagoon, a battery farm to store the renewable energy generated on site, a floating solar panel facility, an oceanic and climate change research centre, eco-homes anchored in the water, and a hyper-scale data centre. 

As well as Batri Ltd, DST's project partners also include engineering and construction firm HDR, and infrastructure specialists Enable.

Swansea Council has also now applied to the UK Government for funding to further explore the potential for a low carbon district heating network. Using excess heat from the data centre, the heating network could heat dozens of major buildings in the SA1 and city centre areas of Swansea.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, made the announcements at the South West Wales Green Economy Conference 2023 on Wednesday November 22.

Cllr Stewart said: "We've set a target of becoming a net zero city by 2050. The project being proposed by DST Innovations will considerably help us reach that goal while also creating thousands of jobs and placing Swansea at the heart of global green economy innovation. 

"The land agreements are a big step forward for the project and we look forward to working with DST Innovations and their partners on next steps for a scheme that's potentially a game-changer for Swansea as we look to create a more prosperous and sustainable city for our children and generations to come.

"We're also determined to make the most of the project in any way we can to even further cut Swansea's carbon footprint, which is why we've bid for funding to further explore the concept of a district heating network."

Richard Morgan, of HDR, said: "The energy hub is a blueprint of how urban renewal underpinned by green energy should be delivered in future. HDR, Batri and DST as partners are committed to making a meaningful difference to how we can help the local economy grow sustainably.  

"We are harnessing technology that is innovative and also informed by world-renowned research. 

"This collaboration between the council, business and academia will help the community to be better served with respect to access to transportation that is using green energy. This enlightened approach will help our collective aspirations on the drive to achieving net zero whilst creating cleaner spaces and places for future generations to flourish. "

Enable Chief Executive Officer Shane O'Halloran said: "Enable is delighted and excited to be supporting the DST and Batri team in the development and delivery of the energy and transport hub in Swansea. 

"Our relationship with DST and Batri has developed over a long time and is built on trust, mutual respect, and an excellent capability fit. Through our Welsh regional office, we intend to support employment in the region and step-up the local social value activities we value so dearly as a business. 

"Enable is an avid supporter of young talent through our work with disadvantaged youths, schools, colleges, and universities in connecting with the workforce of the future. The energy and transport hub in Swansea will enable us to combine the full power of our group capabilities with those of DST and Batri, and we believe our collective efforts will be far greater than the sum of their parts. We will also have a keen eye always on the lasting legacy we can leave with the local community."

Other recent overall project progress includes Batri - the company that will run the battery manufacturing plant and battery farm element of the development - completing an Innovate UK funded REforMM project (coal to carbon) with Swansea University, meaning they'll be scaling up their processes to incorporate waste coal.

DST Innovations & Batri Ltd have also supported Professor Serena Margadonna of Swansea University in her application for a Royal Society Industry Fellowship, which will see her joining Batri in a formal capacity.

Professor Margadonna said: "I am very excited to have been awarded this prestigious Royal Society Industry Fellowship. The position will allow me to focus on scaling the waste coal to carbon process, create world leading battery manufacturing capabilities in Wales, and develop an exceptional pipeline of talented energy material scientists, engineers, and technicians. This opportunity would not have been possible without a strong collaboration with Batri who share my passion and vision for sustainable sodium batteries, and the continued support of Swansea University and the leadership of Swansea Council."

Dr Stephen Hughes, Batri's Chief Technology Officer, said: "The progress made to date is testament to the hard work and dedication of the team working in close collaboration with our partners.  The support of Swansea Council has been significant in us moving closer to realising our goals and ambitions to bring cell manufacturing and materials processing to South Wales. We're thrilled to welcome the Royal Society Industry Fellow Professor Margadonna to the Batri team and are excited for this next big step in our journey."

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Last modified on 24 November 2023