Coventry is set to become a hotbed for low carbon innovation after Coventry University, in partnership with Coventry City Council, was officially awarded global ‘Living Labs’ status by the Brussels-based European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL).
It makes the city one of only three UK sites to be granted the status in 2011.
The Coventry organisations’ membership of ENoLL will see the University’s Technology Park become a real-life test and experimentation environment for low carbon innovations, strengthening the city’s and the University’s existing green agenda.
It is anticipated that the Living Labs branding will help attract investment in the area from both the UK and abroad, potentially creating new jobs as companies seek to trial their eco-friendly concepts and products in a new and purpose-built environment, and then export those ideas to the international community via ENoLL.
The plans represent a boost to Coventry University’s applied research activities – particularly its programmes on the advancement of low carbon vehicles and low impact buildings – as it increases the scope for the development and introduction of renewable and environmental technologies in the region.
The Technology Park has already made its mark on the low carbon map by installing one of the only hydrogen fuelling stations in the country, which Microcab – the University’s spin-off zero-emission car company – uses to power its brand new fleet of fuel cell vehicles for the £25 million Coventry and Birmingham Low Emission Demonstrators (CABLED) trial.
California-based electric vehicle battery manufacturer Evida also recently set up its UK headquarters on the University’s Technology Park, citing the region’s engineering resource as a key reason for the move.
Both Coventry University and Coventry City Council believe the new Living Lab will play a key role in enhancing Coventry’s presence on the global low carbon scene.
John Latham, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Business Development at Coventry University, said, “The success of Coventry University and Coventry City Council in securing ENoLL membership and being awarded European Living Labs status underlines both organisations’ commitment to helping to grow Britain’s green economy.
“This is one of many exciting opportunities emerging through the UK’s low carbon revolution, and one which we aim to take advantage of to position Coventry as a leader in the field.”
Coventry University and Coventry City Council will be exhibiting on a joint stand at the Cenex LCV2011 Low Carbon Vehicle event at Rockingham Motor Speedway in September. They will be joined by regional, national and international policy-makers as they showcase the region’s carbon reduction capabilities through transport.
To learn more about the European Network of Living Labs, please visit www.openlivinglabs.eu.