Lightweight structures in Greater Manchester
Greater Manchester’s accelerated Carbon Neutrality target of 2038 is creating opportunities to demonstrate innovative low carbon solutions at scale using lightweight materials.
As the home of graphene and advanced materials, the centre of Europe’s largest aerospace cluster and a supply chain of 300 automotive companies, Greater Manchester is a hub for lightweight materials and structures.
The region is ripe for successful commercialisation of advanced lightweight structures.
Greater Manchester (North West)
Foreign direct investment
Sustainable infrastructure, Zero emission vehicles
Sector and market opportunity
Greater Manchester has a well-developed supply chain, established infrastructure and excellent research facilities.
These ensure companies are well placed to capitalise on the £138 billion global opportunity in lightweight structures for transport applications.
Global demand for lightweight structures is growing, especially in the transport sector. A key driver is increased demand for more efficient transport solutions, led by the global decarbonisation initiative.
UK demand comes from aerospace, automotive and rail companies based in the North West as well as the wider UK, and further European opportunities are only hours away.
Greater Manchester combines world-leading research, a deep talent pool and global connectivity, all at a competitive cost.
This provides the right conditions for commercialisation in advanced lightweight structures across the aerospace, automotive and rail industries.
The region has the third-largest UK airport, with more than 200 international destinations and connections to major business hubs in Europe, Asia, the US and Middle East.
One of the best road networks in the UK provides easy access to all major cities, and the strong rail infrastructure offers 60 fast trains daily including 2 hours’ travel to London.
Local talent and skills
More than 14,000 students are in disciplines relevant to advanced structures.
The North West and Greater Manchester have a high level of productivity and higher employment in manufacturing than national averages, including 19% better labour savings.
Research and expertise
The Henry Royce Institute, the national centre for advanced materials research and innovation, has its Hub in Manchester.
It is a partnership of nine leading UK universities and institutions, providing £300 million worth of facilities, to accelerate commercialisation of world-leading materials innovation.
The National Graphene Institute and the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre provide world-leading facilities for graphene research and commercialisation.
Manchester Metropolitan University provides industrial support and collaboration with research centres including the Manchester Fuel Cell Innovation Centre and Print City.
North of England
The North of England is recognised as a global centre for creativity and design and attracts thriving international investment. This heritage of expertise and manufacturing know-how is well established on the world stage, and historically gave birth to the Industrial Revolution.
Enabling clean growth
There is a projected global opportunity of £171 billion in lightweight structures by 2023. Greater Manchester offers an ideal access point with capabilities and expertise including light alloys, technical textiles, graphene, coatings and composites.
Local and national government support
Local partners in Greater Manchester can work directly with companies to aid growth and take advantage of further opportunities.
Hello Manchester is a soft-landing initiative providing discounted space, flexible leases and introductory offers from partner legal and accounting firms.
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority Core Business Fund offers loans and equity of between £0.5 and £5 million for businesses looking to create jobs in the region.
Gerdau is a provider of made-to-order specialist steel products for applications in the automotive, commercial vehicle, agriculture, construction, and energy markets. It chose Manchester for part of its R&D initiative, believing there’s no better place for innovation and ease of doing business.
Gerdau’s presence in the region is designed for prospecting new businesses and conducting research to offer more solutions to their customers, initially focused on anti-corrosion coatings, automotive composites and energy storage.
Nippon Electric Glass Fibre
Electric Glass Fibre UK is the only reinforcement glass fibre manufacturing company in the UK, producing E-Glass filaments in Wigan, Greater Manchester.
Composites will play a major role in delivering the UK’s ten point plan through delivery of lightweight structures to sectors including automotive and renewables.
Greater Manchester is ideal for innovation and commercialisation of its raw material and the Wigan site is a major employer to the local community.
Hero Cycle, the world’s biggest manufacturer of bicycles, established its Global Design Centre in Manchester in 2017. It can access the talent for R&D and design and collaborates with the world class universities to develop e-bikes.
The logistics and distribution of bicycles requires Manchester’s rail, sea and road connections, while the international airport provides easy access for its global workforce.
Carbon fibre in Tees Valley
Carbon fibre can help revolutionise wind power and drive efficiencies in aerospace and automotive sectors, and Tees Valley companies are well-placed to make this happen.
Rail in Doncaster
Decarbonisation of the rail sector is key priority for the UK, and companies in Doncaster are on track to take a leading role in the sustainable transformation of the network.
Heat networks in the North East and Tees Valley
Heat networks form an essential and significant part of the UK’s plan to reduce carbon emissions, and The North East and Tees Valley are primed to lead the UK in delivering this.
Photonics in the South West
The South West is geared up to support the UK’s transport decarbonisation strategy through the design and integration of photonics in connected and autonomous vehicles.
Spalding Battery Energy Storage System in Lincolnshire
The Spalding Project will deliver one of the largest battery energy storage systems (BESS) in the world.
Net zero transport in Coventry and Warwickshire
Green transport is driving the UK towards net zero, and Coventry and Warwickshire offer an ecosystem for developing and deploying net zero transport technologies.
Offshore wind floating substructures in Scotland
The UK is the global leader in offshore wind. Now, Scotland is set to become the world’s first floating offshore wind market of scale, propelling the country’s net zero ambitions.
Mining in Cornwall
Key metals and minerals are needed to deliver the technology for the UK’s transition to clean energy, and Cornwall offers significant potential to provide them.
CAM modelling and simulation in Oxfordshire and the Midlands
Companies in the connected and automated mobility (CAM) Testbed UK region of Oxfordshire and the Midlands are leading the move to zero emission vehicles and green public transport.
Gateway battery energy storage system in Essex
Gateway will be one of the largest battery energy storage systems (BESS) in the world, with a capacity of 320 megawatts for a 2-hour discharge duration with zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Thainstone Energy Recovery Plant in Aberdeenshire
The Thainstone Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) will generate 30 megawatts electricity from 200,000 kilotons of residual waste using efficient, sustainable technologies.
Trafford Battery Energy Storage System
The Trafford Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) is at an advanced stage of development with National Grid expected to enable connection of approx. 500MW by Q3 2024 and up to 1GW by mid 2026.
Bicester Motion in Oxfordshire
Bicester Motion is a 444-acre branded commercial and leisure destination, strategically located at the heart of the UK’s mobility and tourism industries.
GRIDSERVE Sustainable Energy Ltd – national electric vehicle (EV) charging network powered by renewable energy
GRIDSERVE delivers sustainable energy and moves the needle on climate change with a nationwide electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure powered by renewable energy,
Arden Cross in the Midlands
Arden Cross is a global destination for innovation, business, learning and living, across more than 140 hectares in Solihull in the West Midlands.
Weavers Cross transport-led regeneration project in Belfast
Located alongside the largest integrated transport hub in Ireland, Weavers Cross is a 121,000 square metre regeneration project of mixed-use space.
Teesworks in North East England
Teesworks is a significant brownfield regeneration opportunity in the UK, with the largest and most connected industrial zone and diverse, sustainable and low-carbon activity.
Offshore wind supply chain and ports in Teesside and the Humber
Offshore wind will supply the future energy needs of the UK, and companies operating in the offshore-wind super clusters of Teesside and the Humber will make this happen
Humber Freeport builds on the region's existing strengths in renewable energy, clean growth, and advanced manufacturing, offering excellent connectivity to the UK's manufacturing supply chain.
East Midlands Freeport
The East Midlands Freeport is the UK’s only inland Freeport, with unparalleled connectivity across the country, to international cities, and home to a wide range of innovative sectors.
Freeport East (Felixstowe and Harwich)
Freeport East is a world-leading centre for clean energy production, offering a unique set of opportunities and support for investors, traders, manufacturers and suppliers. This includes access to innovation, technology and new collaborative partnerships.
Thames Freeport is Britain’s trading future. With 1,700 acres of development land across 3 zones along the Thames River, it is at the centre of Europe’s biggest consumer market.
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