Chairman’s Awards – environmental innovation drives better business

By Patrick Fox

An environmentally-friendly design for a new sub-station in central London and a new way of recycling overhead line conductors are the finalists in the Environment category of the Chairman’s Awards.

The Highbury substation project has a number of innovations while the overhead line project brings the principles of the ‘circular economy’ approach to materials reaching the end of their life.

Novel urban substation development that delivers both environmental and community benefits (UK)

Overhead Line ConductorStuart Cameron is part of the cross-functional team that has worked on the new 400kV substation in London. It incorporates an innovative and environmentally friendly design utilising a synthetic ester insulated transformer, low noise coolers, and a living roof. In addition, a heat recovery system will capture waste heat from the transformers and heat the local school and residential development.

Stuart said: “In developing the innovative and environmentally friendly solution, we were able to secure planning permission at the first submission. What’s more, this will become a template for future urban substation development, meaning it will produce benefits for years to come.

The success of the project is only possible because of the ongoing efforts of colleagues across the business from Property, Legal, Capital Delivery and ETAM, in particular, the Design Assurance, Asset Policy, and the commissioning teams.”

Upcycling aluminium conductor: one team approach

Conductor before processingOverhead conductors can now be sent directly to be reprocessed into new assets following the inter-team collaboration, as Helene Wright explains.

“We have developed a method of applying a circular economy approach to the way in which we manage our overhead line conductors at the end of their life. Materials can be sent directly to be reprocessed into new assets which can then be used in future replacement projects.

“This showcases how beneficial a one-team collaborative approach is, but also how sustainable business is good business. In many circumstances, an environmental benefit often comes hand in hand with a financial benefit for the business.

“By applying this circular economy approach, we are using a more efficient, economically viable and environmentally friendly process to recycle our end of life conductor. This helps the business to move a step closer towards achieving our ambitious corporate target to reuse or recycle 100% of our recovered assets by 2020.

Conductor degreased, chipped and baled for reprocessing“Integrating environmental sustainability and a circular economy approach into our decision-making process can act as a fundamental driver towards innovative thinking. It can encourage the business to devise new and alternative ways of carrying out our processes, which could potentially reduce resource and energy use and also business costs.”

You can see a list of all finalists for the ceremony, which is on 28 June in Boston, on Our National Grid.

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