Green Tech Conference 2023

Date: Thursday 16th March 2023
Time: 09:00 AM - 03:30 PM
Location: Circle Square, Oxford Road, Manchester, M1 7FS
Cost: £60 live ticket (member) / £75 live ticket (non-member) / £30 virtual ticket (member) / £50 virtual ticket (non-member)
Green Economy
Key Events
SME Club

Greater Manchester is committed to becoming the world’s first zero carbon region by 2038. That huge ambition brings with it exciting opportunities for innovation, upskilling and economic growth. pro-manchester’s Green Tech Conference will welcome a wide range of companies developing innovative new technologies to lower emissions, reduce our carbon footprint and improve our environment.

Throughout the morning we will also hear from innovators, professional advisors, policymakers and training providers to understand how everyone can benefit from these developments.

Please see the agenda line-up here.

About the Speakers:

Steve Connor Co-founder and CEO - Creative Concern

Steve is co-founder and CEO of Creative Concern. An experienced strategist, writer and communications consultant, Steve specialises in ethical and sustainability issues, integrated campaigns, city strategies, brand development and creating strange installations out of trees, lights and beautiful type.

Recent projects include work with C40 cities, World Green Building Council, World Resources Institute, Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce, Newcastle City Council, Plymouth City Council and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Steve’s spent the last few years also helping to create a European network of partner agencies, called Do Not Smile –

He is currently a board member of the Greater Manchester LEP, and was recently the interim chair of the Community Forest Trust and has previously chaired Manchester’s Climate Change Partnership. A long time ago he was Communications Director at Sustainability Northwest and Head of Campaigns at the Vegetarian Society of the UK.

Specialties: Particular areas of expertise include climate change, place making, city strategies, culture, sustainable transport, food issues and the natural environment.

Dr Marilyn Comrie OBE CEO - Manchester Innovation Activities Hub (MIAH)

Marilyn is the CEO of the Manchester Innovation Activities Hub (MIAH), the UK’s first net zero industrialisation and electrification skills training centre serving the transport, food & drink and renewable energy sectors in the North West. Opening in Summer 2023, MIAH will support the entire innovation chain from research, development and demonstration to commercialization and deployment, and deliver emerging skills training in automotive electrification, batteries, automation, robotics and hydrogen skills training to plug skills gaps.

An award winning serial entrepreneur, green tech innovator and strategic thinker, Marilyn is passionate about growing the diverse talent pipeline to plug net zero skills gaps. She sits on the board of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, the governance committee for the National Electrification Skills Forum, and is director of award winning e-motorsport STEM education provider the Blair Project.

Amer Gaffar Director of the Manchester Fuel Cell Innovation Centre - Manchester Metropolitan University

Amer Gaffar is director of the £4.1m Manchester Fuel Cell Innovation Centre at Manchester Metropolitan University and a sustainability professional with more than 22 years’ experience in the sector during which he has led a number of large scale innovation programmes for both the private and public sector. Amer is a passionate advocate for fuel cell and hydrogen technology and has successfully built consensus and momentum in Greater Manchester and the North West towards positive environmental practice and cleaner energy over the last decade.
In 2013, Amer founded the Greater Manchester Hydrogen Partnership to develop and build the strong and diverse network of SME, industry, researchers and public sector stakeholders integral to the work of the Centre today.

In addition to his role at the Centre, Amer continues to lead a number of projects to make Greater Manchester a centre of excellence in hydrogen and fuel cells such as leading one of Europe’s first targeted programme of Hydrogen Education (HySchools. He is also leading the Net Zero skills pathway for NetZero North West and has led the development of the now formally adopted Greater Manchester Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Strategy.

Alex Edwards Sustainability Director - Bruntwood

Alex Edwards is Sustainability Director at Bruntwood. In his role, Alex leads Bruntwood’s response in driving performance of the business’s existing portfolio while implementing and overseeing decarbonisation and energy reduction strategies as part of the firm’s broader goal to reach net zero by 2050.

Alex embodies Bruntwood’s holistic approach to developing and enhancing the way workspaces operate more sustainably. He focuses on creating ultra-efficient, low carbon buildings while also providing end-to-end solutions for customers, such as water and waste management, biodiversity and sustainable transport.

Alongside chairing Manchester’s Climate Change Partnership Commercial Retrofit Task Group, Alex is also a member of the UK Green Building Council’s Commercial Retrofit Task Group. Alex’s commitment to a sustainable and fair future is driving change in the commercial property sector, and in Bruntwood’s mission to create connected communities that allow cities to thrive.

Chris Mason Senior Associate - Appleyard Lees

As a Chartered UK and European Patent Attorney, Chris works with his clients to develop pragmatic IP strategies that further their commercial interests. Day-to-day Chris handles cases in fields including industrial chemistry and life sciences, involving innovative technologies such as new synthetic polymers, catalysts, membranes, and alternative protein technologies.

Amy House Director of Green Economy - GC Business Growth Hub

Amy is a chartered environmentalist with two decades experience working with the businesses at the heart of the net zero transition. She has an MSc in Environmental Monitoring, Modelling and has developed a deep understanding of the technologies and drivers that are shaping the business and skills agenda.

Amy has a unique understanding of the supply chain and advocates for the sector with buyers, local decision makers and national policy makers. Amy and her team have established Green Economy to improve the competitiveness of the supply chain, to overcome the market failures that prevent uptake of low carbon technology and to promote the businesses playing a key role in delivering the UK’s net zero ambition

Daniel Dickinson Development Lead - Energy Innovation Agency

Daniel is the Business Development Lead at the Energy Innovation Agency, an organisation founded by partners dedicated to bringing the latest and greatest energy solutions to Greater Manchester; accelerating their commercialisation and deployment. He specialises in market positioning, service development and partnership facilitation across the low carbon sector, with a focus on renewables, energy storage and smart grids. He is experienced in supporting innovators to bring their products and services to domestic and international markets, and in the project management of renewable site developments. Daniel has previously worked as a business advisor to the Green Technologies and Services sector within Greater Manchester, and for a renewable energy developer.

Christopher Taylor Enterprise Fellow - Manchester Metropolitan University

Chris joined Manchester Metropolitan University in 2017, and for the last three years has been the operational lead for the Manchester Fuel Cell Innovation Centre project. Funded by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the project has supported small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Greater Manchester to understand and develop new products and services utilising hydrogen and fuel cell technology.

Working within the University’s Business School, Chris has a research interest in SME eco-innovation, and is Manchester Met’s project lead for a new, three-year ERDF low carbon project, Eco-I NW. Working with North West university partners, the project will actively support SMEs to develop low carbon products and services, and iterate circular economy business models.

David Walsh Partner - Appleyard Lees

David is a UK and European Patent Attorney specialising in the fields of polymers, pharmaceuticals, catalysis, process technology, sealing technology and industrial biotechnology. David has a PhD in surface chemistry from UCL. He advises multinationals, SMEs and university spin offs and is currently responsible for the patent portfolio management of several national and multinational companies.

Mara Rastall Director - Enspec

Mara is the Director of Marketing and Growth Strategy at Enspec Power Ltd, an electrical engineering firm specialising in power quality, grid connection and grid code compliance. Services include Power Quality Surveys, G99 Relay Testing, Power System Studies, Harmonic Filtration design and manufacture, Reactive Compensation design and manufacture, Power Factor Correction design and manufacture, and Point on Wave Switching.

Aside from identifying important areas for the company to contribute thought leadership, helping educate large energy generators and consumers in Enspec’s niche area of expertise, Mara identifies new markets and opportunities for growth. Her passion for sustainability lead to the development Enspec’s internal Sustainability team as well as a new service, Sustainability Facilitation, whereby Enspec’s experts will design and project manage fit-for-purpose electrical systems including multi-technology onsite renewable generation for large energy users. She is also focused on international waters, specifically the North America and the rapidly growing Offshore Wind market.

Iain Henshaw Chief Technology Officer - FutureBay Limited

With degrees in both Physics and Renewable Energy Systems Technology Iain has dedicated his career to combining his love of science and technology to his passion for environmentalism and sustainability.  His 20+ years in technology and intellectual property development within the alternative energy sector spans the exciting fields of thermal storage, high pressure compressed air energy storage, cold chain, micro combined heat and power and waste heat recovery.  As CTO Iain has driven the Manchester based FutureBay load shifting, energy saving, carbon busting, thermal storage and low-grade waste heat recovery technology platform from brainwave through proof-of-concept to proven large scale prototype and is revving up for commercial launch.

Dr Somayeh Taheri CEO - UrbanChain

Somayeh Taheri founded Manchester-based energy technology company UrbanChain in 2017. Using AI and blockchain technologies she has created a totally transparent renewable energy market. Already part of UrbanChain’s established peer-to-peer energy exchange are private companies from multiple sectors, generators of renewable energy, local authorities, social housing associations, manufacturers, energy suppliers and households.

Through AI and blockchain technology UrbanChain profiles consumption behaviours and production patterns and secures the best match between consumers and renewable energy generators. Once part of the peer-to-peer energy exchange, consumers buy 100% local green energy and save up to 50% on energy bills. Renewable energy generators have no need to sell to intermediaries and intermediaries don’t then sell to the wholesale market. The result for generators of renewable energy is at least 25% better margins and more money earned in the medium to long term.

Having been awarded £430k in funding from the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero in 2023 – electric vehicle charging points and batteries will become part of UrbanChain’s renewable energy trading market.

Jean-Michel Bellas Director of Energy Solutions - Silver EMS Ltd

Jean-Michel is responsible for managing, developing and growing the Energy Solutions team to be part of Silver EMS vision to be a leader in regenerative engineering. He is passionate about addressing the world’s climate and energy challenges and believes the best way to help clients is to provide a systems-thinking approach to projects that includes learning, intelligence, analysis, engineering, performance and regeneration. Changes starts with learning, and that’s how Jean-Michel help’s his clients build strong foundations to simultaneously tackle the world’s energy challenges – energy security, economic competitiveness and environmental resilience.

Michael Combach Vice President & Partner, Sustainability Consulting - Siemens

Michael is a dedicated ESG leader with more than a decade of experience in the management and strategy consulting industry. Next to having accompanied all recent major transformations at Siemens, he is also responsible for all Sustainability consulting activities at Siemens Advanta, where he leads global projects ranging from ESG and decarbonization roadmaps to energy transitions strategies and circularity programs,

Sophie Walker COO and Co-Founder - Dsposal

Sophie is the COO and Co-Founder of Dsposal a clean-tech company who along with its sister social enterprise Your Dsposal, is on a mission to empower people to make better decisions with their resources and waste by increasing transparency and accountability to make a positive impact on our environment.

She’s passionate about sustainability and draws on her varied background and experiences. Born in Tamil Nadu, India, she spent her early years on rural development projects before moving to North Devon, UK. Prior to founding the company in 2016, Sophie gained a degree in Conflict Resolution from the University of Bradford, cycled 8,700 miles around North America and enjoyed a winding career encompassing logistics and supply chain, the food industry and sustainability. She brings a fresh pair of eyes and breadth of experience to her new-found passion for the waste and resources industry.

She is a Women in Innovation award winner, was voted joint 5th in the 2019 Resource Hot 100, is the Group Coordinator of the Waste Compliance Taskforce, sits on the advisory board for the One Bin project at University of Manchester, sits on the EDI working group for CIWM and is an alumna of the CSC Leaders Programme. She speaks internationally on waste, digitalisation, open data and open standards.

Paul Myers Managing Director - Farm Urban

After getting his PhD in epigenetics, exploring how environmental factors can affect our DNA and in turn our health and wellbeing, Paul met our co-founder Dr. Jens Thomas and shortly thereafter, Farm Urban was born.

Today Paul leads our business, building new stakeholder relationships, working with investors and helping us to grow our business and impact and share our story.

Simon Roberts Founder & Managing Director - Heatio

With over 20 years of experience in the renewable energy sector, Simon has been a driving force in transitioning consumers to low-carbon technologies and environmentally friendly building solutions. Simon identified the need for a data-driven home energy improvement and technology optimisation solution. The Heatio Home Energy Management System combines smart meter data, discrete sensors, machine learning and artificial intelligence to deliver accurate forecasts of energy-saving improvements in both cost and carbon alongside ongoing connected monitoring and optimisation to maximise the benefits for both the consumer and energy networks.

Mike Taylor Customer Engagement Manager / Electricity Distribution Network Owner / Operator - Electricity North West Ltd

Mike has worked with electricity networks for over 35 years and has loved every minute. As head of customer engagement for the DSO directorate Mike is responsible for making sure our customers have all the support and advice they need to adopt low carbon technologies. Mike is passionate about clean green energy and new technology and believes it’s an exciting time to be in our industry as we all work towards the transition away from fossil fuels.

Chris Maguire Executive Editor - Tech Blast UK & Business Cloud

Chris Maguire has been a journalist for more than 30 years, with more than half his career spent working as an editor within regional and national press. Since 2012 he has specialised in business and hosted more than 700 events. Alongside running his own PR company – iMeg Partnership – he is the Executive Editor of technology publications TechBlast and BusinessCloud.

David Brayne Business Support Specialist - RTC North

With a 25+ career spanning a range of industries tackling energy, water, waste and resource issues, addressing compliance, reducing emissions and encouraging innovation at both corporate and SME scales, I have expertise in the field and broad appreciation of the challenges and opportunities we face. My early career spanned a number of roles in United Utilities latterly addressing biosolids recycling and carbon management. The last 10 years have been spent exploring roles in recycling, waste management, resource efficiency and eco-innovation.

Currently I deliver support services as a Senior Innovation & Growth Specialist for Innovate UK Business Growth, it’s my role to encourage and facilitate responsible innovation and growth, addressing current and future needs and capabilities of the UK’s ambitious SME’s.  Greentech has a role to fulfil, however the biggest challenges exist in the appropriate deployment of these solutions, limited by awareness, short-sighted opportunities, financing and legislation among many other non-technical barriers.

Hannah Drake Founder and CEO - Enerlytic

As a young entrepreneur, Hannah has a 15-year background in the energy industry and has worked closely with large international clients designing and managing complex energy strategies. Starting her career as an Analyst, Hannah worked her way up to board level at a green-tech company before founding Enerlytic in 2020. She has previously been involved in the design and implementation of an automated energy billing system, as well as a Blockchain solution aimed at incentivising energy efficient behaviour which was featured in The Times and Forbes. Hannah is a regular speaker at industry events and has also featured in industry media. In 2020, Hannah became a regional champion for the Female Founders Forum, is a council member of the CBI and utilises the support from the Innovate UK funded Women in Innovation.

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