Manufacturer Aquaspira, which specialises in producing large low carbon pipes for the housing, utilities and infrastructure industries, has made further strides in its ambitious target to achieve zero carbon production by the end of the decade.

A £45,000 investment has been made to switch to electric forklifts at its site in Nelson, Lancashire. AquaSpira will also start installing solar panels in November to generate electricity for the site, allowing the forklifts to be charged using renewable energy.

AquaSpira Managing Director Neil Wallace explained: “We are investing in a series of initiatives to make our production process more environmentally friendly in line with our Research & Development innovations to de-carbonise through pipe design and sensors. This has included the use of recycled materials in our manufacturing, the installation of solar panels and reducing our road mileage. Investment must be based on a return on capital and while reducing our carbon footprint we can also be more competitive.

“It’s all about making sensible decisions for the good of both our company and our workforce. Choosing electric forklifts will help us cut not only our carbon footprint but also our running costs. Due to their low energy consumption, the forklift trucks only need to be charged every couple of days. There are also no emissions so it is much safer for the team, especially on the factory floor.

“This in-house work supports the huge strides we are making in helping housing and commercial developers and the transport industry considerably reduce their impact on the environment through their drainage specifications.”

As well as supporting leaner and cleaner operations, electric trucks have the added benefit of being future-proof, given the impending end to red diesel subsidies that could see the running costs of diesel trucks soar.

Aquaspira’s drive to achieve zero carbon production doesn’t stop there, a six-figure investment into R&D is already paying dividends, with Aquaspira boasting its first drainage product using recycled material. A further significant investment has seen the delivery of a new research laboratory at its Nelson-based headquarters.

The company is working in partnership with the University of Birmingham on its R&D to develop a digital twin to improve design and to investigate the use of recycled materials for backfill to reduce carbon usage in the construction sector. This research can make a huge step-change in helping the sector achieve Government de-carbonisation targets.

The R&D is also looking at the use of sensors in pipes for long term monitoring and maintenance of systems which will contribute to the life cycle of the product

Aquaspira’s unique light weight composite pipe already reduces the number of vehicle movements and fuel consumption when compared to traditional concrete products. A significant advantage with the current shortage of haulage drivers.

Aquaspira is also on course to eliminate landfill waste from its North West site and is installing digital media to reduce road mileage. Overall the company believes that it is on target to save 126 tonnes per annum.

Neil concludes: “We have been watching events at COP26 with interest and feel every company, whether large or small, has a role to play in reducing carbon consumption. We will continue to drive innovation, both in our products and the way we run our business, so we can help utility companies, housebuilders and the wider infrastructure and construction sectors reduce their impact on the environment.”