Business news in brief

The wheels of major infrastructure projects are moving with manufacturers being invited to investigate opportunities in new nuclear and HS2.

More than 300 small manufacturers are set to benefit from specialist support to access the UK’s rapidly developing £60bn civil nuclear new build programme.

The Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) has joined forces with the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre to roll-out Fit for Nuclear (F4N), which lets companies measure their capabilities against industry standards and helps them bridge gaps to meet requirements.

Backed by partners including Areva and EDF Energy, the initiative offers a business improvement journey that will identify strategy, implement new processes, secure necessary accreditations and provide supplier matching opportunities.

It also offers participating SMEs the chance to apply for match funding for business improvement or R&D projects.

Similarly, over 1,500 delegates from more than 900 firms will converge on London’s Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre on 17 October and at Manchester Central on 23 October to hear from HS2 Ltd what will be needed from industry as preparations are made to start building the first section of the line between the West Midlands and London in just over two years’ time.

HS2, the company developing Britain’s new north-south high speed rail network, is gathering together representatives from the rail, construction and associated industries to get them geared up to bid for work building Europe’s largest infrastructure project.

In Hampshire, Bowman Power has been awarded a grant to part-fund a new turbogenerator project designed to reduce carbon emissions.

The £700,000 grant from the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) is tangible recognition of Bowman’s innovative and world leading energy recovery technology which converts engine exhaust gas into electricity.

The £1.4m project will produce a significant increase in the amount of energy produced from biogas and landfill gas supplies, reduce global carbon emissions, improve the UK’s energy security and see an increase in hi-tech jobs.

Run in collaboration with Cummins Power Generation UK Limited, one of the world’s largest engine manufacturers, the project will develop a new turbogenerator for 0.5-2MW diesel and gas engines, targeting efficiency improvements of up to 10%.

It is claimed the technology will be a significant development of Bowman’s turbogenerator units for smaller diesel engines, which are currently operating in over 600 systems worldwide. Cummins will be actively involved throughout the project, and will conduct on-engine testing at their Ramsgate facility. The project is due for completion early in 2016.

Still with energy and news that work is due to start on Vattenfall’s £165m extension to Kentish Flats Wind Farm as the developer prepares for the deployment of 15 turbines in the summer of 2015.

The preparatory work is scheduled to start offshore on 22 October as Vattenfall prepares the seabed for 30km of cable between turbines at Kentish Flats Extension and from the wind farm to the shore.

Work to lay electricity cables from the shore at Hampton Pier to Red House Farm Substation in Thornden Wood Road, Herne Bay is scheduled to start in late November this year.

The Scottish government has also given planning consent this week for four offshore wind projects with a total capacity of 2.284GW.

The four offshore wind farm projects are: Neart na Gaoithe, led by Mainstream Renewable Power and situated 15km off the coast of Fife; Inch Cape Offshore Limited (ICOL), a joint venture partnership formed between Repsol Nuevas Energías UK and EDP Renewables UK, 150km2 off the Angus Coast; and projects Alpha and Bravo, located 27km and 38km respectively at their closest points from the Angus coastline, being taken forward by Seagreen Wind Energy, a joint venture partnership formed between Fluor and SSE Renewables.

Further energy news comes from Willen Biogas which has appointed Xergi to build and operate its new 27,000tpa waste to energy plant in Enfield, North London. The plant will generate renewable electricity for the grid and recycle nutrients from organic food waste matter to make agricultural fertilizer.

Construction of this new biogas plant will extract the energy from a portion of the waste, while ensuring that the nutrients are recycled for agricultural land.

In the Midlands a manufacturer investing in a £2.5m expansion which will see the company grow its national and international presence.

Moseley Brothers Limited, a manufacturer of pressings, press tooling and supplier of specialist engineering services, is moving its main operations to Dudley after purchasing a 33,000 sq ft facility on Blackbrook Valley Industrial Estate.

The company serves automotive clients such as Jaguar Land Rover and exports to countries including Germany, South Africa, China and Mexico, and is set to make the move from its current base in Tipton three miles down the road to Dudley later this year.

The expansion is being completed with support from accountants Chantrey Vellacott, the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) – accessed through Sandwell Borough Council – and funding from Lloyds Bank.

Sister company GF Laser, one of the UK’s premier laser cutting specialists, will also be relocating to the new site.

Moseley Brothers managing director John Hickman, said the expansion to larger premises would significantly boost turnover and see the firm add to its 47-strong team.

In Essex, Dura Composites is targeting a £10m jump in turnover after launching a new solution for the rail sector.

The company, which employs 35 people at its Clacton-on-Sea premises, has developed a fibreglass station platform that allows railway stations to remain operational whilst addressing potentially dangerous stepping distances.

Designed in conjunction with feedback from installation partners and Network Rail, the so-called Dura Platform features a height adjustable sub-structure and will not suffer from compaction issues, is fully DDA compliant and reduces the likelihood of slips and falls.

The company, which has been supported by MAS, has already successfully trialed the solution, with interest now coming from all over the UK.