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Our Entrepreneur in Residence Chris Bingham founded Cragg Energy over 10 years ago. It now has 5 different fuel businesses and has sales of over £85m with 100 staff, all have a net zero timebomb. So Chris’ problem is how to negotiate through net zero and many other businesses face the same problem.

The Big Problem

Fossil fuels are cheap, so as these are phased out the costs for companies and for individuals will go up. The realistic options in Chris’s option are Biofuels or Electrification. 

Electric cars and vans are all on the way, railways will be soon, as well as short haul aircrafts. Biofuels work for heavy haulage and long haul flights.

How is biofuel produced? Most from waste, some direct from products.

Craggs is heavily invested in biofuel and are installing air source heat pumps

The Alternatives:

  1. Wind – There are huge numbers of wind turbines and many more to come. 
  2. Solar – More solar panels are needed.
  3. Nuclear – The Government has kicked nuclear power down the road.
  4. Hydrogen – Very difficult, carbon capture is very expensive.

Ten Steps to Get you to Net Zero:

  1. Understand where are you today? Is what you’ve got any good.
  2. What is your motive? If you care what it costs, as nearly all of us do, you will delay, but over the next 10 years the status quo will become more expensive. 
  3. How can you reduce your carbon footprint now? Get an efficient boiler, most condensing boilers are inefficient. Offset is ok but wont work long term. In the last 6 months Craggs has experienced huge changes.
  4. Your house – Get the fabric of your building sorted out. Most are very poorly insulated. It’s expensive to make a house ready for a heat pump.
  5. Electric – Far more electricity use is coming. Time of use charges will come soon
  6. Solar power is up and coming. Have your own solar capability; solar thermal preheat your water.
  7. Batteries – Tesla’s £10k battery takes 15 yrs or more to recoup. Large battery storage is needed.
  8. Heat pumps – Very efficient but low temperatures.
  9. Circulation – Move air around to improve air quality.
  10. Control and maintenance – Too much fuel is wasted, we need a more sophisticated level of control.

It will cost you about 10% of the value of your home to move to net zero. There is little to no grant money available. Craggs installed 25,000 heat pumps last year, compared with 1.7million new gas boilers. There are only 1500 qualified heat pump engineers in the country. It’s a huge challenge. Chris’ job is to make sure he has a business in 10 yrs time.


Nick Butler