UK-Minas Gerais In The Race To Net Zero

The UK and the State of Minas Gerais in Brazil have a long-lasting relationship, and both parties have a mutual interest in strengthening collaboration in various areas.

Minas Gerais was the first Latin American State to join the Race to Net Zero Campaign, and its commitment to the climate change agenda was demonstrated during COP26 in Glasgow. In December 2020, the UK and the Brazilian state signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) confirming their intentions to further collaborate on strategic areas of mutual interest related to climate change ambition and decarbonisation.

The signature of the MoU has led to a number of collaborative activities, including the project Partnership UK-Minas Gerais In The Race To Net-Zero. The project aimed to enhance the UK-Minas Gerais partnership on the Race to Zero, increasing the knowledge of opportunities for collaboration between UK and local companies and attracting investment for joint net-zero test-beds and demonstrators in Minas Gerais.

The project’s main output was the Race to Net Zero: A Plan for Innovation in Minas Gerais. At a high level, the Plan aimed to analyse the energy market in Minas Gerais, its emissions, regional challenges and opportunities, and identify key levers for potential advancements in accelerating Minas Gerais’s transition to sustainable Net Zero ambitions.

It also aimed at incentivising collaboration among Minas Gerais’s key stakeholders: the State government, city governments, distribution network operators (DNOs), regulators, academia, industry, research and technology organisation (RTO), hubs and venture builders and a large number of companies and startups involved in the lowcarbon scene.

The Plan is available to download in English and Portuguese below:

Race to Net Zero in Minas Gerais
File Type: pdfFile size: 9.4MB
Race to Net Zero in Minas Gerais – Portuguese
File Type: pdfFile size: 9.2MB

The Partnership UK-Minas Gerais In The Race To Net Zero was implemented between October 2021 and March 2022. It was delivered by a partnership between Connected Places Catapult, Energy Systems Catapult, ICLEI-América Latina, and the State of Minas Gerais Environment Foundation and funded by the UK Science and Innovation Network.

If you’d like more information about our work on furthering the net-zero agenda in Minas Gerais and beyond, please get in touch with Erika Azevedo at


In conversation with Andy Byford, London’s Transport Commissioner

In this episode of the Connected Places Podcast Professor Greg Clark speaks to Andy Byford, London’s Transport Commissioner about his ambitious plans for Transport for London (TfL).

We’ll be exploring where the opportunities lie for innovation in how we imagine, design and operate the transport systems of tomorrow? What’s the role of a public transport authority in managing the post-COVID economic recovery? What now for urban mobility in London and how can other UK cities learn from overseas? 

Andy Byford is the Transport Commissioner for London and he leads the capital’s transport authority, TfL. Before joining TfL, he was the CEO of the New York Transit Authority where he was responsible for 50,000 staff and an investment budget of USD$40bn. He was also the Chief Executive of the City of Toronto’s Transit Commission, and he ran the Rail Corporation of New South Wales in Australia. He began his career in uniform as a station foreman on the London Underground. 

Music on this episode is by Blue Dot Sessions and Phill Ward Music (

Show notes

Conversation topics/themes: 

  • Exploring what is world class when it comes to urban transport systems; the key differences and similarities between the four global cities Andy has worked in. 
  • The most critical areas where technology is disrupting and accelerating change in transport systems (i.e. micro-mobility, sharing economy, the customer experience of transport systems, the role of data in enhancing the reliability/predictability/maintenance). 
  • The future of public transport post-COVID: how will the dynamics of movement in cities change; what role will public transport play in adapting to those changes; and how will it integrate other kinds of mobility options (cycling/walking). 
  • How public transport systems most need to innovate in the next cycle of development – technological innovations, behavioural, financial, and organisational. 
  • Hopes and aspirations for London in the years ahead; Andy’s key areas of focus as Commissioner in creating success in the future?
  • Lessons learned from London and cities around the world which might be needed in other UK cities, both growing ones and ones that are still finding their feet. 
  • TfL’s reputation for fostering innovation, particularly around open data. What innovators and entrepreneurs should expect from TfL as a convenor and catalyst of innovation in mobility; the kind of partner TfL aspires to be in the future. 
  • The culture change Andy most wants to see achieved within TfL as a diverse organisation. 

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Clean Maritime Day at COP26

Shipping is how we get most of the goods that we buy and rely on to enhance our lives. But shipping also produces a lot of carbon, and governments, ship owners, and shipbuilders have sort ways to reduce maritime dependence on fossil fuels and move to cleaner types of fuel or energy.

Global shipping depends on similar cargo handling facilities, repair yards and a ready supply of spare parts to keep breakdowns to a minimum. Therefore, how do we even start to change a whole system, made up of millions of moving parts that the world relies on?

CPC in partnership with Maritime UK, hosted the International Maritime Hub, bringing together innovators from across the globe working on the challenges of maritime decarbonisation. Here are the outcomes of their deliberations, though in reality the challenges the sector faces are continuous and solutions are unable to be found in one week.

‘Collaboration at its best’

The Department for Transport, Knowledge Transfer Network and Maritime UK hosted a session bringing together representatives from many of the projects in the recent Clean Maritime Demonstrator Competition, funded by the Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK. This was pivotal as a starting point for discussion.

Connected Places is pleased to be working with industry and academic partners in four of these successful projects, based at ports across the UK including Portsmouth International Port, PD Ports, Aberdeen Harbour and the Port of Tyne.

As part of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan (announced in March 2020) to position the UK at the forefront of green shipbuilding and maritime technology, the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC) is a £20m investment from the government alongside a further £10m from industry to reduce emissions from the maritime sector. The programme is supporting 55 projects across the UK. Government funding has been utilised to support early-stage research relating to clean maritime. The programme will be used to support the research, design and development of zero-emission technology and infrastructure solutions for maritime and to accelerate decarbonisation in the sector.

Key speakers on the day:

  • Robert Courts MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Maritime, spoke about the importance of making our transition to net-zero an economic opportunity for the UK.
  • David Tozer, Head of Maritime and Land Transport at Innovate UK shared more on the high levels of engagement from industry.
  • John Hutchison, Head of Maritime, Department for International trade outlined the support available to businesses and innovators

Five Clean Maritime Projects projects were showcased:

  1. Electric charging infrastructure – Portsmouth Harbour
  2. Hydrogen fuelled survey vessels – by Acua Marine
  3. Clean energy offshore service vessels – Bibby Marine
  4. Feasibility of electric port operations – Port of Belfast
  5. Vertically Integrated ‘cloud based’ port operations – General Electric & Teeside University

Clean Maritime–a technology perspective

Technology has always influenced the way the UK undertakes trade and the twenty-first century is no different from the sixteenth. The following organisations presented the impacts of new technology within the maritime sector:

Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB), a Belgian shipping company, showcased an impressive range of hydrogen-powered innovations. These included hydrogen-powered heavy goods vehicles, floating hydrogen refuelling stations, multi-modal hydrogen refuelling hubs and hydrogen survey vessels.

BAE Systems, Varuna Marine Services and Lloyd’s Register, with a special introduction from Paul Little, founding Principal and CEO of The City of Glasgow College. Delivered thought-provoking presentations in the regard to the future of clean maritime. These ranged from the circular economy (shipbuilding in a modular format and decommissioning) to the handling of new propulsion systems, ways of working and regulatory aspects.

Whilst these challenges may seem vast in their complexity, much progress has been made in recent years and throughout COP26. As a result, the future for clean maritime looks promising.

Connected Places Catapult is pleased to see not only the progress at COP26 but also the work already ongoing in the UK with the Government’s support to accelerate our transition to a greener maritime and ports sector. We look forward to sharing more about our own work, together with our partners across industry and academia over the coming months.

To find out more about our Clean Maritime activities, simply click here.