EnTRESS (Environmental Technologies and Resource Efficiency Support Service) is a University of Wolverhampton project that provides one-to-one support to SMEs (Small-Medium Enterprises), in the Black Country. EnTRESS provides support on the development of new technologies and the adoption of processes enabling the reuse, recycling and recovery of resources, and supports the Black Country LEP ambition to become a low carbon economy.
The project has received half of its funding, to the value of £614,436, from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the rest of the funding is matched by the University. The project started on the 1st January 2017 and is due to run for three years.
EnTRESS offers SMEs one-to-one practical support on resource efficiency and the development of environmental technologies. The SMEs are from a range of key sectors, including manufacturing, mobility and construction. The project supports local supply chains from these sectors and more. EnTRESS utilises the environmental expertise of many of the academics and research staff at the University to assist with the project. These academics offer their knowledge on low carbon technology, sustainable operations, waste management and environmental pollution to name just a few. At the same time as decreasing the environmental impact from these SMEs the project also aims to increase their productivity by reducing their costs.
One of the businesses that EnTRESS has assisted is ASAN Wood Saints. This community wood recycling business, based in Wolverhampton, collects unwanted wood and upcycles it into usable products including furniture. EnTRESS identified the opportunity for laser cutting equipment to expand production capabilities, particularly for smaller decorative items, and reviewed the compressed air supply system to advise on design and its fitness for purpose. A new, more fit for purpose replacement air supply system was found, allowing expansion of production area and maximum air flow, while maintaining tools at optimum condition. EnTRESS was also able to demonstrate the benefit of CAD software in designing new products and allowing for more efficient repeat ordering and minimal wood waste.
An additional benefit for ASAN was the opportunity EnTRESS provided to participate in a Technology Showcase, held in collaboration with the Environment Agency, Right Waste Right Place (March 2018), themed around waste management and waste crime. The showcase explored the best practice and innovation within the waste management industry and the impact of waste crime to business. The event brought together speakers from local and national businesses, academia and the public sector, and welcomed over 60 attendees from a variety of sectors. Nigel Marsh, Global Head of Environment at Rolls Royce Plc spoke about their Revert Programme and its top down approach to waste as a means of moving away from disposal, with prevention, reduction and reuse presenting the biggest potential opportunities to also reduce cost. The benefits of this event were many productive discussions between delegates, exhibitors and speakers and the promotion of products and services on offer from Black Country SMEs supported by EnTRESS.
The project offers workshops, Environmental Challenge events and Technology Showcases, while also attending networking events across the West Midlands. We work in close partnership with other ERDF funded projects ,the Black Country Growth Hub, the Black Country Chamber and the four Black Country local authorities.