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Case Study: Heavy Vessels Factory – Net Zero Carbon

Client: UK Research and Innovation



Atkins, part of the SNC-Lavalin group, worked with the Rolls-Royce led consortium to provide Net Zero strategies for the UK Small Modular Reactor (SMR). The SMR Design is in pre-concept phase and is preparing for the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process in 2021.

Our Net Zero team formulated a ‘Route to Net Zero Strategy’ report, which summarised key low-carbon interventions to address the operational and embodied carbon emissions estimated to be released from the new SMR Heavy Vessel factory.


Atkins solutions and added value

To estimate the operational carbon and set operational carbon targets, we carried out a thorough analysis of the proposed factory’s carbon emissions. This was conducted by collecting detailed information on the following:

– Process equipment

– Anticipated fuel usage

– Peak energy demand

– Hours of operation

– Estimated annual energy use

– Typical temperatures required for operation (to identify the potential opportunity of heat recovery).

We obtained information on the factory machinery regarding procurement of materials, consumables, by-products / wastes & their re-use / recycling potential and typical sub-structure / foundations required for machinery, which were used to inform the embodied carbon targets.

The key solutions provided were:

– Adaptation of industry Net Zero standards to suit the operation and use of this facility

– Comparison of projected carbon and cost savings from a traditional fossil-fuel powered system to a low carbon source

– Recommendations for building fabric design, passive strategies, efficient building systems and energy management

– High-level design recommendations for early-stage design influence, aimed at raising awareness throughout the design and, as a result, reducing the embodied carbon impact of the development

– Detailed analysis of embodied and operation carbon emissions for 20, 40 and 60-year building lifespans

– Assessment of the influence of site location and building orientation on renewable power generation

– Preliminary cost analysis of incorporating on-site renewable systems Services provided


Key benefits and success factors

– We created a summary of feasible Net Zero interventions and potential options of achieving them.

– We provided guidance on carbon-based decisions for site selection.

– We advised on different carbon offsetting mechanisms such as through renewables, sequestration, local council payments and third-party offset schemes.

– We determined the impact of decarbonisation of national grid on the facility’s emission contributions to advise on-site net zero interventions.

– We provided clear actions for the Client and Design Teams to advance the clients’ Net Zero Agenda for the site.


Organisations Involved


Rolls Royce

UK Research & Innovation