Green hydrogen takes centre stage at Big Church Festival

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Big Church Festival, Europe’s largest Christian and gospel music event, made history this year by powering its main stage with green hydrogen for the first time. Hosted amidst the breathtaking vistas of the Wiston Estate, this annual gathering brought together over 30,000 attendees from across the UK and beyond to worship alongside some of the world’s most renowned Christian artists and the only emission from powering the headline acts was water.

Diesel generators, long used in the events industry, pose significant environmental and health risks due to their emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. By transitioning to green hydrogen power, Big Church Festival has taken a proactive step towards mitigating climate change, cutting air pollution, reducing noise and safeguarding the well-being both of event workers and of local communities.

When looking at how to further improve Big Church Festivals carbon footprint, Pearce Hire, the Event power supplier, engaged with GeoPura to investigate the option of powering the main stage and surrounding services entirely from hydrogen. Working in collaboration with Pearce Hire, GeoPura provided sustainable electricity, using green hydrogen, throughout the duration of the weekend-long festival resulting in a saving of approx. 5.8 tones of CO2 compared to previous years events.

“The introduction of green hydrogen power at Big Church Festival represents a significant milestone in our commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability.” said Robbie Thomson, Production Manager at Big Church Festival. “By partnering with GeoPura and Pearce Hire, we have demonstrated that large-scale events can transition to cleaner energy sources without compromising on reliability or performance. We understand how important sustainability and environmental stewardship is, and year to year, we want to get even better.”

The GeoPura HPU delivers reliable, large-scale power without the harmful emissions associated with diesel generators. GeoPura’s hydrogen powered generators harness green hydrogen to deliver reliable, industrial power with no emissions other than water.

“Diesel generators have long been a staple in event power generation, but their environmental impact cannot be ignored,” remarked Steve Hicks, Project Manager at Pearce Hire. “In years past we have been implementing strategies such as power logging, HVO fuel & battery storage units to improve on our sustainability plan, but this year we wanted to go one step further. By adopting GeoPura’s green hydrogen technology, we’re not only transitioning to delivering reliable electricity more sustainably but also providing unforgettable experiences for attendees.” 

Designed for critical applications like live events, where reliability is paramount, the HPU can operate off grid or seamlessly synchronise with the grid to manage peak demands and boost availability. Furthermore, its versatile design enables it to provide heating, hot water, and fast EV charging, further enhancing the sustainability of events by supporting onsite facilities with zero-emissions power.

 “We’re thrilled to partner with Big Church Festival and Pearce Hire to provide 750kW of clean, reliable electricity produced directly from green hydrogen with zero harmful emissions” said Andrew Cunningham, CEO of GeoPura. “It’s a tribute to the organisers that they’ve taken the time to prioritise the health and wellbeing of festival goers and our environment by adopting a clean alternative to polluting diesel generators.”

Beyond powering the main stage, Big Church Festival has demonstrated a clear commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of the event. This includes initiatives to reduce power consumption, increase recycling efforts, minimise single-use plastics, and manage food waste. These proactive measures align with the festival’s ongoing goal of achieving carbon neutrality.

The European Green Festival Roadmap, a collaborative effort between industry bodies A Greener Future and the European Festival Association (Yourope), underscores the imperative of reducing fossil fuel reliance within the festival and events industry. This sustainability checkpoint list highlights the urgency of transitioning away from non-renewable, fossil fuel sources, such as diesel generators.

For many festivals, diesel generators have long been a primary source of energy generation. However, as emphasised in the roadmap, the continued use of such generators is deemed unsustainable and must be phased out. This aligns with broader efforts to mitigate climate change, reduce air pollution, and safeguard public health and the environment.

This proactive approach demonstrated by Big Church Festival not only aligns with industry best practices but also contributes to the collective effort towards a more sustainable future for events worldwide.

Sam Hyland
Author: Sam Hyland

Sam is the assistant content manager for Event Industry News (EIN). Sam is involved in publishing news stories, videos and podcasts. Sam also collates the latest stories for the EIN e-newsletter. If you have a press release or story you think we might be interested to know about please email editor@eventindustrynews.com

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