The first high tech businesses are finalising plans to move into the innovation centre that will replace Dundee’s Michelin tyre factory when it closes later this year.
Bosses at the Michelin-Scotland Innovation Parc (MSIP) are promising to create 500 jobs in three years as the site moves from making tyres to “technologies of the future”, such as battery manufacture, vertical farming and hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Dr Ben Todd, chief executive of London and Liverpool firm Arcola Energy, said his firm was currently finalising its presence on the Baldovie Road site, where it will be creating around 30 jobs in hydrogen fuel cell manufacture.
He said the roles would be in engineering, product design and high-value manufacturing. The company’s products are destined to power buses, trucks and other large vehicles.
Dr Todd outlined his plans at an event at the site yesterday.
He said: "The whole MSIP approach is a good fit, from the focus on small high tech companies to the links with the likes of St Andrews University.
“The head of the innovation parc project is the factory manager. It is run by a guy who cares about manufacturing.”
Mark Griffen, from BOC – one of the UK’s biggest industrial gas suppliers – said the company would base three staff at the parc, producing hydrogen using the factory’s on -site wind turbines.
“MSIP is a unique proposal. There is nowhere else like it in Scotland,” he added.
John Reid, the Michelin factory manager and the interim MSIP chief executive, said he had come a long way since having to deliver news of the factory’s closure to workers in November 2018.
He addressed delegates from across the renewables industry at the high profile event in one of the factory buildings on Thursday.
He said: “Two weeks ago this space was full of machinery and spare parts. I have mixed feelings, but it is very positive.”
Mr Reid – who plans to bring delegates to Dundee in hydrogen-powered buses when they visit Glasgow for the international climate change talks in November – said MSIP had identified priority companies and was looking to create 500 jobs in the next three years.
“We have 25 interested companies right now, real propositions that we have worked through. We did get up to 70 at one point, but we have boiled it down to real propositions,” he said.
Scottish government trade, investment and innovation minister Ivan McKee gave the opening address at the flagship event.
Prior to his appearance, he told The Courier that Dundee, and the MSIP, were at the forefront of the government’s industrial plans for Scotland.
“I’m going to talk about the good story we’ve got about transforming the site into the innovation parc, attracting businesses in here, creating jobs and really putting Scotland at the forefront of the transformation to a low carbon future," he said.
“It’s a very exciting time and very good news for Dundee and Scotland.
"These are the technologies of the future and Scotland is focused on how we can maximise our position."