A self-confessed “poacher turned gamekeeper” has joined the fight to combat the impact of climate change.

Prof John Allport, from the University of Huddersfield’s Department of Engineering and Technology, has joined the newly-formed Kirklees Climate Commission (KCC).

The KCC, which includes local business leaders, educators, councillors, creatives and legal practitioners, is supporting efforts to work towards net zero carbon emissions and greater climate resilience, while the university is also working on several initiatives that will make a lasting impact.

Prof Allport, who joined the university in November 2013 after 11 years at Cummins Turbo Technologies, said: “I started off in the coal industry before moving into oil, gas and chemical processing. Then I spent 25 years in the automotive industry, so it’s a case of being poacher turned gamekeeper.

“Effectively, I spent years developing technologies that contributed to polluting the planet. But after we successively established the Turbocharger Research Institute at the university, my focus turned to technologies to combat pollution.

“My group now look at how can we avoid making the same mistakes with developing countries. Can they work without a carbon economy?

“We are looking at solar powered water pumps in Africa, hydroelectric power in Nepal and using agricultural wastes for generating power in Uganda, as well as how these technologies could be applied in a local context. The KCC is a good fit with what we are doing at the university.”

Commission chairman Prof Peter Roberts said: “I am delighted that Prof Allport is a member of the Kirklees Climate Commission and I am very grateful that the University of Huddersfield is providing support for our work.

“The commission is tackling a wide range of problems which, when taken together, represent the greatest challenge facing contemporary society.

“Working together, and using Prof Allport’s and other colleagues’ expertise to the full, offers the potential to identify a sustainable pathway to the future.”

Prof Allport’s involvement with the KCC will see it look at the implications of local projects on the transition to net-zero emissions, such as the proposed expansion of the busy A629 Halifax Road from Huddersfield town centre to the M62 motorway.

The commission will also look at housing, energy usage, land use and climate risks such as flooding.

The Technology Building at the University of Huddersfield

Prof Allport’s interest in turbines could lead to the university reusing its waste to generate electricity that could either be stored on site, or even released to the national grid.

Future capacity for studying waste to energy projects and the “circular energy economy” is being built into the redevelopment of the university’s Technology Building with this in mind.

“We are also researching battery storage for charging electric vehicles which also helps to reduce power surges from the grid,” he said.

The university approved plans to install more than 500 solar panels on top of the Technology Building as part of a £1 million investment in measures to reduce carbon emissions on the campus.

Prof Allport added: “The power economy is an increasingly important matter, and with the solar panels on our Technology Building there is a huge amount going on across the university in the sphere of energy efficiency, clean energy and how we use it best.”