Case Study
  • Posted on April 5th, 2022

Walk The Plank on green production

Green Production Lab

Walk the Plank are delighted to partner with Without Walls to create the Green Production Lab in Spring 2021. The aim of the Green Production Lab was to bring together production managers working in the Outdoor Arts sector to explore the challenges and opportunities for reducing the environmental impact of outdoor festival, events and touring productions.

We recognise that production managers are leaders and decision makers who have significant influence and can be amazing agents of change. Production managers are solvers of problems and finders of solutions. In a project team the production manager is a key source of knowledge and expertise. Production managers bring knowledge and experience from one project to another, keeping abreast of industry developments and spreading best practice, new developments and improved ways of working.

At Walk the Plank, we know that production managers have excelled at this when it comes to health and safety and we want to see sustainability treated in the same way as health and safety. Health, safety and sustainability are all indisputably good things and aiming for the very best practice around these things should be non-negotiable in our projects.

The Green Production Lab programme consisted of 4 weeks of facilitated workshops and discussions which provided a space for production managers to connect with peers, share knowledge and examples of best practice, and be inspired and empowered. There were sessions focussed on embedding sustainable thinking in the production process, on energy, on circularity, and on touring. Each of these sessions included industry experts with practical experience of the topics. The Green Production Lab was successful in creating an open space for Outdoor Arts production managers to meet, to share knowledge and get to know one another. Building on the success of the first online events, a second residential programme was hosted at 101 Outdoor Arts.

Sustainable Fuel for Walk the Plank Fire Gardens

After months, if not years, of research and badgering suppliers, in July 2021 we were pleased to present our first ever BioLPG-fuelled “Fire Garden” installation in Coventry as part of their 2021 City of Culture programme. Working with Festival Gas as our supplier, we were able to source BioLPG to fuel our fire sculptures. BioLPG is made from a blend of waste, residues and sustainably sourced materials. It is an eco-propane, which is chemically identical to LPG and is compatible with all LPG products. BioLPG has absolutely no compromise on performance, so it’s as clean-burning as LPG. It is claimed that use of BioLPG has a 90% reduction in carbon emissions.

BioLPG is a co-product of the biodiesel production process. During manufacturing, the feedstocks undergo a series of complex treatments. They are combined with hydrogen in a process, called hydrogenolysis, which separates and purifies their energy content. During the refining process, a variety of waste ‘off-gases’ are produced that contain propane or BioLPG. For every tonne of biodiesel, 50 kg of BioLPG is generated from this off gas stream. This co-product is then purified to make it identical to conventional propane.

Following the successful trial in Coventry we have since used BioLPG for Fire Gardens at Greenwich & Docklands International Festival and for HOME in Manchester as part of the “Corridor of Light” event. We are working now to strengthen our supply chain so that BioLPG can replace all our usage of LPG.

Image credit: The Fire Garden, created by Walk the Plank, seen here at Festival Number 6. Image Danny North and Andrew Whitton