Mission Zero – Hacking our way to a zero emission fleet.
aiimi logo.png Time is running out.png


In 2019, 15% of Northumbrian Water’s (NWL) Greenhouse Gas emissions resulted from transport activities – the van fleet emits approximately 6.5ktCO2e, the tanker fleet approximately 2.5ktCO2e and transport in private vehicles or on public transport a further 1kTCO2e.


For this hack we’ll concentrate on vans and tankers - Covid19 travel restrictions have triggered a worldwide step change in non-operational travel (use of private vehicles and public transport).


NWL has committed to achieve carbon neutrality in 2027.


Initial analysis has proven that payload, range and charging issues mean that the current range of EVs cannot be substituted into the NWL fleet without significant operational impact and costly investments. What’s more, there are no commercially available electric HGVs - limiting the options for emissions reductions in the tanker fleet. 


Our objective at the Hackathon is to investigate decarbonisation of the operational fleet, developing a roadmap for reaching our 2027 carbon neutrality aim.


We’ve asked the following questions, we’ve provided the data – now we need your help to answer them!

  • Is the current approach to van movements efficient – perhaps too much equipment being moved around our operating areas?
  • Is it possible to increase more fuel efficient conventional vehicles into the fleet? Perhaps supporting a small –vehicle fleet using new equipment hubs or equipment deliveries
  • Where and when are Electric Vehicles (EVs) suitable for operational jobs?
  • What are the optimum locations for EV infrastructure or transport hubs?
  • Is there existing public charging infrastructure which can satisfy the NWL need?
  • How much will the optimum model cost?


We’ve provided data and information about our fleet (mileage, fuel use, vehicle types etc) and activities (jobs, locations, transportation depots…). We’ll share the current thinking on low emission and zero emission vehicles, and how they could become the fleet of the future. We need your help to make it all work!

Downloadable content
Tuesday 15 September 2020


  • Tuesday saw the Aiimi sponsored MissonZero data hack off to an energy efficient start, with the team setting out the scale of the challenge & data available to help us innovate a roadmap to decarbonise our operational fleet, in line with NWG’s ambition to be carbon neutral by 2027.
  • Enlightening, energising expert talks were from Peter Stephens (Nissan) on Net Zero Vehicles Trajectory & John Baldwin (CNG) on Low Carbon Options for our fleet.
  • This insight ably stimulated the combined brains of our 40 hack participants (within six hack teams) to meet the goal of reducing emissions in our operational fleet in the face of payload, range and charging issues that mean the current range of EVs cannot be substituted into the NWL fleet without significant operational impact and costly investments.
  • Early emerging insight suggests the practicalities of the regions and environments we operate in mean there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. For example HGS or 4WD vehicles may not be easy to replace quickly, so what’s the smart way to run them?
  • Hackers have been presented with over 1gb of data relating to our vehicle fleet and carbon use (3.8 million rows of data!) to rise to this exciting - and essential - challenge, and have now commenced the process of building prototypes in order to provide roadmapped solutions, over the next two days of intensive activity.
  • Team outputs will judged by an expert panel on Thursday afternoon, with prizes to be awarded across three categories (best solution, best new insight, best data visualisation).
Wednesday 16 September 2020


Aiimi - Wednesday1.png


  • The Mission Zero hack, with our amazing sponsors Aiimi, is now deep into the detail. Our six competitive hack teams are all delving deeply into the 1gb+ of datasets, driven by dedication to support tackling one of our NWG’s key goals to be carbon neutral by 2027 by innovating a roadmap to decarbonise our operational fleet.
  • Our six hack teams benefitted from some fantastic first-hand insight from the NWL fleet team regarding some of the technical challenges at play, which informed and inspired today’s rigorous hack activity
  • Over the course of the day a staggering amount of solutioning and analytical insight has been developed by the teams, with a broad range of ambitious opportunities in the process of being identified and developed. These include:
    • Developing a Multi element RAG rating for fleet replacement – future proofed to modify weighting across our fleet;
    • Building a SQL database for our fleet that gives a live status and provides an optimal fleet replacement programme, flagging inefficient outliers.
    • Formulating a case study for the use of Compressed Natural Gas tankers
    • Producing heat mapping of our vehicle movements
  • Tomorrow the teams will conclude their hacking, for example looking to optimise future-proofed fleet management models and finalising a business case for CNG tankers.
  • Each team will demonstrate their outputs from 1pm tomorrow afternoon as the hack draws to a close, with prizes awarded for best solution, best new insight and best data visualisation. Given the calibre of work to date we are confident the teams will present some incredible innovation and insight which will help us combat one of our most pressing – and global - challenges over the next decade and beyond.
Thursday 17 September 2020


  • The final day of our Aiimi-sponsored and facilitated Mission Zero hack saw each team race to the finish line, optimising their analytical solutions which will provide components of a roadmap to decarbonise our operational fleet;
  • Each team worked incredible hard, understanding the importance of leveraging their data science and machine learning skills to support NWG’s aim to be carbon neutral by 2027. NWG operates over 1000 vans and 25 HGVs across the North East and South East. These vehicles are essential for delivering an unrivalled customer experience, but vehicle movements come at a considerable cost - last year NWG used 3.5 million litres of diesel, leading to emissions of 8,500 tonnes of CO2.
  • All of our hack teams rose to the challenge be approaching the problem from a wide range of angles, trawling through 1gb+ of data to produce an astonishing array of insights and ambitious, leading-edge solutions.
  • On Thursday afternoon the teams presented their final outputs to a perfectly calibrated panel of key decision-makers able to assess the solutions and take these forward from NWG (Graham Southall – Group Commercial Director; Kate Wilson – Fleet Manager &Anthony Browne – Energy Development Manager), alongside Aiimi (Ryan Moore – Head of Data & Analytics)
  • After keen deliberation over the high quality outputs, the winning teams were:
    • 1st place - Best overall solution (Team Breakoutroom7) A joint NWG and Aiimi team who developed a RAG platform to decide which vehicles to use in which situation. This includes identification of those vehicles ready and suitable for EV replacement;
    • 2nd place – Best Insight (Team WaterScan). A route mapping solution aimed at reducing the overall impact of GHG and identifying where EVs would be a realistic alternative
    • 3rd place – Best Visualisation (Team Castanets) – an optimisation tool aimed to identify the most efficient way to move equipment and resources around the region. This solution showcased highly clear visualisations and effectively employed Open Data too!
  • It is amazing that we leave the hack with three emissions-focused tools that scrutinise our fleet strategy and our scheduling systems. In addition to the anticipated software solutions we also now have a detailed plan for the conversion of our tanker fleet to biofuels that could reduce our fleet emissions by 30%.
  • Kate Wilson (Fleet Services Manager at NWG) provides the perfect last word to sign off a hugely productive, successful hack: “it is so exciting to have real, tangible solutions that support our low carbon fleet plans…all of the solutions will help NWG with the huge challenge of delivering a green fleet – I’m really excited to take the projects forward and I’m impressed with the rigorous data first approach the teams have shown.”
Aiimi - survey

Menti button.png