13 Sep 2023
The 2023 BMW PGA Championship on the DP World Tour will be the first ever sporting event to have its television production powered entirely by green hydrogen – producing zero emissions – when it takes place at Wentworth Club, Surrey, from 14-17 September.
European Tour Productions, the DP World Tour’s in-house production company, and its exclusive production and distribution partner, IMG, are working with UK-based clean energy company, GeoPura, to supply two hydrogen powered generators (HPUs) that will be positioned on the fairway of the 6th hole at Wentworth Club. It is estimated that relying on HPUs will save a total of 16.4 Tonnes of CO2 compared to the 2022 tournament. Used in place of traditional diesel generators, these units produce zero CO2 or particulate emissions, with water the only by-product.
The GeoPura HPU works by utilising green hydrogen, produced through renewable energy sources, to generate emission free electricity which is being used to power the broadcast compound.
The golf buggies used at the tournament to transfer people and equipment across the site will also be recharged using electricity generated via hydrogen for the first time.
These innovative developments form another part of the DP World Tour’s Green Drive initiative, which, amongst other goals, has seen the Tour become the first professional golf Tour to commit to being fully net zero carbon by 2040. This is one pillar of the Tour’s wider Golf for Good programme, which focuses on leaving a positive long-term impact on the courses, countries and the communities visited each season.
In conjunction with IMG, European Tour Productions produces the live coverage for DP World Tour events around the world, working alongside Sky Sports in the UK and NBC Golf Channel as producer of the US coverage. Other recent, sustainability focused broadcast innovations include trialling remote productions for the first time this season. So far, five tournaments on the 2023 DP World Tour schedule have been produced remotely from the European Tour Productions HQ at IMG Studios in Stockley Park, UK. By significantly reducing the number of staff travelling to these tournaments, each remote production has saved approximately 87 tonnes of CO2.
Commenting on this new development Richard Bunn, Managing Director of European Tour Productions, said: “We are always on the look out for new technologies that will us get to net zero carbon by 2040. Hydrogen is the future of power distribution and has the added benefit of being more resilient than diesel units because they have fewer moving parts. Taking this leap, a first for our industry, at such a high-profile Rolex Series tournament is a big statement. This is just the start, and the plan is to roll-out hydrogen power across multiple tournaments in 2024. We also want to share what we have learnt with our industry peers, as tackling the climate emergency must be a collective effort.”
Mary-Claire Gill, Head of Production for European Tour Productions, at IMG, said: “This is another example of how we’re continually looking to improve the sustainability of our live event production, in addition to introducing remote production for the DP World Tour this year. Not only is this a world-first for sport, but it shows how the media industry can innovate to bring change and both European Tour Productions and the DP World Tour have been fantastic partners with us on this journey.”
The European Tour Group partnered with IMG in 1992, to produce and distribute its live world feed. In 2023, IMG is producing the live world feed for 24 DP World Tour events globally including The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, The Scottish Open and DP World Tour Championship. IMG’s agile content team also creates innovative and engaging highlights, features, and digital for every DP World Tour event, produced from IMG’s world-class studio facilities at Stockley Park that are powered by 100% renewable energy and home to the latest remote production technologies.
Andrew Cunningham, CEO of GeoPura, said: "We’re incredibly proud to partner with the DP World Tour and IMG to power the TV production of the 2023 BMW PGA Championship with green hydrogen. The tour is to be congratulated for investing in the replacement of polluting diesel generators with our hydrogen power units. This forward thinking not only means saving tonnes of carbon emissions but also improves local air and water quality, creating a better experience for players, spectators, staff and neighbours - all without compromising on the production quality. Our HPUs deliver consistent, quiet, and emissions-free energy that can be relied on, even for live, high profile outside broadcasts such as this.
“This groundbreaking milestone demonstrates how hydrogen power will revolutionise sports events and contribute to a more sustainable, enjoyable future. It’s great to see the unit at Wentworth and we look forward to continuing our partnership and expanding the use of hydrogen across future tournaments, helping meet the Tour's net zero carbon goals and inspiring others in the industry to embrace cleaner energy solutions."
Peter Ward, Head of Operations of Film and TV Services, added: “Sustainable power provision is something we are constantly working towards, finding new solutions to make productions greener and drive towards the zero emissions goal. Being able to supply a total emission free power package for the 2023 BMW PGA Championships is a very exciting opportunity and really looking forward to working with everyone to deliver this event.”
The Green Drive is a dedicated strategy and initiative which focuses on climate action, circular economy, promotion of nature and strengthening sustainable communities, developed and delivered in partnership with GEO Sustainable Golf Foundation.