Cutting-edge scientists will be doing ground-breaking research into solving the greatest problem facing the world – and they will be doing it in Swindon.

The University of Bath's Innovation Centre for Applied Sustainable Technologies has officially been opened in the former GWR Carriage Works in London Street by South Swindon MP Robert Buckland.

The centre will see academics and staff from commercial companies working on ways to make new green technologies to solve some intractable problems such as how to make plastics truly recyclable, how to replace microplastics, how to create synthetic fuels which could replace all fossil fuels.

Crucially, the aim is also to be able to turn the research into a useable technology which will actually have an impact.

As a ceremony to open the centre the University of Bath's Vice-Chancellor Ian White said: "This is a unique innovation facility. It is a chance to make a real contribution to the global challenge of sustainability, it will kick start the UK's efforts to translate sustainable technologies into green growth.

"The centre is about innovation and scaling up and economic impact and green jobs."

Professor White said the staff who will be working at the centre come from seven departments of the Universities of Bath and Oxford, and will be working with 40 companies to deliver 10 joint projects in its first year of operations.

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland said of the Workstation in the Carriage Works, where the centre will operate for a year is "an incredible space, which in one way makes us look to the past in Swindon, but also makes us look forward.

"This space is for innovation. Innovation means making something new, but innovation is nothing new in Swindon. The town is home to thousands of patents; from the rail revolution up to the motor revolution and now into the current microchip revolution.

"Now we are on the cusp of the green revolution, changing from a linear economy to a cyclical economy."

he added: "This enter is about allowing us to conserve and sustain and hand on to the next generation a world fit for all of us to live in safely, and not just us, but the animals and plants we share it with."

Mar Buckland also wanted to see the centre impact Swindon: "The test will be if we look at the town's economy in five years’ time and see the number of people working in green technologies, maybe in Swindon's incredibly strong micro-business sector, is creeping up and up."

Professors Charlotte Williams and Matt Davidson will lead the teams of between 12 and 20 scientists at the centre. Prof Davidson said he wanted to work with other businesses and was already working with Create Studios, which has produced the Innovation Centre's video.

He said the new centre is "a one-stop shop for net zero."

The team will work in the Work Station spaces until moving next door into its own bespoke spaces in the Carriage Works which are still under construction.