UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has today announced a milestone in UK decarbonisation, with the award of £171 million funding across nine significant projects.
The funding is being awarded through UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) decarbonisation of industrial clusters phase two: deployment competition. It is delivered by the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge.
Significant emissions reduction
In the competition, projects were expected to be able to support delivery of significant emissions reduction in at least one UK industrial cluster by 2030. This is in line with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy industrial clusters mission.
The nine winning projects include:
- three offshore storage sites for CO2 (in the north-west, north-east and Scotland)
- CO2 capture and/or hydrogen production projects in the north-west, Scotland, Teesside, Humberside (two projects) and south Wales.
The competition ran through the second half of 2020. It aims to deliver significant reductions in industrial CO2 emissions in industrial clusters by 2030 through development of offshore storage and onshore infrastructure.
Projects were required to demonstrate:
- the regional and national significance of their proposals
- how net zero could be delivered in their region by 2040, supporting the UK target of net zero by 2050.
The successful projects include:
- HyNet’s plan to develop a full-chain hydrogen project in the North West, including repurposing old oil and gas assets for CO2 transport and storage
- south Wales industrial cluster’s plans to provide the UK with lower carbon steel and reduced carbon cement products that will benefit wider UK infrastructure.
Low-carbon industrial sector
Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:
"We were the first major economy to put into law our target to end our contribution to climate change, and today we’re taking steps to be the first major economy to have its own low-carbon industrial sector.
While reaching our climate targets will require extensive change across our economy, we must do so in a way that protects jobs, creates new industries and attracts inward investment – without pushing emissions and business abroad.
Ahead of COP26, the UK is showing the world how we can cut emissions, create jobs and unleash private investment and economic growth. Today’s strategy builds on this winning formula as we transition low carbon and renewable energy sources, while supporting the competitiveness of Britain’s industrial base."
Bryony Livesey, challenge director for the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge, UKRI, said:
"The announcement of this funding is a significant step in our progress of supporting largescale decarbonisation efforts, and we are looking forward to working alongside the projects as they put their revolutionary plans into action.
The benefits to these regional clusters will be substantial, both in terms of the environmental impact, as well as the opportunity for jobs and increasing the global competitiveness of industry in these areas. It once again demonstrates the UK’s industry as being at the forefront of innovation and creating greener solutions for the future."
Cutting-edge research and innovation
This investment adds to UKRI’s long tradition of investing in cutting-edge research and innovation to understand, tackle and mitigate the effects of climate change.
This year the UK hosts the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) summit in November. UKRI will use its role as a steward of the research and innovation system to bring our communities together. We aim to create sustainable and resilient solutions and encourage new behaviours and new ways of living that enable the UK to reach net zero by 2050.
About the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge
UKRI’s £171 million Industrial Decarbonisation programme is part of the ISCF. It aims to support the development of low-carbon technologies that will increase the competitiveness of industry and contribute to the UK’s drive for clean growth.
It will reduce the carbon footprint of heavy and energy intensive industries in the UK, such as:
- iron and steel
- refining and chemicals.
Funding will be focused on developing technologies such as:
- carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS)
- hydrogen fuel switching.
The technologies will be deployed and scaled up within the UK’s largest industrial clusters.
Funding from the challenge will drive industrial decarbonisation whilst enhancing productivity for these regions, to create new jobs for a low-carbon future.
This challenge is the first active funding stream as part of a wider government commitment to cut industrial emissions. It will develop at least one low-carbon industrial cluster by 2030, and the world’s first net zero carbon industrial cluster by 2040 in support of the industrial clusters mission.
This article was first published on 17 March by Innovate UK.