Drive towards UK industrial decarbonisation receives boost with 13 new research projects

The next wave of research that aims to accelerate the decarbonisation of the UK’s major industrial clusters has been announced by the Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC).

Backed by UKRI’s Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge, IDRIC has made the awards as part of its rolling “Flexible Funding Programme,” funding 13 new research projects to the tune of £1.2 million.

The UK aims to reduce industrial emissions by at least two-thirds by 2035. The research projects that have received funding each support that ambition, and tackle a range of challenges, from examining approaches to carbon capture and storage in different industries to exploring the potential for green hydrogen production and transforming waste carbon dioxide into valuable chemicals.

The first two phases of flexible funding announced today will support projects from the Universities of Durham, Cardiff, South Wales, Sussex, Oxford, Strathclyde, Lincoln, Liverpool, and Sheffield as well as Heriot-Watt University and Imperial College London.

Since its launch two years ago, IDRIC has awarded £16.8 million to over 60 diverse research projects across the UK. This current phase of rolling flexible funding has been developed to be responsive to emerging industry needs so that IDRIC can support activities that are able to realise a rapidly achievable impact. Such funding has the potential for a positive outcome with minimal risk and expenditure.

The funding announced today extends IDRIC’s current programme which is accelerating research and innovation through a whole systems approach. IDRIC’s funding ensures that critical decarbonisation technologies are developed and tailored for industry purposes. As such, IDRIC’s research and innovation programme is now delivering outputs that are driving efficiencies, cost reductions and new green business opportunities.

IDRIC’s key areas of impact also include creating an industrial decarbonisation “Knowledge Hub” for research projects and cluster activities; supporting policymakers at both the UK and devolved levels and also carrying out important research related to skills and training for academia, industry and government.

Since the commencement of its work in 2021, IDRIC has collaborated with more than 200 partners and stakeholders including industry, community representatives and policymakers to address urgent innovation needs.

Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer, Director of IDRIC said:

“IDRIC’s programme has demonstrated that we have the tools to be responsive to industry needs and become an engine of green growth. This new round of flex funding will help develop practices that significantly aid the decarbonisation of industry.

“We have successfully developed an influential and impactful network at a critical time, bringing academics and industries together, across UK industrial clusters. This is an important step towards achieving Net Zero for the UK industry in an integrated and innovative manner.

“IDRIC’s progress over its two years has been wide-ranging. By integrating findings from across IDRIC’s research portfolio, we are directly informing plans for decarbonisation in some of the UK’s largest industrial clusters and generating collaboration between those clusters and academic research teams local to them.”

Bryony Livesey, Director, Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge, UKRI:

 “The new round of funding by IDRIC aligns with the UK Government’s commitment to support and drive Net Zero goals. The quality of projects is a testament to IDRIC’s ability to collaborate with high-quality researchers to find meaningful solutions to decarbonising industries in the UK.”

Notes to editor

Summary of projects to receive funding:

  1. High-Efficiency Green Hydrogen Production and Compression for Industrial Decarbonisation: Durham University

Project Principal Investigator: Dr Sumit Roy

Project Area: Producing green hydrogen 

  1. Ammonium Salt Formation in Impure CO₂ Streams: Imperial College London

Project Principal Investigator: J P Martin Trusler

Project Area: Capturing impurities in carbon dioxide

  1. Visual Intelligence and Industrial Decarbonisation in South Wales: Cardiff University

Project Principal Investigator: Nick Pidgeon

Project Area: Mapping industrial decarbonisation

  1. Novel Chemical Strategies for the Conversion of Industrial Derived CO₂ to Value Chemicals: University of South Wales

Project Principal Investigator: Professor Gareth R. Owen

Project Area: Transforming captured carbon dioxide into commodity chemicals

  1. Towards A Sustainable Phase Change Material (TASPCM): Heriot-Watt University

Project Principal Investigator: Dr.Jeannie Ziang Yie TAN

Project Area: Creating sustainable materials that can store and release heat

  1. Global Lessons on Net Zero: Harnessing best practices of industrial decarbonisation for UK clusters: University of Sussex

Project Principal Investigator: Marfuga Iskandarova

Project Area: Developing decarbonisation policy

  1. Synergistic process for carbon capture, waste heat recovery and hydrogen production: University of Oxford

Project Principal Investigator: Dr Binjian Nie

Project Area: Integrating carbon capture, waste heat recovery and hydrogen production

  1. The wider economy and competitiveness impacts of employing pre- and post-combustion carbon capture in UK industries (ECONCC): University of Strathclyde

Project Principal Investigator: Dr Antonios Katris

Project Area: Capturing carbon dioxide from industrial processes

  1. Determine Optimum Pyrolysis Condition for Biochar to be used as Metallurgical Coal Replacement – In Support of Deep Decarbonisation of large UK industrial emitters based within the Humber cluster: University of Lincoln

Project Principal Investigator: Dr Amir Badiee

Project Area: Using sustainable alternatives to coal in steel making

  1. CapCon – conversion of captured carbon dioxide: University of Liverpool

Project Principal Investigator: Prof Alex Cowan

Project Area: Transforming captured carbon dioxide into commodity chemicals

  1. On site trail of OXYHYWATER – a Novel Net Zero Wastewater Treatment Process: University of South Wales

Project Principal Investigator: Prof Alan Guwy

Project Area: Decarbonising the process of wastewater treatment

  1. Augmented engineering digital tools for cluster-based CCUS design (AECCS): Heriot-Watt University

Project Principal Investigator: Prof Susana Garcia

Project Area: Using AI to design the most efficient way for carbon capture in industrial clusters

  1. Valorising Incineration Bottom Ash into Cement rich in Ternesite (VIBACT): University of Sheffield

Project Principal Investigator: Dr Aniruddha Baral

Project Area: Making cement that results in lower carbon emissions