Adopting the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation to net zero emissions by 2050 demonstrates a clear commitment to leadership in the face of climate emergency. For this to be achieved, decarbonising the industrial sector represents a critical challenge, as industry accounts for around a quarter of all UK greenhouse gas emissions – with more than two thirds of these industrial emissions coming from a small number of energy intensive industries. Preparatory work presented in the Industrial Decarbonisation & Energy Efficiency Roadmap Action Plans for the 7 most energy intensive industrial sectors indicates that the optimum mix of options to decarbonise varies widely between sectors and across regions.
There has been significant investment from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on low carbon industry (CCUS, hydrogen, energy efficiency, etc), resulting in building up critical infrastructure and expertise. However, at present, decarbonisation solutions are not economically competitive. While, in the medium to long term, this may be addressed by regulatory push, it is also critical to the UK’s international competitiveness that this is underpinned by implementation of world-leading innovation, and therefore, ensuring research and innovation communities work together for timely industrial implementation. Moreover, the CCUS Cost Challenge report highlighted the opportunities to maximise economies of scale in clusters and drive business models.
The aim of IDRIC is to accelerate challenge-led research and transformative innovation that empowers UK’s research excellence and connects the research and innovation landscape.
IDRIC will lead the world in realising the opportunities for industrial decarbonisation by integrating best use of research and innovation investments, significant advocacy, knowledge sharing, networking and translation activity.
IDRIC will work closely with the UK 6 major industrial clusters to address the challenges of industrial decarbonisation.
IDRIC will conduct a series of consultation and engagement events with industry, academia, policymakers and technical experts to develop a decarbonisation proposal to UKRI for approval this August. The delivery phase is due to get underway in September and is backed by £20m funding until 2024. The initiative is part of the £170m Industrial Decarbonisation challenge, delivered through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) by UKRI