Policy Hub

IDRIC is a new UK research and innovation centre that supports industry and policy makers in accelerating industrial decarbonisation.

Decarbonising the UK’s largest industrial clusters is a key step towards reaching the UK’s Net Zero target.

Launched in 2021, IDRIC is a new research and innovation centre that combines engineering, environmental and technical knowledge with economic, social and policy expertise to support industrial decarbonisation.

Together with 142 partners, IDRIC has initiated its first wave of over 40 research and innovation projects and aims to support policy makers and regulators in creating the enabling environment for industrial transition in the UK.

IDRIC is led by UK Champion for Industrial Decarbonisation, Prof. Mercedes Maroto-Valer (Heriot Watt University), and backed by £20m from UKRI’s UK Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge.

Industrial decarbonisation

Reaching the UK’s target of Net Zero emissions by 2050 needs a significant reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions across the economy and society. Energy-intensive industries such as iron and steel, cement, oil and gas, and chemicals are significant contributors to the economy and local communities, but also to the UK’s overall CO2 emissions. Industrial emissions are highly concentrated geographically. Figure 1 shows the UK’s largest industrial clusters by CO2 emissions.

The UK Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy published in March 2021 sets the goal of achieving at least four low-carbon industrial clusters by 2030 and one fully net zero industrial cluster by 2040. This requires technological innovations and infrastructure to be deployed at scale, effective collaborations across stakeholders, as well as the decarbonising UK’s industry and unlock the wider social and economic benefits of decarbonisation.

IDRIC’s contribution

As an interdisciplinary research and innovation centre addressing industry challenges through a whole systems approach, IDRIC’s key contributions will be:

  • Innovation – Bringing together technological innovations aligned with the decarbonisation priorities of the industrial clusters.
  • Policy – Supporting the development of effective policy and regulatory frameworks with environmental, social and economic expertise.
  • Dissemination – Encouraging knowledge exchange and stakeholder dialogue across industries, government and society.
  • Impact – Enabling viable solutions which reduce the costs, risks and timelines of decarbonising UK’s industry and unlock the wider social and economic benefits of decarbonisation.

Credit: Climate Change Committee & Element Energy Ltd.

Industrial Clusters Heatmap

Research areas

IDRIC has launched its first wave of over 40 multidisciplinary research projects (please see the list on the next page). Together, these collaborations address key cross-cutting challenges.

Low carbon technologies

Innovation in low carbon technologies has the potential to drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions from industrial sites and the UK economy more widely. Working closely with key partners in industrial clusters, IDRIC research supports promising developments, for example, for:

  • Fuel switching and energy storage (electrification, hydrogen and bio-fuels)
  • Carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS)
  • Greenhouse Gas Removal (e.g. through the capture of carbon from the atmosphere, organic materials or from waste)

Systems and scale up

Businesses in industrial clusters share infrastructure and supply chains. These synergies can help to cost-effectively deploy and scale up the production, use and transport of new forms of technologies and energy sources. IDRIC research contributes to:

  • Innovative planning and decision-making tools
  • Development of business models and regulatory frameworks
  • Collaboration and sharing of innovative practice across industries and the wider economy

Social, economic and policy aspects

Industrial decarbonisation will build on existing infrastructure and skills while creating new jobs and opportunities in these regions and laying the foundations for providing low-carbon energy to the wider UK society. IDRIC analysis informs initiatives to develop:

  • Skills pathways for low carbon industry
  • Roadmaps that support a just transition
  • Public dialogue and support

Support for policy makers

As well as helping industries to transform, IDRIC pools the UK’s top research expertise in this fast-moving area to provide policy makers with reliable, impartial and policy-relevant analysis.

As a one-stop shop for industrial decarbonisation research and innovation, IDRIC provides:

  • Accessible and up-to-date information on key policy and technological questions
  • Regular briefings on leading research advances from across IDRIC’s portfolio
  • Targeted support for policy and regulatory initiatives
  • Ongoing dialogue between research, industry, policy and local communities
  • Flexible funding for new research responding to emerging issues

To support national and local policy makers, we are keen to hear your priorities and questions relating to industrial decarbonisation.

New ideas welcome!

IDRIC has funding available to support emerging research and innovation needs.

If you would like more information or would like to feed into the project plan, please contact us

Green industry