Creating a Carbon Framework for a decarbonised circular economy

IDRIC Project MIP 8.8

University of Bath
University of Birmingham
TATA Steel

Background

The ability to measure and account for carbon is critical to effective decarbonisation and also the survival of local industry. Nevertheless, multiple carbon accounting tools, which can be company or sector specific, mean that carbon reductions are hampered. Hence, what is good for the whole (e.g., international decarbonisation) is not what incentivises the parts. For example, global carbon reduction might temporarily result in local carbon increases (due to onshoring etc) or might be credited to a different company than that bearing the costs. We need a new approach. Industrial clusters have clear targets, but currently none of the carbon accounting frameworks fit the needs of the complex nature of decarbonising industry/business and clusters.

We will develop this, working synergistically with the Cross Catapult initiative, particularly with the Energy Systems Catapult, and our industrial partners to create a pathway to a Unified and Consistent Carbon Accounting Framework (UCF).

Prof Marcelle McManus

Marcelle McManus

Principal Investigator
University of Bath

Project Team

University of Bath:

Prof Linda Newnes
Dr Ariane Silveira Sbrice Pinto
Dr Lewis McDonald
Dr Jose Luis Hernandez Galvan

University of Birmingham:

Dr Jonathan Radcliffe
Professor Alok Choudhary
Dr Taofeed Ilb Mohammed
Dr Neha Metha
Dr Thomas Fender

Aim

Create a pathway to a Unified and Consistent Carbon Accounting Framework (UCF)

More Detail

Accurate and transparent carbon accounting is vital for decarbonisation. Intuitively, carbon accounting sounds simple. However, numerous methods for carbon accounting exist, including The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol and the ISO Standard, 14064. These, alongside other Science Based Targets through the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) form most accounting methods used by business and industry.

These methods are critical to underpin the polices and mechanisms used to aid decarbonisation globally and nationally. However, they vary in terms of complexity and methodologies and are a mix of compliance and voluntary based carbon reporting mechanisms.

Consider a product with a complex supply chain. If every part of the system uses a different accounting tool, determining the carbon impact of something is immediately more difficult both up and downstream. Where one company uses another’s “waste” to make a product – who gets the carbon credit?

Incentivising both companies to work together is critical for cluster success and global decarbonisation. If we bring more manufacturing onshore – our local carbon emissions go up, although global emissions may go down. Finally, as we move towards a circular economy where carbon is captured in materials over several life cycles, understanding and mapping this impact to the global environment as well as to local business and industry is critical.

Not only is it critical for decarbonisation – it is also critical for some the survival of industry and business.

The addition of carbon capture and storage (CCS) or carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) or GHG removal (GGR) add additional complexity. To be agile and add value, the carbon accounting method needs to be able to be used to incentivise both producer and user. As that carbon is kept captured for multiple uses, in a truly circular economy the atom of carbon may travel through many countries, still captured – but with multiple uses. An agile framework is needed to enable the measurement and monitoring of this over time and space, as well as to incentivise companies to work together for the overall common good.

Meet the Team

Prof Linda Newnes

Prof Linda Newnes

Prof Linda Newnes

University of Bath

Dr Ariane Silveira Sbrice Pinto

Dr Ariane Silveira Sbrice Pinto

University of Bath

Dr Lewis McDonald

Dr Lewis McDonald

University of Bath

Dr Jose Luis Hernandez Galvan

Dr Jose Luis Hernandez Galvan

University of Bath

Dr Jonathan Radcliffe

Dr Jonathan Radcliffe

Dr Jonathan Radcliffe

University of Birmingham

Professor Alok Choudhary

Professor Alok Choudhary

University of Birmingham

Dr Taofeed Ilb Mohammed

Dr Taofeed Ilb Mohammed

University of Birmingham

Dr Neha Metha

Dr Neha Metha

University of Birmingham

Dr Thomas Fender

Dr Thomas Fender

University of Birmingham

Prof Linda Newnes

Prof Linda Newnes

Prof Linda Newnes

University of Bath

Dr Ariane Silveira Sbrice Pinto

Dr Ariane Silveira Sbrice Pinto

University of Bath

Dr Lewis McDonald

Dr Lewis McDonald

University of Bath

Dr Jose Luis Hernandez Galvan

Dr Jose Luis Hernandez Galvan

University of Bath

Dr Jonathan Radcliffe

Dr Jonathan Radcliffe

Dr Jonathan Radcliffe

University of Birmingham

Professor Alok Choudhary

Professor Alok Choudhary

University of Birmingham

Dr Taofeed Ilb Mohammed

Dr Taofeed Ilb Mohammed

University of Birmingham

Dr Neha Metha

Dr Neha Metha

University of Birmingham

Dr Thomas Fender

Dr Thomas Fender

University of Birmingham

Associated Outputs