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The Cluster runs along 50 miles of the south coast of England, spanning Heathrow to Bournemouth, and including the Isle of Wight.
Solent: Infographic of the Solent Cluster’s vision for decarbonisation. Source – The Solent Cluster
The Solent region is projected to contribute up to £22billion to GDP, through a new hydrogen production facility.
Our Academic Cluster Leads provide strategic input and connectivity with the industrial clusters and act as a bridge between the research community and activities within the clusters.
Dr Lindsay-Marie Armstrong is an Associate Professor within Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton and the Chair of the Clean Carbon University Strategic Research Group which is a network of over 150+ academic and industrial partners driving researcher and innovation towards a decarbonised future. She sits on the UK Industrial Decarbonisation Multi-cluster Committee and is an adviser and member of the Industrial Key Stakeholder forum supporting BEIS with the scoping of the industrial decarbonisation agenda. Her research is heavily multidisciplinary bridging the fields of chemical engineering, mechanical engineering and mathematics as she develops computational tools for accelerating scale-up of reactive technologies. She has extensive knowledge of reactive multiphase modelling, particularly for carbon capture and utilisation technologies.
The Solent Cluster partnership represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for communities, the region, and the UK and can affect real change in energy production and consumption. The cluster will play a fundamental role in the world’s fight against climate change, enabling the UK to reach Net Zero emissions by 2050.
The aim is for the Solent to embrace future fuel technologies as a reliable alternative in a wide variety of industries and sectors. In becoming a leading centre for low carbon investment, the cluster can grow the regional economy, protect skilled jobs, and create new employment opportunities in the technologies and industries of tomorrow, while significantly reducing carbon emissions.
Research and innovation will enable us to:
With Solent’s critical role in the future of CO2 shipping and its exploration of local storage options, IDRIC is funding research to both optimise CO2 shipping infrastructure and to provide up-to-date information on all potential UK storage resources. Projects are designing toolkits to better understand the socio-economic impact of fuel switching, as well as addressing the skills gaps involved in this transition.
This is just a snapshot of the projects we’re funding to support the region; our full portfolio of project with the Solent is below:
Smart policy and governance for industrial decarbonisation, University of Sussex, University of Manchester, Queen’s University Belfast
This project will examine both the policy mixes and governance dynamics of industrial decarbonisation in the UK. It will pursue three integrated outputs:
CO2 Ports to pipelines, University of Southampton
Shipping of CO2 is the critical enabling action required to facilitate Carbon Capture and Storage.
The Carbon Capture and Storage National strategy is to store around 50Mtpa by 2035, as set out in the Net Zero Strategy.
CO2Stored 2.0 - Next generation of the UK’s CO2 storage database, British Geological Survey
The world-leading UK national CO2 storage database CO2Stored provides freely available detailed information on more than 570 prospective storage units around the UK. The database has been the starting point for all recent public-private and industry storage capacity appraisals. It provides the first, significant step to industry and researchers to inform their plans for UK-wide industrial decarbonisation by CCUS.
Large-scale deployment of a hydrogen energy system, Energy Institute
The Energy Institute held a hydrogen energy transition workshop with stakeholders in hydrogen production, storage and distribution, which identified the following needs to facilitate the large-scale deployment of a hydrogen energy system:
The relative lifecycle analysis of hydrogen value chain options, both for:
The basis for making a demonstration of safety (a ‘safety case’) for facilities and operations in the foreseeable hydrogen value chain.
These needs were further scoped into three research projects.
Utilisation of co-produced oxygen from electrolysis to enable deep decarbonisation, Heriot-Watt University
UK clusters are major consumers of industrial oxygen gas, in particular steel producers, chemical plants and general manufacturing. Currently, the global £44billion oxygen market is growing 4-5% annually and deep decarbonisation technologies can be key suppliers. Hence, the main challenge this project is focusing on is innovative solutions for utilisation of co-produced oxygen to enable deep decarbonisation to fully benefit from the benefit of water electrolysis.
Identifying optimal sites for BECCS, University of Southampton, University of Exeter, University of California
To achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the Committee on Climate Change has advised the UK should:
1) Quadruple low-carbon electricity supply
2) Deploy bioenergy with carbon capture & storage
• Where is BECCS infrastructure going to be located?
• How will the environment be affected by the land use change associated with the deployment of BECCS?
Industrial clusters and whole energy system modelling , Energy Systems Catapult
The Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge (IDC) was set up to accelerate innovation and deployment of low carbon technologies and associated infrastructure while simultaneously stimulating economic growth within a wide variety of industrial sectors. The industrial clusters are significant hubs of economic strength both within their local communities and nationally. It is important that the significant reduction in carbon emissions required to achieve net zero maintains or increases this economic activity both during and after the transition. The technologies behind decarbonisation routes for industry are largely understood and at high technology readiness levels. The critical information that is needed to build investor confidence and transition to these low carbon technologies, is to understand which combination of these technologies and underpinning infrastructure offers the best economic benefits in the long term, when coupled to the transitioning energy system.
Development of competence, skills and training for the transition to hydrogen, Energy Institute
The Energy Institute held a hydrogen energy transition workshop with stakeholders in hydrogen production, storage and distribution, which identified that there are insufficient suitably qualified/certified technicians, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, control and instrumentation engineers, project managers and other front line staff to cater for a transition from a petroleum based energy sector to a hydrogen based energy sector. In addition, there lacks the required competence profiles for the comparable roles, and suitable training to facilitate re-skilling against those profiles.
Enabling skills for the industrial decarbonisation supply chain, University of Chester
The purpose of this project is to enable development of the core and supply chain workforce needed to deliver Industrial Decarbonisation across the UK’s Industrial Clusters. This goal will be achieved through establishing a mechanism whereby the skills requirement can be determined and by promoting pathways to realising these skills. This process will not only help deliver a prepared workforce for the industrial clusters but will drive supply chain development and form a coherent community between Government, academia, training providers and industry. It will also afford a skills mechanism which may be exploited to the benefit of other industrial grand challenge areas.