Industrial decarbonisation challenge

Cooling towers at a coal fueled power station

This challenge supports the development of low-carbon technologies that will increase the competitiveness of industry and contribute to the UK’s drive for clean growth. It will reduce the carbon footprint of heavy and energy intensive industries in the UK, such as iron and steel, cement, refining and chemicals.

It provides up to £170 million, matched by £261 million from industry, to invest in developing technologies such as carbon capture and storage and hydrogen fuel switching. The technologies will be deployed and scaled up within the UK’s largest industrial clusters.

The six largest industrial clusters have been mapped by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and reported in the Industrial Clusters Mission. They secure 1.5 million jobs and annually export goods and services worth £320 billion. But they also release around 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, equating to one third of all business and industrial emissions.

Funding from the challenge will drive industrial decarbonisation whilst enhancing productivity for these regions, to create new jobs for a low-carbon future.

Read more about the industrial clusters mission (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Grand Challenge missions).

This challenge is the first active funding stream as part of a wider government commitment to cut industrial emissions. It will develop at least one low-carbon industrial cluster by 2030, and the world’s first net-zero carbon industrial cluster by 2040 in support of the Industrial Clusters Mission.

The challenge is split into three workstreams:

  • deployment
  • cluster plans
  • industrial decarbonisation research and innovation centre.

Projects so far

The stage one deployment and cluster projects were established to develop feasibility studies over a four-month duration.

The £132 million deployment investment will enable significant reductions in industrial CO2 emissions in industrial clusters. The stage one deployment projects include:

We have invited successful stage one projects to submit proposals for stage two to fully develop the concepts for decarbonisation within the cluster.

Cluster plans

The £8 million cluster plans investment will produce a blueprint to achieve net-zero emissions for each industrial cluster.

We have awarded six research projects in the ‘Decarbonisation of industrial clusters: cluster plan’ competition. This will ensure the UK has a net-zero industrial cluster by 2040 and at least one low-carbon industrial cluster by 2030.

The six cluster plan projects are:

Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC)

This £20 million ISCF investment will advance cutting-edge decarbonisation research through a virtual multidisciplinary research and innovation centre.

The deployment, cluster plans and IDRIC workstreams will operate on a collaborative basis through knowledge sharing, industry engagement and collective leadership.

Read more about IDRIC.

Read more about the stage one winners of the Deployment and Cluster Plans competition.

Last updated: 24 May 2021

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