Champion appointed to drive forward industrial decarbonisation centre

A champion appointed by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will develop plans for a new centre which will help to achieve the government’s net zero ambitions by addressing challenges to the decarbonisation of the industrial sector.

Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer, of Heriot-Watt University, will work with academic, industry, policymakers and other stakeholders to develop a proposal for the Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC).

The new centre, supported with £20 million through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), will foster collaboration between researchers and industry, developing interdisciplinary research and innovation to address complex social and environmental challenges.

Science Minister Chris Skidmore said: “The UK is committed to slashing carbon emissions and tackling climate change, which is why we became the first major economy to legislate for net zero.

“The new centre delivers on our ambitions by bringing together leading experts to generate new ideas to accelerate the reduction of emissions across industrial sectors like manufacturing and automotive.”

The decarbonisation of industrial clusters poses a key challenge to the UK’s target to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 and the centre will develop new knowledge to facilitate this transformation while ensuring that solutions are economically competitive.

It will seek to accelerate investment, and reduce costs, risks, timescales and emissions, by bringing together established and new technology-based areas.

Professor Maroto-Valer has been allocated £100,000 through the ISCF Industrial Decarbonisation challenge to develop the bid for the centre. The full proposal for the centre will then be assessed.

Bryony Livesey, Challenge Director, Industrial Decarbonisation said: “Reducing carbon emissions from the UK’s industrial sector is hugely important to meeting the net zero target by 2050.

“The Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre will play an important role in meeting the target, facilitating the collaboration that is needed to address challenges posed by decarbonisation.”

Professor Maroto-Valer said: “My role is to place the UK at the forefront of the global shift to Clean Growth. I firmly believe we will be able to safeguard existing jobs and local economies whilst creating new opportunities for prosperity.

“We will jointly reduce costs, risks, timescales and emissions whilst considering economic and policy implications and institutional reforms. We aim to create the world’s first net-zero carbon industrial cluster by 2040 and at least one low-carbon cluster by 2030.”

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