UKRI announces winners of industrial cluster competition

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced the winners of the second phase of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s (ISCF) decarbonisation of industrial clusters: cluster plan competition.

Six projects across the UK will receive a share of £8 million in funding as part of a drive to create the world’s first net zero emissions industrial zone by 2040.

The six winners are a combination of:

  • consultancies
  • development companies
  • local authorities
  • partnerships
  • consortiums.

Net zero industrial clusters

The winners have won funding for plans to work towards net zero industrial clusters in six UK regions:

  • in South Wales the cluster plan will be led by CR Plus consultancy
  • in the West Midlands (the Black Country) the Black Country Consortium will be the lead
  • in the Tees Valley the cluster plan will be overseen by the Tees Valley Combined Authority
  • in the North West the cluster plan will be led by Peel Environmental
  • in the Humber the cluster plan will be led by the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership
  • in Scotland the cluster plan will be led by NECCUS, an alliance of industries and experts.

All of the winners have produced initial plans for reducing emissions across these major industrial clusters.

Over the subsequent years the winning projects will build on these preliminary roadmaps, bringing together industry and public sector bodies in each region in a comprehensive effort to devise a route to net zero emissions. These findings will be integrated for all of the regional cluster plans and will draw conclusions which will be valuable for the UK as a whole.

Reducing emissions

The challenge has been to reduce emissions while maintaining the productive and competitive strength of the industrial cluster. Solutions include integrating the processes of multiple industries and sectors to save energy. Examples of this include:

  • using waste heat from metal manufacturing to generate steam for use in urban agriculture
  • identifying the best decarbonisation approaches options that will work for multiple industries, in order to benefit from economies of scale.

The competition forms part of UKRI’s ISCF Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge (IDC). The challenge aims to lay the foundations for scalable and replicable industrial cluster decarbonisation through coordinated investment in:

  • research
  • technology demonstrations
  • shared infrastructure
  • research and cluster collaboration.

Green industrial revolution

Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said:

The UK is leading the world’s green industrial revolution, with ambitious targets to decarbonise our economy and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

As we continue to level up the UK economy and build back greener, we must ensure every sector is reducing carbon emissions to help us achieve our commitment to net zero emissions by 2050.

This funding will help key industrial areas meet the challenge of contributing to our cleaner future while maintaining their productive and competitive strengths.

Bryony Livesey, Challenge Director, Industrial Decarbonisation, said:

Today’s announcement shows that the industrial clusters campaign is proceeding at pace. This second phase of the competition asks companies and partners to plan for comprehensive changes to industries, products and supply lines. This is a crucial step in the government’s plans to develop cost-effective decarbonisation in industrial hubs that tackle the emissions challenge UK industry faces. The move to low carbon industry is a huge opportunity, with the chance for the UK to take the lead and seize a large share of a growing global market.

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