The Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC) has today, Monday, 24 May, received £20m from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Research and Innovation Centre as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund programme to decarbonise the industrial sector. Durham Energy Institute researchers are involved in three of the projects funded for the first phase of IDRIC activity.
IDRIC will integrate best use of challenge-led research, transformative innovation, knowledge sharing and nurturing talent. The multidisciplinary research and cross-cutting activities undertaken by the centre will include carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, gasification, policy, economic, institutional and regulatory analysis, and knowledge exchange. A whole systems approach that integrates environmental, engineering and technical solutions alongside social and economic dimensions is critical to the delivery of industrial decarbonisation.
The world-leading, high-impact research and innovation centre, will act as the national focal point and international gateway for UK industrial decarbonisation. IDRIC will be headed by the UKRI’s Industrial Decarbonisation Champion Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer from Heriot Watt University, who will drive industrial decarbonisation as part of the UK’s journey to net-zero.
Commenting on the funding for the new centre, she said:
“I am delighted to lead IDRIC, the UK research and innovation hub for industrial decarbonisation that will set the foundations for the new industrial clusters of tomorrow. The 2020s will be key for the UK to set the pathway to meet its carbon targets and IDRIC will play a key role to accelerate the decarbonisation of industrial clusters. Working with the research and innovation community, we will demonstrate our international competitiveness to realise the opportunities offered by economies of scale in decarbonising industrial clusters and driving new business models.”
IDRIC will connect and empower the UK industrial decarbonisation community with over 140 partners, including industry/business, government/regulatory, third sector and academic organisations, working together as part of a drive to create the world’s first net-zero emissions industrial cluster by 2040 and four low-carbon clusters by 2030.
Decarbonising Industrial Clusters
IDRIC will work closely with the UK’s major industrial clusters to address the challenges of industrial decarbonisation. Professor Tony Roskilly from Durham Energy Institute, Durham University, is the Academic Lead for the Teesside Industrial Cluster, which has been at the forefront of the Government’s drive towards net-zero.
Professor Roskilly said:
“The vision of IDRIC is to ensure that our world-leading research and innovation is applied in our key industrial cluster areas, to accelerate UK decarbonisation and to boost UK industrial productivity. We are delighted to lead the academic activity at Teesside, and this Award will further complement our existing programmes in hydrogen transportation development and the decarbonisation of heating and cooling”.
In the first phase of IDRIC activity, researchers at Durham University will be involved in three projects. Two collaborative research projects with Teesside University working with Teesside Industrial cluster and a further project led by Birmingham University.
Dr Janie Ling-Chin, Dr Andrew Smallbone and Professor Roskilly from Durham University will team-up with Professor Dawood, Dr Huda Dawood and Dr Ruben Pinedo-Cuenca from Teesside University in two research projects:
- developing an integrated energy system planning tool for net-zero industrial clusters led by Durham and
- a smart decision modelling tool for decarbonisation of industrial clusters led by Teesside.
Professor Nashwan Dawood who is Associate Dean for R&I at Teesside University said:
“We are very excited to work with Professor Roskilly and his team to develop solutions for Net-zero to provide strategies to decarbonise industrial clusters in the UK and more specifically, the Teesside cluster’. Both Durham and Teesside Universities have complementary skills and have developed creditable research projects that merit funding by UKRI and we look forward to seeing this relationship develop further.”
Durham Co-Investigator, Dr Janie Ling-Chin said:
“We look forward to working closely with Professor Nashwan Dawood and other colleagues at Teesside University as well as our industrial partners to explore high-level planning scenarios whilst investigating energy systems and the interaction between different energy vectors, which will support local and national efforts for decarbonising the industrial clusters in the UK.”
The Durham team are also involved in a third IDRIC project with Birmingham University that will undertake research on gas compression and industrial thermal processing.
Supporting the Government’s plans for a Green Revolution
The Centre will support the Government mission on Industrial Decarbonisation and is funded until November 2024.
IDRIC is part of the Industrial Decarbonisation challenge, delivered through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) by UKRI, and part of the commitments set out in the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a green revolution. IDRIC will accelerate the transformation of industrial clusters into world leading low-carbon manufacturing hubs which will attract major inward investment, support job creation and underpin the UK’s decarbonisation ambitions.
This challenge aims to accelerate the cost-effective decarbonisation of industry by developing and deploying low-carbon technologies. It aims to enable the deployment of infrastructure at scale by the mid-2020s. It also aims to boost industry sector jobs, reduce carbon emissions and contribute significantly to the UK Government’s carbon target to reach net zero by 2050.
To kick start the process, six projects across the UK received £8 million in government funding to develop cluster plans to cut carbon emissions from major industrial areas. £171m were allocated in March to nine green technology projects to undertake engineering and design studies for the rollout of decarbonisation infrastructure, such as carbon capture, usage and storage and hydrogen.
In March 2021, the UK Government also announced a new Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy which sets out the government’s vision for building a competitive, greener future for the manufacturing and construction sector. As part of the government’s path to net zero by 2050, the measures will create and support 80,000 UK jobs over the next 30 years whilst cutting emissions by two-thirds in just 15 years.