Decarbonising industrial clusters in the UK

By Rebecca Bell, SCCS Policy and Research Officer

A cluster-based approach to industrial carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the UK is moving a step closer to deployment with two programmes being funded by the UK Government under the £170 million Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Industrial Clusters Mission.

The first is to develop plans to decarbonise an industrial cluster in the UK, delivering significant emissions reductions by 2030: this will include engineering designs, simulations, commercial arrangements, impact assessments and baseline measurements.

The second is to prepare roadmaps to develop a net-zero industrial cluster by 2040, with a portfolio of projects that will involve a variety of industries and stakeholders.

Supporting these programmes will be a £20m Research and Innovation Centre, with a brand new multidisciplinary research and innovation programme to accelerate investment in industrial decarbonisation, and reduce costs, risks, timescales and emissions.

Although the calls are technology-neutral, it is thought inconceivable that industrial decarbonisation could be achieved without CCS, although it will be interesting to see what other approaches are proposed, and how they can be used in combination to have the most impact on the UK’s emissions.

CCS advocates in the UK have long been stressing the importance of industrial CCS clusters, where a range of industries can share the CO2 transport and storage infrastructure – this approach both brings down capital costs and reduces risk in the system.  These two programmes will make this clustering approach a reality and enable a demonstration of low- and net-zero industry that can be replicated across the world.

(Infographic courtesy of Industrial Energy Directorate, BEIS)