Q. The Industrial Decarbonisation Research & Innovation Centre (IDRIC) has just been officially launched, with £20m funding announced – what is IDRIC’s ultimate aim, and what will you be focusing on to get there?
A. As we come out of the pandemic, it is critical that we put sustainability front and centre as we hit the reset button. The funding announcement reflects the kind of commitment to a green recovery that’s needed and it makes IDRIC a central element of the UK Government’s plan for a green industrial revolution.
IDRIC will take the lead on efforts to decarbonise the UK’s industrial sector, providing the supportive foundation for technology and policy development that will help the UK achieve its world-leading commitment to four low-carbon industrial clusters by 2030 and one net zero cluster by 2040.
We’ll do that by collaborating at pace and scale – we’re already working with over 140 partners; we’ll provide solutions that integrate technology and policy into different business models; and we’ll support the skills fit for the net zero future.
Q. How significant a piece of the puzzle will this work be as part of the overall race to net zero?
A. The UK’s commitment to net-zero means very simply there is no place to hide.
In the last 30 years, we’ve been able to decrease the UK emissions (~43%) while growing our GDP (~75%). These emissions reductions have mainly come from power generation and the roll out of renewables. But to meet our net-zero target, we need to reduce emissions across all sectors – and this is particularly challenging for sectors like transport and industry.
Clusters of energy-intensive large industries make a significant contribution to UK emissions. Over 50% of industrial emissions are concentrated in clusters and IDRIC is working with them to identify and develop opportunities to reduce costs, risks, tim