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The University of Southampton

Southampton to play key role in £20m innovation hub for industrial decarbonisation

Published: 4 June 2021
Industrial Pollution

Researchers from the University of Southampton are supporting the UK’s ambitions to tackle carbon emissions from industrial clusters with the launch of a £20 million centre for research and innovation.

The Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC), led by Heriot-Watt University, will work closely with the UK’s major industrial clusters to address the challenges of industrial decarbonisation.

IDRIC is a diverse community of more than 140 partners, including the University of Southampton, brought together to create the world’s first net-zero emissions industrial cluster by 2040 and four low-carbon clusters by 2030.

Dr Lindsay-Marie Armstrong, Director of Student Recruitment in Southampton’s School of Engineering, is Academic Lead for the establishment of a Southampton/Solent Industrial Decarbonisation Cluster.

IDRIC is part of the Industrial Decarbonisation challenge, delivered through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and part of the commitments set out in the Prime Minister’s 10-Point Plan for a green revolution. It 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.

Dr Armstrong, Chair of the Clean Carbon University Strategic Research Group (USRG), says: “The formation of IDRIC is critical in supporting clusters at an earlier stage of their development, such as the Solent Cluster. This is an extensive project bringing together regional decarbonisation efforts from stakeholders and policy makers across the Solent region.

“Over the next three years the project will support the development of a robust decarbonisation pathway integrating solutions to regional engineering, technical and environmental challenges whilst incorporating local perspectives on behaviour, economics and policy. Coupling the insight and expertise from more established Clusters with the transformative, challenge-led research from IDRIC will enable swifter development of the UK’s industrial clusters.”

A specific IDRIC project, led by Professor Damon Teagle of the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute at the University of Southampton, will look at how we can transport CO2 by ships from a variety of industries from clusters with large CO2-emissions but no available geostorage, such as the Solent or South Wales, to other clusters with excess storage capacities.

In addition to understanding the shipping and port-side infrastructure required, this project will also involve the development of regulatory frameworks between onshore and offshore regulators as well as understanding the wider public acceptance of such approaches.

Another project, led by Professor Gail Taylor of the School of Biological Sciences at Southampton, will develop modelling tools to identify optimum locations for power plants operating on bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) based on regional environmental and social factors.

For further information visit the the UK Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC) website.

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