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Industrial decarbonisation

This challenge will boost development of low-carbon technologies to increase competitiveness of key industrial regions and support the UK’s drive for Clean Growth.


Industrial decarbonisation

What is the Industrial Decarbonisation challenge?

This challenge aims to accelerate the cost-effective decarbonisation of industry by developing and deploying low-carbon technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen fuel switching, at scale in the UK, across our industrial clusters. Indeed, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recognises that CCS must be deployed to reach net-zero targets, and our funding is fully aligned with this commitment.

The largest six industrial clusters, mapped by BEIS and reported in the Industrial Clusters Mission secure 1.5 million jobs, and annually export goods and services worth £320 billion to the economy. However, they release around 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year equating to one third of all business and industrial emissions.  Funding from the challenge will drive industrial decarbonisation whilst enhancing productivity for these regions, to create new jobs for a low-carbon future.

This investment is the first active funding stream as part of a wider government commitment to cut industrial emissions.  It will facilitate at least one low-carbon industrial cluster by 2030 and the world’s first net-zero carbon industrial cluster by 2040 in support of the Industrial Clusters Mission.  These ambitious targets place the UK at the forefront of a global shift towards clean growth.

What’s the investment?

The Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge programme is funded by £170 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) and will be matched by funding of up to £261 million from industry.

What are the opportunities?

The delivery of the Challenge programme is split into 3 workstreams:

  • Deployment
  • Cluster Plans
  • Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC)

Stage 1 Deployment and Cluster Plan projects were established to develop initial feasibility studies over a 4-month duration.  Stage 2 projects will adopt a comprehensive approach with Deployment supporting the delivery of significant emissions reduction whereas Cluster Plans will develop a blueprint to achieve net zero for their cluster.  


A £132 million ISCF investment which will enable significant reductions in industrial CO2 emissions in industrial clusters.

This funding will demonstrate and validate at-scale decarbonisation through: engineering plans, permits and business plans; the demonstration of cost-effective technologies and processes; enabling the deployment of core infrastructure at scale for further decarbonisation; and through supply chain, jobs and skills creation.

Stage 1 Deployment projects brought together first-of-a-kind, multi-sector consortia developing feasibility studies.  Successful projects from this stage have been invited to submit proposals for Stage 2 which will fully develop the concepts for decarbonisation within the cluster. 

Stage 1 projects

Read more about this in our news section: 'UKRI allocates funding for Industrial Decarbonisation Deployment and Roadmap projects'. 

Stage 1 Deployment projects included 34 partner organisations

Costain, Pale Blue Dot, NECCUS, Doosan Babcock, OGCI, NEPIC, BOC, TVCA, ITM Power, Element Energy, Progressive Energy, Peel Environmental, CF Fertilisers, Essar Oil, Tarmac, Tata Steel, University of South Wales, RWE, CR Plus, Valero, Flexible Process Consultants, Capital Law, Equinor, Keadby Generation, National Grid, Centrica, VPI Immingham, Saltend Cogeneration Company, ABP, Drax, Uniper, Total, Phillips 66 & Px.

Stage 2 Deployment projects will commence in early 2021 and will be completed by March 2024.

Cluster Plans

An £8 million ISCF investment producing a blueprint to achieve net-zero emissions for each industrial cluster.

This funding will overcome barriers to different 2030 decarbonisation and 2040 net-zero options for UK industrial clusters which include: technology, infrastructure and policy gaps; business plans, regulatory and financing models; the identification of skills and training needs; and the formation of a broad coalition of support.

Stage 1 Cluster Plan projects addressed critical areas for decarbonisation within the cluster detailing further exploration for Stage 2.  The winners from this stage have been invited to compete for a total of up to £8 million in phase two of the competition to develop a comprehensive blueprint for major UK industrial clusters.

Stage 1 projects

Read more about this in our news section: 'UKRI allocates funding for Industrial Decarbonisation Deployment and Roadmap projects'. 

Stage 1 Cluster Plan projects include 37 partner organisations:

TVCA, NEPIC, OGCI, NECCUS, University of Strathclyde, Costain, University of Edinburgh, The Oil & Gas Technology Centre, Pale Blue Dot, Scotland Gas Networks, Optimat, Humber LEP, CATCH UK, CR Plus, Tata Steel, University of South Wales, Progressive Energy, Milford Haven Port Authority, Costain, RWE, CELSA Manufacturing, Vale Europe, Sector Development Wales Partnership, Peel Environmental, Progressive Energy, University of Chester, Cheshire & Warrington LEP, Mersey Dee Energy, North West Business Leadership Team, Liverpool City Region Growth Company, Black Country Consortium, University of Birmingham, Kew Projects, Skewb, Camirus, CR Plus & Pro Enviro.

Stage 2 Cluster Plan projects will commence in early 2021 and will be completed by March 2023.

Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC)

This £20 million ISCF investment will advance cutting edge decarbonisation research through a virtual multidisciplinary research and innovation centre. 

The Deployment, Cluster Plans and IDRIC workstreams will operate on a collaborative basis through knowledge sharing, industry engagement and collective leadership.

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