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UKRI launches £149m Transforming Foundation Industries challenge and winners of first competition

22/07/2020

UKRI launches £149m Transforming Foundation Industries challenge and winners of first competition

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) today announces the first projects to receive funding as part of its £149m Transforming Foundation Industries (TFI) Challenge. This challenge seeks to revolutionise the UK’s foundation industries (glass, metals, cement, ceramics, bulk chemicals, and paper).

The first 10 winners will receive a share of £5m from the Fast Start Projects competition. The winners have created innovative research projects involving various stages of the supply chain, including: feedstock inputs, production and material product development. Each project involves companies from at least two of the foundation industries, illustrating the cross-industry problem solving taking place in the UK today.

The projects include:

  • EnviroAsh will identify how ashes and other byproducts can be used as raw materials for new glass and ceramic products, minimizing their carbon and energy costs – project led by Glass Technology Services, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
  • South Wales With Both Eyes Open – a project that will bring together a foundation industry cluster to collaborate on saving energy, recycling and extracting precious metal, led by Environmental Resources Management
  • IRIFIO will utilise machine learning to enhance artificial intelligence, robotics and vision systems when applied to foundation industry production processes. It builds on previous work inspecting defects in metals production through digitised inspection sensor technology to enhance industrial productivity and significantly reduce energy in both glass and ceramic manufacturing.

The foundation industry sector combined produce 75% of all the materials in our economy and account for around 10% of the UK total CO2 emissions. The Challenge will bring together companies and universities from across these industries to work on common resource and energy efficiency opportunities, with £66m of the funding provided by government and £83m of private sector funding.

The sector has not been immune to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and with that in mind UKRI is launching a specific competition seeking proposals to support an innovation-led exit from the Covid-19 crisis and to protect the UK’s foundation industries innovation capability. Aligned with the objective of the ISCF TFI Challenge, projects will have to demonstrate how they address resource/energy efficiency of foundation industries and support resilience and sustainability of the sector and its supply chains.

Bruce Adderley – UKRI’s Interim Challenge Director, Transforming Foundation industries, said: “It is clear that as we move towards net zero goals, the foundation industries will play a key role in delivering on the UK’s strategy as they transform themselves in an environmentally sustainable manner. The TFI challenge supports this aim and is an excellent example of the cross-industry innovation taking place in the UK. These fast start competition winners and the winners of future competitions will provide innovative ways to significantly reduce the environmental impact of the country’s foundation industries.

“As the economy bounces back from the coronavirus pandemic, foundation industries too will play their role. Recognising this, we have launched a linked and targeted funding competition to build resilience and sustainability in both the sector and the supply chains they support across the UK’s regions.”

The challenge is also investing £4.7m in a cross-sector and multi-disciplinary Research and Innovation Hub that will work to accelerate the development and adoption of new technologies and business models within the Foundation Industries. Applicants will develop multidisciplinary Research and Innovation programmes that focus on linking innovators with industry to address challenges across the Foundation Industries. Applications for this challenge will open in July.

For more information about the challenge, applying for funding and upcoming events, please follow the links below:

Notes to editors

See more about the £350m to fuel green recovery on the Gov.uk website.

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) brings together the UK’s world-leading research base with our best businesses to transform how we live, work and move around. It will put the UK in the best position to take advantage of future market opportunities.

Transforming Foundation IndustriesThe Transforming Foundation Industries programme through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will help energy-intensive businesses to share expertise and come up with radical new innovations to help reduce their carbon footprint.

The programme will inject significant new public and industry innovation funding into the foundation industries, helping us deliver against our vision of a cutting edge, innovative and sustainable industrial sector. £66m will be provided by the government and £83 million will come from industry.

The Fast Start project winners (subject to grant offer and conditions being met) are:

Project Title

Project Partners

Location

Description

Hybrid sintering for decarbonisation and productivity in manufacturing

Lucideon Limited

Vesuvius UK Ltd

Glass Technology Services Ltd

University of Sheffield

Knowles (UK) Limited

 

West Midlands

London

East of England

Yorkshire and The Humber

Yorkshire and The Humber

This project will target benefits in resource and energy efficiency assessing the possibility of combining two novel and highly energy efficient sintering technologies to exploit the strengths of both systems, with the objective of developing a processing technology for use by the glass and ceramics sectors.

Development new waste-derived raw materials for the Foundation Industries (EnviroAsh)

Glass Technology Services Ltd

Glassworks Services Ltd

Wienerberger Ltd

Glass Futures Ltd

Encirc Ltd

Saica Paper UK Ltd

Power Minerals Ltd

Castle Cement Ltd

University of Sheffield

Sheffield Hallam University

Drax Group PLC

Yorkshire and The Humber

The project will identify opportunities to take waste ashes, slags, mineral by-products and filter dusts from across the FIs and convert them into new raw materials for a range of products produced within the glass, ceramic and cement Foundation Industry sectors. The project will also look at improving product performance.

Re-usable net-zero carbon structures

Mace Ltd

Octagon i/o ltd

DB Group (Holdings) Ltd

AKT II Ltd

Oranmore Precast Ltd

William Hare Ltd

University College London

London

London

East of England

London

London

East of England

The project proposes a prefabricated, offsite, reusable, net-zero carbon structure made from recycled steel and cement-free concrete. Targeting commercial offices and infrastructure applications, the components will be manufactured offsite and delivered to the project site as sub-assemblies and installed as a single operation. 

Through the application of digital engineering and sensor technology, the project will interrogate design and construction elements to optimise the design-life of the product.

"SAFERII": Non-combustible Cladding Systems

Alsitek Ltd

Tata Steel UK Ltd

South East

London

This project seeks to deliver a completely inorganic, insulative product with an insulation performance akin to PIR foam, with the significant benefits inorganic materials bring for safety in fire both from non-combustibility and a complete absence of toxic smoke emissions.

South Wales With Both Eyes Open: A Fast Start Project

Environmental Resources Management Ltd

Valero Energy Ltd

Sector Development Wales Partnership Ltd

Rockwool Ltd

Tarmac Trading Ltd

Costain Ltd

Confederation of Paper Industries Ltd

Sexton Materials Research Ltd

CR Plus Ltd

Swansea University

Celsa Manufacturing (UK) Ltd

Capital Law Ltd

Vale Europe Ltd

London

London

Wales

Wales

West Midlands

South East

South West

Wales

Wales

The proposed is a research and development project that aims to bring multiple stakeholders within the Foundation Industry South Wales Region together to analyse material and energy flows and identify potential opportunities for collaboration. Funding will support an industrial circular economy vision that will open new opportunities for improved energy and resource efficiency.

Power Generation and Heat Recovery from Industrial Waste Heat with Advanced CO2 Thermodynamic Power Cycles (PowerCO2)

Celsa Manufacturing (UK) Ltd

Venturi Jet Pumps Ltd

University of South Wales

Glass Technology Services Ltd

Glass Futures Ltd

Wales

Yorkshire and The Humber

West Midlands

Wales

Yorkshire and The Humber

The project will create an innovative CO2 transcritical power cycle (iT-CO2) for energy conversion systems with industrial waste heat - targeting heat-intensive industries such as steel and glass. Instead of using an inapplicable CO2 liquid pump, a combined CO2 transcritical compressor and vapour-liquid ejector will be developed and installed in the system to create thermal-to-electrical efficiency aim of 30% (i.e. double state-of-the-art).

Upgrading the value of BOS slag by addition of difficult to recycle glass or slags

Materials Processing Institute

Glass Futures Ltd

PWS Road Building Services

Tarmac Trading Ltd

British Steel Ltd

North East

Yorkshire and The Humber

London

West Midlands

Yorkshire and The Humber

Steelmaking slag from the integrated route, made from blast furnace hot metal, is demetalled, crushed and screened, and used to create tarmac for the top surface of roads

 

This project objective is to use slag arising within the steel industry, and streams of waste glass and refractory from the glass industry, all of which have no ready recycling route, to modify the slag from the steelmaking process. This will then produce an aggregate replacement of higher value.

Intelligent Robotic Inspection for Foundation Industry Optimisation - IRIFIO

I3D Robotics Ltd

Lucideon Ltd

Glass Technology Services Ltd

South East

West Midlands

Yorkshire and The Humber

This collaborative, industrial R&D project will utilise machine learning to enhance artificial intelligence, robotics and vision systems when applied to foundation industry production processes. It builds on previous work inspecting defects in metals production through digitised inspection sensor technology to enhance industrial productivity and significantly reduce energy in both glass and ceramic manufacturing.

Low cost catalytic conversion of methane to high purity hydrogen for use in the Foundation Industries

Q-Flo Ltd

Glass Futures Ltd

Accelyo Ltd

University of Cambridge

East Midlands

East of England

Scotland

This project brings together different foundation industries, bulk chemical and glass production, to realize shared opportunities for use of hydrogen by-product from functional carbon production as a supply to float glass manufacturing.

The project directly addresses issues of resource utilisation by delivering an innovative and cost-effective route to simultaneously produce clean and usable hydrogen alongside high value and usable carbon products.

Paper, Ash and Resin: Valorisation of Foundation Industry Waste Streams

Cambond Ltd

Bangor University

Sappi Biotech UK Ltd

East of England

Wales

Yorkshire and The Humber

Industry has worked hard to deal with the waste streams or manufacturing paper, ceramics and metals, but a substantial portion of this material still goes to landfill. Better use of these wastes could replace the use of scarce or expensive virgin resources and reduce our carbon footprint.

The project brings together innovative UK technology and expertise to focus them in a robust plan to drive the commercial development of a new low carbon materials technology.


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