Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: Industrial decarbonisation

The Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge supports development of low-carbon technologies and infrastructure, increasing industry competitiveness and contributing to the UK’s clean growth.

It will reduce the carbon emissions from energy intensive industries, such as iron and steel, cement, refining and chemicals.

£210 million
2019 to 2024
Partners involved:
Innovate UK (lead), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre only)

The scope and what we're doing

The Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge (IDC) is contributing to the UK’s drive for clean growth by supporting the UK’s six largest industrial clusters in their mission to decarbonise at scale. Together, the IDC and UK industrial partners will lay the foundation for developing at least one low-carbon industrial cluster by 2030 and the world’s first net-zero industrial cluster by 2040.

The challenge provides up to £210 million, matched by £261 million from industry, to invest in developing technologies such as carbon capture and storage and hydrogen fuel switching. The technologies will be deployed and scaled up within the UK’s largest industrial clusters.

The six largest industrial clusters have been mapped by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and reported in the Industrial Clusters Mission (GOV.UK).

They secure 1.5 million jobs and annually export goods and services worth £320 billion. But they also 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 while enhancing productivity for these regions, to create new jobs for a low-carbon future.

The challenge is split into three workstreams:

  • deployment
  • cluster plans
  • Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC).

The deployment, cluster plans and IDRIC workstreams operate on a collaborative basis through knowledge sharing, industry engagement and collective leadership.

The deployment projects aim to provide detailed designs and demonstration of industry-scale technologies and shared infrastructure for the cost-effective deep decarbonisation of industrial clusters.

The cluster plan projects will provide plans and feasibility studies for net zero industrial clusters.

Deployment competition: stage two winners.

Cluster plan competition: stage two winners.

Deployment projects

The £171 million deployment investment will enable significant reductions in industrial CO2 emissions in industrial clusters. The stage two deployment projects include:

  • HyNet– Hydrogen and CCUS (onshore and offshore)
  • Scotland’s net zero infrastructure (onshore and offshore)
  • Net Zero Teesside
  • Northern Endurance Partnership
  • Zero Carbon Humber
  • Humber Zero
  • South Wales Industrial Cluster

Case study: Zero Carbon Humber

Video case study: Humber Zero

Cluster plans

The £8 million cluster plans investment will produce a blueprint to achieve net-zero emissions for each industrial cluster. This will ensure the UK has a net-zero industrial cluster by 2040 and 4 decarbonised clusters by 2030.

We have awarded six research projects in the ‘Decarbonisation of industrial clusters: cluster plan’ competition.

The six cluster plan projects are:

Case study: Scottish Net Zero Roadmap

Case study: Decarbonisation projects in industrial areas

Case study: Humber Industrial Cluster Plan

Case study: Net Zero North West Cluster Plan

Case study: Net Zero Tees Valley

Case study: South Wales

Case study: Repowering Black Country

Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC)

This £20 million UKRI Challenge Fund investment will advance cutting-edge decarbonisation research through a virtual multidisciplinary research and innovation centre.

Find out more on the IDRIC website.

Why we're doing it

Since the launch of IDC, the government has accelerated the UK’s decarbonisation commitment with the introduction of the UK Industrial decarbonisation strategy, the Net Zero Strategy and the Cluster Sequencing process.

The IDC is key to the successful realisation of the UK government ambitions to deliver four of our major industrial regions linked up to the necessary decarbonisation infrastructure by 2030.

Past projects, outcomes and impact

Stage one projects

The stage one projects established the industrial cluster teams and outline plans.

Details of deployment and cluster plan competitions stage one winners.

Who to contact


Last updated: 12 September 2023

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