Science-based industries join forces to address UK net zero targets

£73 Billion UK Sector Commits to Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The launch of Flue2Chem is seen as a significant step towards the sustainability of the UK’s consumer products industry and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The aim of the collaboration is to demonstrate how the UK can cut around 15-20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year to reach its net zero target by 2050. The project brings together key industrial players from various sectors to develop a new value chain that will convert industrial waste gases into sustainable materials for consumer products.

The funding for the two-year programme, which has been granted £2.68 million from Innovate UK, will enable the consortium to explore the technical aspects of the project as well as the business model development required to make the model work. The project partners will work together to achieve their goal of enabling the use of waste gases from foundation industries such as metal production, glass, paper and chemicals to generate an alternative source of carbon for UK consumer product production.

One of the major goals of the project is to reduce the amount of carbon containing feedstocks that the UK currently imports each year for use in the consumer goods industry. Securing an alternative domestic source of carbon in these goods will help the country reach its net zero targets while also building a new UK value chain.

SCI’s Head of Innovation, David Bott, expressed excitement about the project and the impact it will have. He said, “This is an excellent example of the power of collaborative working. It is an important step for the UK and SCI’s vision of furthering the application of chemistry and related sciences into industry for public benefit.”

Project lead Ian Howell, Unilever’s Home Care Science & Technology R&D Director and Chair of SCI’s SMCP Group, also stressed the importance of the project. He said, “This is a game-changing opportunity to accelerate action and rewire the chemicals value chain to be less reliant on fossil fuels. No single company can do this alone and so to have the power of 15 manufacturers and academics marks a significant step forward not only for the UK, but globally too.”

The consortium partners represent a wide range of organizations that encompass the capture, transformation, and use of carbon emissions in industry. In addition to SCI, Unilever, BASF, and Tata Steel, the other partners include UPM-Kymmene, Holmen, Croda, Johnson Matthey, The University of Sheffield, The University of Surrey, Carbon Clean, Procter & Gamble, Centre for Process Innovation, Confederation of Paper Industries, and Reckitt.

Innovate UK Challenge Director for the Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge, Bruce Adderley, also commented on the project. He said, “Underpinned by circular economy thinking, the Foundation Industries and their supply chain partners are bringing forward a range of new innovations as they move towards a sustainable competitive future. But these need to be demonstrated at scale if they are to be rapidly deployed in the UK and taken to international markets. That is why we are delighted to be able to support projects like Flue2Chem which have huge potential to address decarbonisation through multi-industry collaboration focused on resource and energy efficiency.”

In conclusion, the launch of Flue2Chem is a promising initiative that will have a significant impact on the UK’s consumer products industry and its efforts to reach net zero targets. The collaboration between key industrial players and the funding from Innovate UK will help to bring the project to life and demonstrate how the UK can reduce its carbon footprint and become more sustainable.