IChemE Fellow appointed as champion to help address industrial decarbonisation challenges

Article by Amanda Jasi

UK Research and Innovation has appointed Mercedes Maroto-Valer, IChemE Fellow and Professor at Heriot-Watt University, as champion to develop plans for a new centre that will address industrial decarbonisation challenges to help achieve the UK’s net zero ambitions.

The Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC) is to foster collaboration between research and industry that will develop interdisciplinary research and innovation to address complex social and environmental challenges. It will be supported with £20m (US$25.96m) from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), which invests in research and businesses to address important industrial and societal challenges.

Maroto-Valer will work with stakeholders, including academic, industry, and policymakers, to develop a proposal for the centre. She has been allocated £100,000 through the ISCF Industrial Decarbonisation challenge to develop a bid for the centre that will be assessed. The ISCF Industrial Decarbonisation challenge aims to accelerate cost-effective decarbonisation of industry by developing and deploying low-carbon technologies.

Decarbonising industrial clusters represents a key challenge to the UK target of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The centre is expected to develop new knowledge that will facilitate this transformation and ensure that solutions are economically competitive. It will aim to accelerate investment and reduce costs, risks, timescales, and emissions by bringing together established and new technology-based areas.

Chris Skidmore, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation at the time the appointment was announced, said: “The UK is committed to slashing carbon emissions and tackling climate change, which is why we became the first major economy to legislate for net zero.

“The new centre delivers on our ambitions by bringing together leading experts to generate new ideas to accelerate the reduction of emissions across industrial sectors like manufacturing and automotive.”

Maroto-Valer said: “My role is to place the UK at the forefront of the global shift to clean growth. I firmly believe we will be able to safeguard existing jobs and local economies whilst creating new opportunities for prosperity.

“We will jointly reduce costs, risks, timescales and emissions whilst considering economic and policy implications and institutional reforms. We aim to create the world’s first net-zero carbon industrial cluster by 2040 and at least one low-carbon cluster by 2030.”

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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