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10-year project aims to decarbonise manufacturing in the Black Country

Posted on 26 Nov 2021 and read 1005 times
10-year project aims to decarbonise manufacturing in the Black CountryLoughborough University’s School of Business and Economics is working with the West Midlands Mayor Andy Street on a new project aimed at reducing the amount of industrial CO2 in the region.

The Black Country Decarbonisation Programme was launched earlier this month at the Servosteel plant in Dudley and will initially develop four pilot ‘zero-carbon’ industrial hubs.

Within the next 10 years, the project will aim to reduce the region’s industrial carbon emissions by around 1.3Mt of CO2 while keeping energy costs competitive and attracting high-quality manufacturing jobs to the area.

It will be delivered via Repowering the Black Country, which supports the region’s businesses with global clean growth opportunities and a ‘net-zero’ industrial future.

Loughborough’s Professor Jan Godsell, Dean of the School of Business and Economics will lead an initiative which will focus on new business model designs to support the region’s circular economy.

She said: “If the UK is to meet its ‘net-zero‘ target by 2050, in addition to the adoption of low-carbon energy sources, new business models that decouple consumption from production are key. This enables products to be kept in their highest possible value state as they are repaired, refurbished, remanufactured, or redistributed and supports the principles of a more circular economy.

“Loughborough University and WMG, University of Warwick are thrilled to be working together to develop the business model designs that will support the ‘net zero’ hubs to achieve their ambition.”

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “This is an important programme for the West Midlands and the UK as a whole as we look to tackle the climate emergency.

“I recently returned from COP26 where I talked about the opportunity for green industries to transform industrial heartlands like the West Midlands — and this programme is a case in point. I am delighted to see the Black Country at the forefront of our efforts to respond to the global climate crisis, and Repowering the Black Country shows that we can create jobs and opportunities through decarbonisation.”

The programme is one of six industrial cluster decarbonisation projects funded around the UK by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and UK Research and Innovation and will develop approaches in the Black Country that can be applied more widely.

It is about providing cost-efficient energy infrastructure across the Black Country; helping companies benefit from new supply chain opportunities in the circular economy; and supporting resource efficiency initiatives in manufacturing operations.

The UK Government has committed over £20 billion to industrial decarbonisation investments over the next 10 years. This may include the phasing out of gas as a fuel, development of a hydrogen infrastructure, and fundamental changes in the way electricity is charged. It is also considering ‘carbon-labelling’ of manufactured products and extending emissions trading schemes to smaller businesses.