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Net zero and manufacturing

UK manufacturing accounts for approximately 60% of carbon emissions and, with this in mind, many large manufacturers are committing to net zero targets and looking at immediate ways to reduce emissions.

The net zero opportunity

50% of UK manufacturers see net zero as a business opportunity and are prioritising low carbon practices.

Improving efficiencies is also a high priority for the manufacturing sector, with the added benefit of increasing profit margins.

The respondents to a Make UK and E.ON survey highlighted that 57% had installed SMART meters, 78% were collecting energy usage data and 65% had implemented behaviour change programmes.

The cost of technology

The manufacturing sector has faced a challenging year with Covid-19 disruption and the difficulties the pandemic has brought.

There is a strong call for financial incentives from the Government for manufacturing to invest in expensive technology and energy efficiency to aid the drive to net zero. Onsite renewable generation, for example, is an expensive option, so it is often put on the back burner.

What the Government is doing

On 22nd July 2020, it was announced that £350 million was being made available to UK industry to cut emissions with the following statement issued:

  • £139 million to cut emissions in heavy industry by supporting the transition from natural gas to clean hydrogen power, and scaling up carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology which can stop over 90% of emissions being released from industrial plants into the air by storing carbon permanently underground
  • £149 million to drive the use of innovative materials in heavy industry; the 13 initial projects will include proposals to reuse waste ash in the glass and ceramics industry and the development of recyclable steel
  • £26 million to support advanced new building techniques in order to reduce build costs and carbon emissions in the construction industry
  • A £10 million boost for state of the art construction tech which will go towards 19 projects focused on improving productivity and building quality, for example, re-usable roofs and walls and “digital clones” of buildings that analyse data in real time
  • Launching a New National Space Innovation Programme backed by £15 million initial funding from the UK Space Agency, which will see the first £10 million go towards projects that will monitor climate change across the globe, which could protect local areas from the impacts of extreme weather by identifying changes in the environment
  • Opening up bids for a further £10 million for R&D in the automotive sector, to help companies take cutting edge ideas from prototype to market, including more efficient electric motors or more powerful batteries

There is a clear message from Government that the net-zero target for the UK will be given funding.