Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, has awarded £19.5m to the Foundation Industries Sustainability Consortium (FISC) to support the scale-up sustainable technologies for the foundation industries.

This award is to run the Economic Material Innovation for Sustainable and Efficient use of Resources (ECONOMISER) programme that will develop a network of scale-up centres to support industry and academic engagement in innovation in carbon reduction, process improvement and product development.

The foundation industries comprise glass, cement, paper, metal, ceramic and chemical sectors. They contribute over £50bn to the UK economy and produce 75% of all the material on the planet. They are vital to our manufacturing and construction sectors.

However, they generate nearly half of all industrial carbon emissions and need to quickly transform to ensure we live in a sustainable way.

This requires specialist facilities which enable companies to trial new technologies at scale. Without such facilities, sectors struggle to demonstrate new technologies at a commercially relevant scale and therefore cannot secure the investment needed to change production processes that will decarbonise their manufacturing processes.

FISC, which comprises the Centre for Process Innovation, Glass Futures Ltd, Materials Processing Institute and the Royce Institute, will run the ECONOMISER programme to supplement their research facilities to support five themes of:

  • Circular economy
  • Process optimisation
  • Alternative fuels
  • New material development
  • Digital controls and sensors

Crucially, by working together, these centres will address sustainability challenges shared across the foundation industries. FISC partners already work in well-established innovation networks, successfully bringing together academia, public sector and commercial companies to deliver positive impact for the foundation industries.