By 2030, Britain hopes to demonstrate that even cement, steel and glass industries can operate at net zero emissions.
When a report claimed that heavy industry—cement, shipping, manufacturing—could reach carbon neutrality by mid-century, some readers were skeptical.
Yet if we stand any chance of achieving net zero emissions, then we’re either going to have to decarbonize these industries or get rid of them entirely. Now James Murray of Business Green reports on a major announcement by the UK government which is promising £170m in funding for the world's first 'net zero carbon' hub.This hub is intended to be up and operational by 2030, and will be designed as a model for other nations to follow. The aim is to prove that harder-to-decarbonize industries like steel, glass, ceramics and cement can indeed achieve net zero emissions through a combination of technologies such as renewables, energy efficiency and carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS).
It’s a welcome sign, as long as its achievement doesn’t herald an attitude of business as usual. As mentioned in my above-mentioned post on net zero for heavy industry, reaching this ambitious target will require us to not only manufacture materials more efficiently, but to use them intelligently and sparingly where inherently lower carbon alternatives aren’t available.
Lloyd, for example, has been a big advocate for timber as an alternative to concrete. It’s unlikely, however, that concrete will go away entirely—so manufacturing greener concrete in a greener, low carbon setting is still going to be a necessity.