A new industrial consortium that includes several large chemical companies looks to transform the UK’s consumer products industry using waste gases as raw materials.
Participating organizations in the program, called Flue2Chem, are trying to demonstrate how the UK could cut 15 million to 20 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year to help the country reach its net zero target, according to a Feb. 2 press release from the Society of Chemical Industry.
The waste gases would come from heavy energy-consuming industries, such as metals, glass, paper and chemicals, to generate an alternative source of carbon for UK consumer product production.
The consortium received a grant of 2.68 million pounds (US$3.3 million) from Innovate UK, the nation’s research and development agency. Organizations involved in the effort include BASF, Johnson Matthey and the Society of Chemical Industry.
Currently, the UK is importing large amounts of carbon-containing feedstocks each year for use in the consumer goods industry. Securing an alternative domestic source of carbon in these goods is one way in which these sectors can contribute to net zero targets, while also building a new UK value chain, according to the news release.
"This is a game-changing opportunity to accelerate action and rewire the chemicals value chain to be less reliant on fossil fuels,” says project lead Ian Howell, Unilever's home care science and technology R&D director and chair of SCI's SMCP Group. “It's a bold ambition and one that, at Unilever, we have been publicly calling for action over the last two years. No single company can do this alone and so to have the power of 15 manufacturers and academics marks a significant step forward not only for the UK, but globally too."