Published 10 months ago.
About a 6 minute read.
Unilever, BASF, P&G and 12 other organizations have joined forces to scale carbon capture to help the UK reach net zero by 2050; and CCEP teams up with two more universities to continue its research into the technology and its many potential applications.
Image credit: SCI
15 key players representing the UK’s £73 billion chemicals and
pharmaceuticals industry sector have signed a collaboration agreement to launch
Flue2Chem — a program to transform the sustainability of the UK’s consumer
products industry and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a demonstration scale.
The Society of Chemical Industry (SCI, Unilever and 13
other organizations have secured funding for a two-year program to develop a new
value chain to convert industrial waste gases into sustainable materials for
consumer products. This comes at a time when most of the carbon used to produce
plastics, cosmetics, synthetic textiles and many other products is still
oil and gas. If the UK is to reach its net-zero target by 2050, industries must
find an alternative source for the carbon in these goods.
The £5.4 million project, which has been granted £2.68 million from Innovate
UK via UK Research & Innovation’s Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge,
will aim to help the UK reach its net-zero targets.
“The great thing about Flue2Chem is not only the innovation; which is addressing
decarbonisation, resource efficiency, and the circular economy piece, but the
fact that it is a terrific example of how you can bring the whole supply chain
together to deliver on the innovation needed,” says Bruce
Adderley, Innovate UK
Challenge Director for the Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge. “It no
longer makes sense to work in individual silos. The foundation industries are
facing challenges that cannot be tackled in isolation.”
published by Unilever and the Nova Institute estimated that demand for
fossil-derived chemicals will more than double by 2050. As a result, renewable
carbon production will need to increase by a factor of 15 if it is to
successfully phase out the use of fossil carbon in consumer products.
One goal of the Flue2Chem project is to demonstrate how the UK could cut 15–20
million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year. The consortium aims to scale
use of waste gases from foundation industries such as the production of metals,
glass, paper and chemicals to generate an alternative source of carbon for UK
consumer product production.
Aside from the technical aspects of the project, the business model development
will frame the economic incentives that will likely be required to make the
model work. The project will bring together partners from across the whole
supply chain to achieve this. In addition to SCI and Unilever, the other
consortium partners are BASF, Carbon Clean, Centre for Process
Innovation, Confederation of Paper Industries, Croda, Holmen,
Johnson Matthey, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt, Tata Steel, the
University of Sheffield, the University of Surrey and UPM-Kymmene —
organizations that encompass the capture, transformation and use of the carbon
emissions in industry.
The UK imports large amounts of carbon-containing feedstocks each year for use
in consumer goods. Securing an alternative domestic source of carbon for these
goods is one way in which these sectors can contribute to net-zero targets,
while also building a new UK value chain.
“This is an excellent example of the power of collaborative working. It is an
important step for the UK and SCI’s vision of furthering the application of
chemistry and related sciences into industry for public benefit,” David
Bott, SCI’s Chief Innovation
Officer. “The new business model will aim to reduce the need for imported fossil
fuel material. Instead, the consortium will build a new, more sustainable supply
chain whilst also mitigating waste emissions. The group will develop methods for
using carbon captured from waste streams of other industries and transform them
into affordable raw materials for consumer products.”
Unilever Home Care has already piloted products using captured carbon emissions
such as OMO laundry
dishwashing liquid in South Africa and
laundry detergent in Germany.
“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 & Technology R&D Director and Chair of SCI’s Sustainable Materials
for Consumer Products
“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; so, to
have the power of 15 manufacturers and academics marks a significant step
forward not only for the UK, but globally too."
Image credit: Meghan Schiereck
Meanwhile, CCEP Ventures (CCEPV), the
innovation investment arm of Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, has formed two
new partnerships — with Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona,
Spain and the University of Twente in the
Netherlands — to accelerate their research into carbon-capture technology.
Through these R&D projects, CCEPV will explore how captured CO₂ can be turned
into useful products for the supply chain including packaging materials and
sugar, used to carbonate CCEP’s soft drinks, or to create synthetic fuels to
power its factories. The research aims to develop new technology that can be
used on-site and is the latest in a series of partnerships from CCEPV to support
a more sustainable future — building on a similar partnership with UC
launched in 2022.
"We are challenging ourselves to think differently about CO₂, which is so often
only seen as a dangerous waste product,” says CCEPV co-founder Craig
Twyford. “What if we could not only
take CO₂ out of the atmosphere, where we know it’s causing harm, but also turn
it into something useful? Then we could start thinking of it as a valuable
“Funding these projects is an exciting opportunity for us to be at the forefront
of scientific discovery and innovation,” he added. “We think it has the
potential not only to significantly impact our operations, but it could also be
rolled out across different industries to reduce GHG emissions and make better
use of the carbon in our atmosphere.”
These partnerships are part of CCEPV’s efforts to find, fund and foster
transformative solutions that can support CCEP in reaching its ambitions to
achieve a 30 percent reduction of absolute GHG emissions across its value chain
by 2030 and net zero by
Published Feb 3, 2023 1pm EST / 10am PST / 6pm GMT / 7pm CET