The Carbon Trust has today formally launched a major initiative designed to slash energy costs and carbon emissions from across the UK's manufacturing sector by up to a third.
The £15m Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator (IEEA) programme is aimed at those moderately carbon-intensive manufacturing sectors operating outside of the European emissions trading scheme, and will focus on developing energy-saving technologies and best practices that can be rolled out across a wide number of firms.
"More than a quarter of the UK's carbon emissions come from industry and we've got to find new opportunities to reduce them," said Dr Mark Williamson, director of innovations at the Carbon Trust. "The way to make truly substantial cuts is to get to the very heart of manufacturing. By rethinking the way manufacturers operate from the ground up, we plan to spearhead a low-carbon industrial revolution that will not only reduce emissions but will also increase demand for innovation, generate jobs and cut costs."
Under the four-year programme, which has secured support from trade bodies such as the Food and Drink Federation and Dairy UK as well as retail giant Tesco, the Carbon Trust will offer up to £250,000 in match funding to manufacturing firms operating in about 25 different sectors. The government-backed firm said it was now inviting proposals for energy-saving projects from any manufacturer that is not covered by the ETS but will be affected by the imminent Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency scheme.
The cash is expected to fund a wide range of energy-efficiency projects, each designed to assess energy use across an industry and identify areas for savings, develop low-carbon technologies and methodologies, and then distribute the resulting products and best practices across the industry.
The formal launch of the initiative follows a successful trial project that saw manufacturers of plastic bottles, animal feed and asphalt identify average energy and savings of 28 per cent.
The companies involved in the trial, including Britvic, Highland Spring and Tarmac, will now undertake further research into new heating methods for melting plastic used to make bottles and the development of new cold mix asphalt that promises to cut carbon emissions by 37,500 tonnes a year.
"This is impressive leadership by the Carbon Trust," said David North, community and government director at Tesco. "We need precisely this sort of collaboration on carbon and cost savings in manufacturing if we are to achieve the low-carbon economy we need."
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