SBRI Competition

UK low carbon concrete solutions accelerated by £3m competition

A £3m Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) funding competition has been launched by Innovate UK to accelerate the commercial adoption of low carbon concrete solutions.

As the concrete and cement industry currently accounts for around 1.5 per cent of UK’s carbon dioxide emissions and around 7% of emissions globally, this competition is an important next step in the industry’s decarbonisation. The programme will bring together major concrete users with innovators to accelerate the decarbonisation of the concrete industry, helping Innovate UK explore boosting demand-led innovation. It will provide sufficient scale and certainty to incentivise research, design and development (RD&D) and the deployment of solutions. 

Eligible projects need to address technical uncertainties in the production or use of concrete and can be fully funded up to a total cost of £500,000. The deadline for the competition is 4 March 2024.

The competition was supported by the Concrete Commitment Cohort (CCC), an alliance of major concrete users, that was established alongside the launch of the programme. CCC is formed of representatives from Anglian Water, Environment Agency, Ferrovial Construction, HS2, JN Bentley, Laing O’Rourke, National Highways, Sellafield Sites, Transport for London, United Utilities and WSP.

The CCC helped shape the competition scope and has committed to explore the development of Advance Market Commitments (AMC). An AMC is a binding contract to procure innovative solutions that address a given challenge. 

UKRI's Transforming Foundation Industries (TFI) Challenge, delivered by Innovate UK, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is working closely with cement producers to help the sector become more internationally competitive and grow in an environmentally sustainable way.

Innovation in the foundation industries, made of the cement, metals, glass, chemicals, paper and ceramics sectors, is hampered by the large capital investment required and the risk involved in achieving the necessary production scale. Mechanisms to encourage investment are needed to accelerate the adoption of innovation if we are to achieve our net zero commitments.

The TFI Challenge is working with partners in industry and academia to facilitate innovation and has provided funding to kickstart projects across the country. This programme will actively work with the end market for the decarbonised concrete industry to pull through new technologies into commercial application.

TFI Challenge Director Dr Bruce Adderley said: “Tailoring funding to the needs of sector challenges will provide cement producers with additional certainty which in turn will incentivise innovation. If successful, this approach can be applied to all foundation industries, accelerating the deployment of decarbonisation solutions and making the sectors more internationally competitive.”

Dr Stafford Lloyd, Climate Tech Innovation Lead at Innovate UK commented: “Collaborating with the CCC at the start of the competition process has ensured there is existing demand for the low carbon concrete solutions being developed. This provides the ideal environment to enable innovation to thrive. We hope this can serve as a blueprint for other industries to find solutions to their own challenges.

“If you are working on an eligible project, I would encourage you to apply via the Innovate UK website.”

A member of the CCC, Dr Efi Tzoura from Ferrovial Construction, added: “As a Tier 1 contractor one of our top priorities in Ferrovial Construction is to reduce the carbon footprint of our infrastructure projects. We recognise the importance of innovation to achieve this and this competition is a great incentive for us to collaborate with suppliers and other organisations, to develop more sustainable concrete solutions and realise the benefits in our projects.”

Looking to promote your product/service to SME businesses in your region? Find out how Bdaily can help →

Enjoy the read? Get Bdaily delivered.

Sign up to receive our popular morning National email for free.

* Occasional offers & updates from selected Bdaily partners

Our Partners

Top Ten Most Read