Global Warming: New Research Network To Transform U.K. Iron And Steel Industry

Steel industry
A steel worker of Germany's industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp AG takes a sample of raw iron from a blast furnace at Germany's largest steel factory in Duisburg, Germany, January 28, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo)

Swansea University is set to collaborate with Sheffield and Warwick universities in a £35 million research network that seeks to pivot the British iron and steel industry into a carbon-neutral sect by the year 2040.

According to BBC News, Swansea University will lead the research network. Sheffield and Warwick universities will also join the research program as the U.K. pushes to improve its processes in the steel and iron industry.

Steel expert Dr. Cameron Pleydell-Pearce, the seven-year Sustain program's deputy director, said the project will support Britain's race towards a "responsible, innovative and creative future."

Aside from reducing the country's greenhouse gas emissions, the new program is also expected to provide new jobs for British citizens. So far, the project has received £10 million in support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The rest of the program's invested funds came from other steel providers, trade groups, and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales.

The Sustain program will study steel-making processes to come up with methods that will either lessen or capture emissions. The list of activities also includes options for recycling waste and producing new products that all tend towards the U.K.'s battle against global warming.

"We are already on the road to clean, green and smart steelmaking, but this is another giant step forward," Dr. Pleydell-Pearce said of the Sustain program. He added that the project's carbon-neutral 2040 goal is possible. "There's a big global imperative to get this done - and it has to be done," he stressed.

Warwick University's Professor Claire Davis said the Sustain program will help Britain's steel industry to resolve some of its biggest issues such as that related to high energy usage. She added that it will open doors for more opportunities to serve customers with a more responsive and dynamic approach.

Meanwhile, another British sector has been awarded funds to support its future projects. According to The Mechanical Engineer, the biomanufacturing industry of the U.K. received £10 million in finances from the same council that awarded Sustain with funds.

In collaboration with a number of universities and innovation groups, the University of Manchester's Future of Biomanufacturing Research Hub aims to develop biomanufacturing processes for the pharmaceutical sect.

IChemE Fellow and Executive Chair of EPSRC, Lynn Gladden said the recent funding provided to two British sects is a way to boost research within the country's manufacturing industries. She explained that supporting such programs will benefit U.K. businesses and will allow them to stay updated with "the latest developments in their fields." 

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