Groundbreaking Flue2Chem carbon capture project secures £2.7m funding

The University of Sheffield is one of 15 organisations involved in a new carbon capture project set to address the UK’s sustainability targets.

An infographic explaining the method and funding of the Flue2Chem project

A new carbon capture project involving academics from The University of Sheffield is to help the UK meet its net zero carbon emissions by 2050 target.

The University of Sheffield has signed a collaboration agreement with the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI), Unilever and 12 other organisations for the two-year Flue2Chem programme, which has secured £2.68 million of funding from Innovate UK.

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering’s Professor Peter Styring and Dr James McGregor will both be involved in the £5.4 million project, with Professor Styring the Principle Investigator and Dr McGregor Co-Investigator.

Flue2Chem, which is spearheaded by SCI and Unilever, aims to enable the 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.  

This comes at a time when most of the carbon used in everything from electronics to home care and many other products is extracted from coal, 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 project will also look to demonstrate how the UK could cut around 15 – 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year to help reach its net zero target. 

It will use FluRefin carbon capture technology, which has been developed in collaboration with AESSEAL and has been short-listed for ‘The Engineer Awards’. This technology has been licensed to CCU International Limited, who will deliver a 1 tonne per day portable capture system in the early months of the project. 

The project will also see the development of a business model, which will frame the economic incentives that are likely to be required to make the model work. The project will bring together partners from across the whole supply chain to achieve this. 

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. 

The £2.68m funding for the project came via the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Transforming Foundation Industries (TFI) Challenge.

Professor Styring said: “This is a hugely important project that will demonstrate new fossil carbon-free supply chains. We have two years to deliver a product from CO2 captured from steel and glass industry emissions, so this is really set to accelerate CCU capabilities.

“We are very excited to be involved in this ground breaking project and to be working with such world-leading companies with a true commitment to creating a circular chemical economy.”

In addition to The University of Sheffield, SCI and Unilever, the other consortium partners are: BASF, Tata Steel, UPM-Kymmene, Holmen, Croda, Johnson Matthey, The University of Surrey, Carbon Clean, Procter & Gamble, Centre for Process Innovation, Confederation of Paper Industries, and Reckitt.

Flagship institutes

The University’s four flagship institutes bring together our key strengths to tackle global issues, turning interdisciplinary and translational research into real-world solutions.