COP26: USW playing a leading role in decarbonising industry in South Wales

Baglan Hydrogen Centre. Cop26. SWIC partnership

The University of South Wales (USW) is playing a major role in a consortium which is developing a plan for decarbonising industry in the South Wales region.

As Academic lead for the South Wales Industrial Cluster (SWIC), USW is part of a group of some of Wales’ top industry, energy, infrastructure, legal, academic, and engineering organisations, geographically located in South Wales.

Combined, these businesses employ more than 100,000 people and are committed to creating a net-zero-carbon economy in Wales that supports sustainable jobs and sustainable communities.

South Wales is the second largest industrial emitter of carbon dioxide in the UK. In 2019 the UK became the first country in the world to legislate that it will achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Net-zero means that any remaining emissions are offset by using other means. This has also formed part of the UK Government’s industrial strategy.

As part of this, SWIC’s aim is to become a world-leading, sustainable Industrial Cluster which can help meet the societal, economic, and energy needs of South Wales to 2050 and beyond.

The partners are working on innovative projects to create a hydrogen economy, increase energy efficiency, and avoid carbon emissions, while exploring opportunities for low-carbon power generation, and Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS), including CO2 shipping from South Wales ports. This would be the first CO2 shipping industry in the UK, and it is estimated could create around 1,000 jobs in South Wales, as well as create an entire new industry for the region.

The Cluster will also explore the decarbonisation of heavy industry and identify how South Wales’ available resources and existing gas and electricity infrastructure can not only help heavy industry get to net-zero, but also decarbonise home heating.

Along with USW, those involved in the SWIC Deployment Plan are Costain, Associated British Ports, Capital Law Limited, CR Plus Limited, Industry Wales, Lanza Tech, Lightsource bp, Port of Milford Haven, Progressive Energy, RWE, Shell, SIMEC Atlantis Energy, Tata Steel, Tarmac, Valero Energy and Wales & West Utilities.

Jon Maddy, Director of the USW Hydrogen Centre at Baglan and the academic lead for the South Wales Industrial Cluster, said: “We are delighted to be a part of the project and to be able to offer our expertise in decarbonisation and hydrogen technology as a Consortium member. 

“The research we do at the Hydrogen Centre allows us to engage with many major industry partners to identify methods of decarbonisation, particularly through the adoption of hydrogen technologies.

“The consortium has identified critical technology interventions across key industry sectors and are now looking to deploy these to dramatically reduce carbon emissions, towards the goal of net-zero industrial emissions in South Wales.

“Working closely with industry partners in the consortium, we will help to develop the most efficient technical approaches and support this with relevant R&D, as well as co-ordinating the development of skills and training to support South Wales’ industries to achieve the net-zero goal.”

For more information about the South Wales Industrial Cluster visit:


Bringing industry and academia together

SWIC Net Zero Week (LtR) Tony Parton, Hannah Watts, Dr Chris Williams, Jon Maddy, Flora Davies, David Jukes. COP26

Meeting at USW Hydrogen Centre during SWIC Net Zero Week were Tony Parton, Hannah Watts, Dr Chris Williams, Jon Maddy, Flora Davies, and David Jukes

Industry leaders and academics joined forces at a virtual summit early in October to start mapping out the route to a greener economy for Wales.

SWIC Net Zero Week looked at what was already happening to achieve net zero in South Wales industry, future challenges, and what opportunities for businesses and other stakeholders to support the effort will look like.

Dr Chris Williams, who is heads up SWIC for Industry Wales, opened the event with an introduction to the Cluster Plan and the Deployment Project that are already working to make these aims a reality, as well as previous projects that have already made inroads towards South Wales achieving net zero.

Dr Williams said: “The UK became the first country in the world to legislate that it will become NetZero carbon by 2050, and South Wales is the second largest industrial emitter of carbon dioxide in the UK.

“The time to step up our efforts in actively tackling decarbonisation and identify the practicalities involved in creating, revitalising and sustaining industrial practices that will truly help safeguard our future is here.

“SWIC Net Zero Week was the point where research starts to become a reality, and where the successful decarbonisation of industry, manufacturing and energy generation in south Wales began.”

SWIC Net Zero Week looked at how partners are working with industry, energy infrastructure providers, and energy suppliers, to develop industrial site decarbonisation options to make South Wales NetZero by 2040

Those attending also heard about SWIC’s aims ahead of COP 26 conference, and highlighted the ambitions and key opportunities for industry in South Wales to make its mark in the fight against carbon emissions globally.

Dr Williams said: “With COP 26 just around the corner, SWIC Net Zero Week presented us with a real opportunity to showcase our efforts here in Wales with regards to the rest of the UK, and indeed the world, as an industry-led partnership working to effect real and timely change on the ground.

“We’d like to thank our partners in SWIC Net Zero Week, namely the University of South Wales, Costain and CR Plus, as well as all those taking time out to present during the seminars, for helping us make this week a reality.”


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