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Intelligence gathering for sustainable manufacturing campus


This study follows on from earlier work to investigate options for the development of a carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) value chain in Scotland, recognising that while there are opportunities there are also obstacles in doing so. One of the options identified during the previous study was a facility or hub to demonstrate CCU technologies. The purpose of this study was to define the scope and remit of such a CCU demonstrator through wide stakeholder consultation, to ensure it matches industry needs. This study had a Scotland-wide remit, covering all sectors with industrial CO2 emissions, with a specific focus on how a sustainable manufacturing cluster in Grangemouth could be developed (part of the Falkirk and Grangemouth Growth Deal). It considered both large volume and niche opportunities. Delivered as part of the Interreg Northern Connection project, one of the study’s key objectives has been to utilise international connections to share insights and learning into the study. The concept design is the first of three stages to deliver a sustainable manufacturing campus: Stage 1 – Concept design with key industry players’ input; Stage 2 – Consideration, alongside stakeholders, of options identified in the concept design, appraisal of key locations with local partners and costing of viable options; and Stage 3 – Identify funding options and set up partnership agreements to deliver plans for sustainable manufacturing campus. The study was commissioned by Scottish Enterprise in partnership with Falkirk Council as part of the Interreg Northern Connection Project, aimed at increasing transnational collaboration across the North Sea regions on sustainable energy projects.


To gather intelligence to scope the Sustainable Manufacturing Campus Concept design, 4 industry and stakeholder workshops alongside individual consultations with key national and international industry players were delivered over 10 months, with 35 unique organisations participating. Two public sector online meetings were also delivered, to share progress and final outputs and ensure cohesion across the public sector on the vision for the campus and fit with the wider range of industrial decarbonisation projects.


It was agreed that there was nothing like the proposed hub in the UK. Other facilities offer testing and development of carbon capture technologies (e.g. Imperial College), and several academic facilities were developing and supporting CCU technologies, but none bridged the gap between academic research and industrial application across a range of CO2 emissions and technology platforms. The key findings about the hub were that it: would not be a true industrial ‘demonstrator’ (i.e. dealing with 100s to 1,000s of tonnes of CO2 per day), rather, it would be a flexible pilot plant, operating in the range of a few tonnes per day; must be technology agnostic; must be used to ‘demonstrate’ CCU technologies that are high TRL (7+) and commercially relevant to the emitters; must be capable of delivering different emission compositions, to provide confidence to emitters that deployed technologies will work; must offer continuous process runs of at least 1000h, to provide confidence that deployed technologies will work in industrially conditions; should connect with existing infrastructure and capability (e.g. the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions (RCCS) and Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (SCCS)), and link to Forth Valley College for relevant skills and training opportunities; and should embed state-of-the-art, industry 4.0 capabilities, which would enable it to be as “future proof” as possible and be differentiated from other facilities. These findings were further refined through consultation but did not fundamentally change.


Moving forward it is clear that engagement with stakeholders must be maintained. Primarily this should be through networking organisations such as NECCUS that provide a regular forum for interested stakeholders to be informed of developments and opportunities and also to feedback to Government. In addition, it is clear that many of the technology providers are already in a position to undertake small scale demonstration projects with suitable financial support; so there is an opportunity to make use of existing Scottish, UK and perhaps EU funding programmes to establish a demonstration ‘footprint’ at Grangemouth. This could be through supporting individual projects, building limited connectors to flue stacks and other infrastructure (such as hard-standing and storage) that could be re-used for subsequent projects and eventually subsumed within the hub, which realistically will not be operational until late 2022 at the earliest.

Author Optimat
Published Year 2020
Report Type Research
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Equity
    Sustainable development