UK FIRES is a 5-year research programme funded by £5m of UKRI support and the subscriptions of an active and growing industrial consortium. With academics from six universities spanning from materials engineering through data science to economics, corporate strategy and policy and an industry consortium spanning from mining through construction and manufacturing to final goods.
UK FIRES stands for placing Resource Efficiency at the heart of the UK’s Future Industrial Strategy. When we proposed UK FIRES, it was to focus on Resource Efficiency as the key means to reduce industrial emissions. However, in 2019, both houses of Parliament unanimously approved a change to the UK’s climate change act to target zero emissions in 2050. This has been reinforced by recent Government targets for 2030 and 2035.
So, although we haven’t changed our name to UK FIZES, our focus is now on placing Zero Emissions at the heart of the UK’s Future Industrial Strategy.
UK FIRES takes a pragmatic approach: we focus only on technologies that are available to us today and exclude those that have yet to be proven at meaningful scale, since they simply may not be ready in time. In 2050 we aim to meet the energy demand of UK society by non-emitting electricity generation.
In December 2019, UK FIRES released the “Absolute Zero” report, a ground-breaking description of the operation of the UK with zero emissions by 2050, without relying on as as-yet un-scaled energy sector or negative emissions technologies. This pragmatic but striking view of the journey to zero emissions has attracted widespread interest including a full debate in the House of Lords in February 2020. Following the report, at the request of the UK Catapults, the UK FIRES team have been working through industry-focused workshops to develop five sectoral innovation reports to reveal the wealth of business growth opportunity revealed by the Absolute Zero analysis. These will be released during 2021.