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Net Zero Heroes Programme for Sustainable Industry Solutions

Mon, 17 May, 2021

The partners of the Industrial Net Zero Innovation Centre (INZIC), Digital Catapult and TWI, hosted a workshop on 30 April 2021 to introduce INZIC’s Net Zero Hero programme to industry leaders, as well as open up a dialogue about how industry can best address the sustainability challenges and opportunities facing it today, and understand the economic, social and environmental benefits of sustainability.

Net Zero Hero is designed to support companies across industry on their journey to net zero by using digital technologies to create positive environmental impact.  It will assist early stage technology businesses to develop innovative prototypes that address industry’s key challenges around net zero and sustainability, and bring together different parts of the supply chain to accelerate progress towards zero emissions.

Attendees to the workshop were able to share, and gain insights into, how industrial net zero initiatives, and the sustainability of industrial products, processes and supply chains can be improved. The format enabled dynamic discussion on some of the common challenges being collectively faced, and how the digital technology community could support the government’s net zero delivery ambitions.

Key challenges and options identified from the discussions include:

Energy efficiency – digital solutions for blended energy (such as solar, wind and hydrogen) management systems will become vital to ensuring energy efficiency and continuous power supply.  A full plant overview will enable operators to gain a better understanding of assets and renewable energy reduction, as well as optimise onsite performance.

Optimised operations – significant opportunities to achieve net zero emissions through maintenance strategy and process optimisation, for example reducing asset downtime through predictive maintenance, and using digital tools to ensure consistency between batches, thereby reducing waste and the need to re-work operations.

Sustainable supply chains – greater transparency across supply chains to contribute to sustainable transformation, the tracking of emissions, and greater sharing of manufacturing and logistics data via shared platforms presenting a single source of truth.  Together these can lead to a wide range of benefits and a significant return on investment (ROI).

Zero waste – remanufacture by finding a second life for major components such as vehicle batteries, or recycling by implementing a circular supply of materials for consumer electronics, will support the move to net zero while simultaneously presenting opportunities for new value propositions and business models within industry.

The Net Zero Heroes programme is currently recruiting ‘industrial challenge owners’.  These will be representatives from businesses who are looking to develop digital prototypes that can address industrial environmental challenges in four areas: energy efficiency, optimised operations, sustainable supply chains and zero waste.

Speaking on behalf of INZIC, David Pugh, Manufacturing Market Lead at Digital Catapult, said “We will be taking the ideas from the workshop forward, as part of the Net Zero Heroes programme, with the aim of developing solutions that are suitable for market adoption and collaboratively utilise these learnings to reduce the UK’s industrial emissions.”

To find out more about this programme, please email:

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