Almost £350 million is being made available to help cut emissions from heavy industry, construction and transport, the Prime Minister has announced.
The investment, in projects ranging from hydrogen power to recyclable steel and clean vehicle technology, will help “fuel a green, sustainable recovery” as the UK rebuilds from the pandemic, Boris Johnson said.
It aims to help the UK meet its legally binding target to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero overall by 2050.
And it comes amid widespread calls to reboot the economy in the wake of the pandemic in ways that help tackle the climate and nature crises.
The Prime Minister announced the cash for successful projects ahead of the first meeting of the UK jet zero council to bring industry and government together in a bid to create zero emissions long-haul passenger planes.
Mr Johnson said: “The UK now has a huge opportunity to cement its place at the vanguard of green innovation, setting an example worldwide while growing the economy and creating new jobs.
“That’s why we’re backing cutting edge research to cut costs and carbon across our great British industries, and even paving the way for the first ever zero-emission, long-haul passenger flight – so that our green ambitions remain sky high as we build back better for both our people and our planet.”
Heavy industry will receive £139 million to support the move from using natural gas to hydrogen power and scale up carbon capture and storage technology to reduce the emissions from industrial plants.
There will also be £149 million to drive the use of innovative materials in the sector, with 13 initial projects including proposals to use waste ash in the glass and ceramic industry and the development of recyclable steel.
A further £26 million will go to new building techniques to reduce costs and emissions from construction and £10 million will go to 19 projects focused on productivity and building quality, such as pre-assembled re-usable roofs and walls.
The funding also includes a new national space innovation programme backed by £15 million initial funding from the UK Space Agency, with the first £10 million going towards projects that will monitor climate change across the globe.
And car companies will be able to bid for a further £10 million for research and development to help them develop prototypes to market, such as more efficient electric motors or more powerful batteries.
Business and Energy Secretary Alok Sharma, said: “Climate change is among the greatest challenges of our age.
“To tackle it we need to unleash innovation in businesses across the country.
“This funding will reduce emissions, create ‘green collar’ jobs and fuel a strong, clean economic recovery, all essential to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.”
Emma Pinchbeck, chief executive of trade association Energy UK, welcomed the announcement, adding: “Our recent report on the Green Recovery, highlighted the role of hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) and found that Government investment would create jobs across the UK and give us a global ‘early mover’ advantage on these low carbon technologies.
“Hydrogen and CCUS are a part of the bigger Green Recovery. If Government invests in low carbon energy technologies and businesses, we are confident that it will massively benefit the economy, environment and society.”