As part of its ongoing efforts to decarbonise the steel sector, Tata Steel announces ‘Tata Steel – Sprint to Zero’ 2023 Challenge, an initiative to fund innovative research and development projects in low carbon hydrogen that offers tech-led or tech-enabled solutions to address green hydrogen technologies for the industrial sector’s sustainable future. The announcement, part of the UK-India Hydrogen Partnerships, was jointly made by George Freeman, Science Minister of UK, and Dr. Debashish Bhattacharjee, Vice President (Technology and R&D), Tata Steel, at IISc Bangalore on July 7, 2023.
The UK-India Hydrogen Partnerships builds on the UK-India Hydrogen Hub announced by the UK and Indian Prime Ministers in 2022. It will feature a range of private industry sponsored pilots to tackle 5 Grand Challenges – storage, transport, safety, production, and cost – faced by both countries.
Tata Steel is the first sponsor of the UK-India Hydrogen Partnerships sprint series, awarding £80,000 (~Rs 83 lakh) funding to two innovative projects in low carbon hydrogen. As part of the Challenge, the Company will also offer experiential engagement to selected entities including a priority access to its integrated steel plants. The proposals bidding for the grant are expected to address two challenges: a) development and deployment of hydrogen technologies for greening the industrial sector and b) solutions for hydrogen storage/purification.
Minister of State at the UK Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, George Freeman, said: “Across the world, steel is the construction backbone of so much of the global economy. Steelmaking is highly energy and carbon intensive, and cleaning up the steel industry is a key pillar of reducing global warming. Pairing up the UK’s expertise in low carbon manufacturing technology with the Indian steel industry, by working with progressive manufacturers like Tata Steel, we can unlock the innovations that will deliver the steel sector an environmentally sustainable future. For us all.”
Dr. Debashish Bhattacharjee, Vice President, Technology and R&D, Tata Steel, said: “The priority of the steel sector today is to decarbonise and do it in a way that are both technologically and economically sustainable. While the current levels of carbon footprint from the steel sector is unsustainable, the available version of clean hydrogen faces numerous challenges like high operational cost and energy loss. We are committed to finding a solution to these challenges and have created a platform like ‘Tata Steel – Sprint to Zero 2023’ to ensure the best minds from academia and industry join hands in this effort. We are delighted to launch the Sprint initiative in partnership with the UK Government and look forward to a unique collation of UK and Indian innovation policymakers, R&D companies, start-ups, hubs and places, investors, research groups and Catapults.”
The funding call is open for solutions from academia, start-ups and industries across India and the UK. The projects must be co-led by an Indian or a UK organisation with a maximum of three partners per project, where at least one organisation must be either from the UK or India, with a strong academic, research and development background. The last date for submission of proposals is August 31, 2023, and winners will be announced by October 2023. The projects will commence from November 2023 and will last for 9-12 months.