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New India-UK partnership to develop sustainable materials for steel industry


LONDON: A new GBP 10-million design and manufacturing centre has been created in partnership between Imperial College London and Indian multinational Tata Steel as part of efforts to develop innovative new processes to help decarbonise steel production. The Centre for Innovation in Sustainable Design and Manufacturing is expected to enable the development of high performing and sustainable products in the automotive and clean energy industries through new types of steel and other new materials, and steel combined with other materials.

According to Imperial, lighter and stronger types of steel, and steel when combined with other materials such as composites, could foster more energy-efficient and affordable vehicles and clean energy generation.

“Drawing on Imperial and Tata Steel’s combined expertise, this new centre will work to reduce the environmental impact in steel production and in key sectors that use steel, like the clean energy sector,” Professor Mary Ryan, Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise) at Imperial College London and co-chair of the Governing Council of the centre, said in a statement on Wednesday.

“To create a zero-pollution future, it’s vital that we prioritise systematic transformation of industrial systems. By doing this, the new centre will contribute to the creation of a high tech and economically successful steel industry, both in the UK and across the world,” she said.

Imperial, a leading UK research university, points out that Tata Steel will benefit from the expertise of Imperial academics both in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and across the university.

The centre will also incorporate an accelerator programme designed to support the rapid transfer of new insights to the industry, with Imperial researchers working to develop new technologies to early stages of readiness that will become available for further development and commercialisation by Tata Steel. “This new Centre is a great example of how Imperial’s research can have real-world impact and address a key global challenge,” said Professor Nigel Brandon, Dean of Imperial’s Faculty of Engineering. “Innovative manufacturing processes are urgently needed to decarbonise steel production and accelerate the transition to a more sustainable steel industry. By combining Imperial’s academic expertise and Tata Steel’s valuable insight and experience in this industry, we will maximise the impact of our research to benefit people around the world,” he said.

Imperial said it uses research partnerships with industry to translate academic expertise into practical solutions to real-world challenges, including in sustainability, backed by the Imperial-wide Transition to Zero Pollution initiative. Tata Steel has a strategic aim to grow its technological capabilities and use high tech manufacturing processes and products.

“The Centre for Innovation is a part of Tata Steel’s larger endeavour to build stronger industry-academia partnerships for driving technological advancement and creating strategic advantages,” said T V Narendran, CEO & MD, Tata Steel.

“The centre at Imperial provides a strong academic and research platform with an excellent talent pool. Our goal is to synergise research excellence with industry experience to create cutting-edge technology solutions for a greener future. This initiative reaffirms Tata Steel’s unwavering commitment to creating a knowledge-intensive organisation,” he said.

Dr Debashish Bhattacharjee, Vice President, Technology and R&D, Tata Steel, noted that the new centre will focus on the “design and development of sustainable solutions”.

“Sustainability cannot be an after-thought, rather needs to be embedded into the production process and materials design. Tata Steel is committed to pioneering disruptive technologies through active collaboration and I look forward to engaging with an acclaimed academic institution like Imperial on the journey towards technology leadership and sustainable business growth,” he added.


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