First funding phase approved for Humber net-zero industrial cluster

Plans to develop the world's first zero-carbon industrial cluster in the Humber region have been boosted after leading energy companies joined an existing consortium of project partners in the same week that Government funding was secured for the project.


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First funding phase approved for Humber net-zero industrial cluster

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) announced late last week that the Humber project’s application for phase one funding via an Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund has been approved

Last year, Drax, Equinor and National Grid published a roadmap fleshing out their plans to create the world’s first zero-carbon industrial hub in the Humber region by 2040. The roadmap sets out proposals to build a demonstration hydrogen production facility in the region by 2025 and install carbon capture equipment on one of the four biomass units at Drax’s power station in Selby two years later.

The project now consists of a consortium of 11 businesses that have signed a formal agreement to support the zero-carbon cluster.

The project partners claim that the initiative will contribute £18bn towards UK Gross Value Added (GVA), while safeguarding 55,000 jobs in manufacturing across the region.

The companies involved include some of the largest businesses in the Humber region: Associated British Ports; Centrica Storage; Drax Group; Equinor; National Grid Ventures; Phillips 66; px Group; SSE Thermal; Saltend Cogeneration Company; VPI-Immingham LLP; and Uniper.

Speaking on behalf of the consortium, Al Cook, executive vice president and UK Country Manager at Equinor said: “We are delighted to be working with such a broad group of skilled and experienced partners on a plan that will bring huge benefits for the economy of the Humber and the environment. We believe CCS and hydrogen must play a significant role in decarbonising energy systems in the UK and globally, so we are pleased that the UK Government and UKRI have recognised the ambition and potential of these proposals.

“At such a difficult time, we hope this can represent some good news for UK industry, jobs, the environment and the economy. We and our partners are now focused on developing our plans further and working closely with key regional stakeholders such as the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership and CATCH UK.”

Cluster race

Under the 2050 net-zero ambition, the UK Government has committed to fully decarbonising at least one industrial cluster by 2040. This has spurred a race between clusters in the North West, Teesside, Humberside, Grangemouth, South Wales and Southampton to become the first to do so.

As part of the Industrial Clusters Missionthe Government opened two innovation funds in October aimed at helping businesses located in key industrial clusters to plan and deploy technology to help reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Up to £140m could be accessed by successful applicants. 

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) announced late last week that the Humber project’s application for phase one funding via an Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund has been approved. Industrial clusters must develop roadmaps to allow them to bid for Phase Two funding.

Elsewhere, BP, Eni, Equinor, Shell and Total have all signed up to spearhead the development of the Net-Zero Teesside project, which focuses heavily on the use of carbon capture, utilisation and storage technology (CCUS).

The North West Energy & Hydrogen Cluster, led by the University of Chester and Manchester Metropolitan University, will create a skills roadmap to develop the “complementary” skill sets of oil and gas works to harness new low-carbon technology such as hydrogen and carbon capture.

The Liverpool and Manchester mayors and Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) are working with the North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT) to develop a decarbonised cluster that could deliver 33,000 jobs and save 10 million tonnes of CO2 per year.

Matt Mace

© Faversham House Ltd 2022 edie news articles may be copied or forwarded for individual use only. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.

Comments (3)

  1. Richard Phillips says:

    Why is hydrogen suddenly the new wonder gas. Volume for volume it contains only one hid of the energy of methane.
    When CO2 has a very similar IR spectrum to water vapour, how is it able to punch so much above its weight? Water vapour varies hugely across the Earth, does not this variation present an effect greater than small increases in CO2.?

    Richard Phillips

  2. Ben Burton says:

    We believe CCS and hydrogen must play a significant role in decarbonising energy systems in the UK and globally, so we are pleased that the UK Government and UKRI have recognised the ambition and potential of these proposals.
    (built on a hunch that hydrogen is going to fix everything is literally a pipe dream.)
    You cant use hydrogen in the natural gas network, any concentration over 10% causes the steal pipes and fittings to become brittle from the hydrogen.

    Cutting down trees, burning them, liquidizing them then storing it in the ground.
    Between that and running a hydrogen plant at 70% conversion efficiency and the energy needed to carbon capture the entire output of the plant will lead to a net output of stuff all . The fact that the government bought into this is truly baffling. The Drax plant will still be needed to back up all the solar and windmills during dark nights and no wind.

  3. Richard Phillips says:

    Indeed Ben, why does HMG buy into such projects;- because HMG do not have the scientific understanding. Economists lawyers and accountants carry much greater weight because politicians having graduate science qualifications are a very rare species indeed.
    An electrical generation system which is some 80% nuclear would be totally under control, able to respond to demand, and the residue gas generation, would be a far better option.
    No renewable, they all depend on natural sources, is under our total control, and can leave the market very short indeed.
    Richard Phillips

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