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Humber aims for net zero emissions

Published August 19, 2020

Humber aims for net zero emissions

The Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and CATCH UK have submitted a joint proposal to build the world’s first zero carbon industrial cluster, with the goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions in the region by 2040.

The proposal, which is also backed by eight private sector businesses, has been submitted to Innovate UK. The project stands at £2.6m, with £1.658m sought from Government in the initial bid as part of the Government’s Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge Fund scheme, which itself is part of the £350m green recovery package announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

In April of 2020, the Humber Cluster Plan (HCP) received initial funding from Innovate UK for a feasibility study, which found that both carbon capture and fuel-switching to hydrogen would help to decarbonise the cluster and help the UK meet its 2050 targets.

“It is imperative that the Humber region decarbonises on a huge scale – but in a way that safeguards our strategically important industries and creates new jobs and business opportunities…The Humber Cluster Plan is a significant opportunity to achieve this by creating a clear pathway seeking to position the Humber as a global leader on this agenda,” said Stephen Parnaby OBE, Chair of the Humber LEP.

The Zero Carbon Humber project, which is a partnership between Drax Group, Equinor, and National Grid Ventures to build the world’s first zero carbon industrial cluster and which is tied to the HCP, made a commitment in May 2019 to help create a net zero carbon cluster in the Humber through:

  • Exploring the opportunity to scale up the innovative bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS) pilot project at the Drax Power Station in order to create the world’s first carbon negative power station in the 2020s
  • Exploring the potential development of a large-scale hydrogen demonstrator by as early as the mid-2020s – in line with the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation that hydrogen should be produced at scale in at least one industrial cluster by 2030
  • Exploring the strategic opportunities in developing a cutting-edge hydrogen economy in the Humber region as well as Yorkshire and the North of England

The Humber region is one of the most carbon-intensive industrial clusters in the UK, producing 30% more carbon dioxide in its industrial zone than the second largest industrial cluster in the UK. The area is also vulnerable to natural disasters linked to climate change, which threatens not only the economy but also the lives and livelihoods of the people in the region.

A decision on the proposal is expected this autumn, and the project is slated to begin in January.

In July of 2020, we sat down with David Talbot, CEO of Catch UK, for a chat about the plans to decarbonise the Humber. If you’ve not yet listened to the interview, visit https://netzerocarbon.com/net-zero-tv/industrial-decarbonisation-plans-to-deliver-negative-emissions/.