Roadmap for zero carbon Humber by 2040

Nov 05 2019

A new report providing the most detailed assessment yet of how the UK can develop the world’s first zero carbon industrial cluster has been published.

The proposals published by the Zero Carbon Humber campaign, led by multinational energy firms Drax Group, Equinor and National Grid Ventures, could help protect 55,000 jobs and deliver the biggest contribution to the UK’s climate goals of any industrial region.

'Capture For Growth: A roadmap for the world’s first zero carbon industrial cluster' sets out how the region could deliver the government’s world-leading ambition to establish the first ‘net zero’ carbon industrial cluster in the UK by 2040, helping the Humber to compete on the world stage by attracting new investment, industries and employment.

The proposals are supported by new analysis by Element Energy which finds that if the world’s first net zero carbon industrial cluster is developed in the Humber region, 53 million tonnes of CO2 a year could be captured – that’s around 15% of the UK’s current annual CO2 emissions. They would also help save industrial businesses in the region carbon taxes of up to £27.5bn by 2040 helping to protect jobs and competitiveness.

“This report sets out how a hydrogen economy can be kick-started from the Humber region and grow across the North of England, said Irene Rummelhoff, Executive Vice President, Marketing, Midstream & Processing at Equinor. "Hydrogen has a key role to play in the UK reaching net zero by cleaning up industry, heating, transport and power, as well as delivering improved air quality.”

The report shows that the Humber is ideally positioned to become the world’s first net zero industrial cluster:

  • The region is home to the UK’s biggest industrial economy, employing 55,000 people and contributing £18bn to UK GDP each year.
  • It has a rich industrial heritage and hosts around 100 chemical and refining companies alone, which together account for around 12% of total employment in the UK chemicals sector.
  • The Humber is also the UK’s largest emitter of CO2. Industries could face carbon taxes of up to £27.5bn by 2040 which would harm competitiveness.
  • A world leading trial of bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology is underway at Drax’s power plant in North Yorkshire, which could create the world’s first negative emissions power station.
  • This power station could then be used as the economic anchor to make a carbon capture pipeline across the Humber viable – enabling industrial businesses in the region to capture the carbon they emit
  • A new hydrogen production facility could kick start a hydrogen economy in the region covering industry, heating for homes and businesses, power generation and transport. Cleaner transport alone could remove 4.2 million tonnes of CO2 from the region, improve air quality and save the NHS millions of pounds.
  • The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said earlier this year that deploying carbon capture and hydrogen technologies at scale is essential if the UK is to meet its legally binding target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
  • The Humber is also close to potential major geological storage sites for CO2 emissions deep beneath the Southern North Sea.


The publication of the Roadmap follows the recent launch of a government consultation into its £315m Industrial Energy Transition Fund which is intended to help industry reduce carbon emissions.

Download the report
Zero Carbon Humber

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