UKRI awards £171m in UK decarbonisation to nine projects

Humber Zero

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has today announced a milestone in UK decarbonisation, with the award of £171 million funding across nine significant projects.

The funding is being awarded through UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) decarbonisation of industrial clusters phase two: deployment competition. It is delivered by the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge.

Significant emissions reduction

In the competition, projects were expected to be able to support delivery of significant emissions reduction in at least one UK industrial cluster by 2030. This is in line with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy industrial clusters mission.

The nine winning projects include:

  • three offshore storage sites for CO2 (in the north-west, north-east and Scotland)
  • CO2 capture and/or hydrogen production projects in the north-west, Scotland, Teesside, Humberside (two projects) and south Wales.

The competition ran through the second half of 2020. It aims to deliver significant reductions in industrial CO2 emissions in industrial clusters by 2030 through development of offshore storage and onshore infrastructure.

Projects were required to demonstrate:

  • the regional and national significance of their proposals
  • how net zero could be delivered in their region by 2040, supporting the UK target of net zero by 2050.

The successful projects include:

  • HyNet’s plan to develop a full-chain hydrogen project in the North West, including repurposing old oil and gas assets for CO2 transport and storage
  • south Wales industrial cluster’s plans to provide the UK with lower carbon steel and reduced carbon cement products that will benefit wider UK infrastructure.

Low-carbon industrial sector

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:

We were the first major economy to put into law our target to end our contribution to climate change, and today we’re taking steps to be the first major economy to have its own low-carbon industrial sector.

While reaching our climate targets will require extensive change across our economy, we must do so in a way that protects jobs, creates new industries and attracts inward investment – without pushing emissions and business abroad.

Ahead of COP26, the UK is showing the world how we can cut emissions, create jobs and unleash private investment and economic growth. Today’s strategy builds on this winning formula as we transition low carbon and renewable energy sources, while supporting the competitiveness of Britain’s industrial base.

Bryony Livesey, challenge director for the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge, UKRI, said:

The announcement of this funding is a significant step in our progress of supporting large-scale decarbonisation efforts, and we are looking forward to working alongside the projects as they put their revolutionary plans into action.

The benefits to these regional clusters will be substantial, both in terms of the environmental impact, as well as the opportunity for jobs and increasing the global competitiveness of industry in these areas. It once again demonstrates the UK’s industry as being at the forefront of innovation and creating greener solutions for the future.

Cutting-edge research and innovation

This investment adds to UKRI’s long tradition of investing in cutting-edge research and innovation to understand, tackle and mitigate the effects of climate change.

This year the UK hosts the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) summit in November. UKRI will use its role as a steward of the research and innovation system to bring our communities together. We aim to create sustainable and resilient solutions and encourage new behaviours and new ways of living that enable the UK to reach net zero by 2050.

Further information

About the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge

UKRI’s £171 million Industrial Decarbonisation programme is part of the ISCF. It aims to support the development of low-carbon technologies that will increase the competitiveness of industry and contribute to the UK’s drive for clean growth.

It will reduce the carbon footprint of heavy and energy intensive industries in the UK, such as:

  • iron and steel
  • cement
  • refining and chemicals.

Funding will be focused on developing technologies such as:

  • carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS)
  • hydrogen fuel switching.

The technologies will be deployed and scaled up within the UK’s largest industrial clusters.

Funding from the challenge will drive industrial decarbonisation whilst enhancing productivity for these regions, to create new jobs for a low-carbon future.

This challenge is the first active funding stream as part of a wider government commitment to cut industrial emissions. It will develop at least one low-carbon industrial cluster by 2030, and the world’s first net zero carbon industrial cluster by 2040 in support of the industrial clusters mission.

Additional information on competition winners

HyNet (offshore) – hydrogen and CCUS – £13,324,521

Organisations involved:

  • Progressive Energy Ltd (lead)
  • ENI UK Ltd.

HyNet is one of the most advanced, low risk and cost-effective full chain hydrogen and CCUS industrial decarbonisation projects in the UK.

While industrial decarbonisation is the anchor, the project builds the infrastructure backbone for a full regional hydrogen economy. It leverages the opportunity to repurpose existing oil and gas facilities for future CCUS.

A dedicated network will transport hydrogen from production to demand points and storage assets. The network will provide the infrastructure to transport and store the CO2 produced as a by-product of the hydrogen production process and CO2 from a number of the UK’s largest industrial emitters.

HyNet (onshore) – hydrogen and CCUS – £19,451,381

Organisations involved:

  • Progressive Energy Ltd (lead)
  • Cadent Gas Ltd
  • University of Chester
  • CF Fertilisers UK Ltd
  • ENI UK Ltd
  • Essar Oil (UK) Ltd
  • Castle Cement Ltd
  • Inovyn Enterprises Ltd.

Scotland’s net zero infrastructure (offshore) – £11,347,956

Organisations involved:

  • Pale Blue Dot Energy Ltd (lead)
  • Petrofac Facilities Management Ltd.

This project will focus on developing the offshore Acorn storage site and associated offshore infrastructure. The project will fund important engineering studies. It will develop the key offshore components of the cluster, increasing investor confidence and providing the storage capacity to make a net zero industrial cluster in the UK a reality.

This proposal seeks to develop the major offshore storage components of the Scottish industrial cluster. It will develop offshore pipeline, subsea and well-related infrastructure to transport and inject the CO2 offshore for long-term secure storage.

The onshore and offshore projects together provide a clear and tangible path to decarbonisation of the Scottish industrial cluster. It will open up opportunities to support other industrial clusters in the UK and abroad.

Scotland’s net zero infrastructure (onshore) – £19,956,777

Organisations involved:

  • Pale Blue Dot Energy Ltd (lead)
  • University of Strathclyde
  • Neccus
  • SSE Generation Ltd
  • National Grid Plc
  • GBTron Power Ltd.

This project will focus on developing the offshore Acorn storage site and associated offshore infrastructure. The project will fund important engineering studies. It will develop the key offshore components of the cluster, increasing investor confidence and providing the storage capacity to make a net zero industrial cluster in the UK a reality.

This proposal seeks to develop the major offshore storage components of the Scottish industrial cluster. It will develop offshore pipeline, subsea and well-related infrastructure to transport and inject the CO2 offshore for long-term secure storage.

The onshore and offshore projects together provide a clear and tangible path to decarbonisation of the Scottish industrial cluster. It will open up opportunities to support other industrial clusters in the UK and abroad.

Net zero Teesside (onshore) – £28,052,338

Organisations involved:

  • BP Exploration Operating Company Ltd (lead)
  • The North East of England Process Industry Cluster Ltd
  • Sembcorp Utilities (UK) Ltd
  • Boc Ltd
  • Shell UK Ltd
  • CF Fertilisers UK Ltd
  • Tees Valley Combined Authority
  • Eni UK Ltd
  • Equinor New Energy Ltd
  • National Grid Carbon Ltd
  • Total Gas & Power Chartering Ltd.

The project anchor is a world first flexible gas power plant with CCUS, which will complement rather than compete with renewables. It will capture approximately two million tonnes of CO2 annually from 2026, decarbonising 750MW of flexible power. It will enable a reduction of Teesside’s emissions by one third through partnership with industrial stakeholders.

CO2 will be permanently and safely stored in a well-understood large geological aquifer located in the Southern North Sea.

The development is estimated to:

  • support and safeguard between 35% and 70% of existing manufacturing jobs in Tees Valley
  • have an annual gross benefit of up to £450 million for the Teesside region
  • support of up to 5,500 direct jobs during construction.

Northern endurance partnership – £24,002,130

Organisations involved:

  • BP Exploration Operating Company Ltd (lead)
  • Shell UK Ltd
  • Eni UK Ltd
  • Equinor New Energy Ltd
  • National Grid Carbon Ltd
  • Total Gas & Power Chartering Ltd.

The project will create an offshore CO2 transport and storage system connecting two innovative first-of-a-kind onshore capture projects into one initial geological store.

The combined onshore anchor projects aim to capture three million tonnes of CO2 annually from 2026, decarbonising 750MW of flexible power at Teesside. It will reduce emissions by one million tonnes a year in Humber by fuel switching the Saltend chemicals park to blue hydrogen.

Gas power with CCUS, large-scale blue hydrogen and a combined offshore CCUS scheme will be world firsts. This project has the potential to underpin over 25,500 jobs in the Humber/Teesside area, showcasing a broad range of decarbonisation technologies, globally unparalleled in scale, optionality and ambition.

Zero Carbon Humber (ZCH) partnership – £21,496,246

Organisations involved:

  • Equinor New Energy Ltd (lead)
  • University of Sheffield
  • British Steel Ltd
  • National Grid Carbon Ltd
  • Centrica Storage Ltd
  • Saltend Cogeneration Company Ltd
  • Associated British Ports
  • Drax Corporate Ltd
  • Uniper UK Ltd
  • PX Ltd
  • SSE Generation Ltd
  • Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Europe Ltd.

ZCH will deliver first-of-a-kind low-carbon infrastructure, comprising CO2 and hydrogen transmission pipelines linking the region’s major emitters. It will provide a pathway to deliver at-scale decarbonisation. The infrastructure will be anchored by the H2H-Saltend project.

The low-carbon infrastructure’s parallel CO2 and H2 pipelines will enable CO2 emissions to be captured and transported, and fuel-switching of end-users to H2 for a long-term sustainable transition to low-carbon energy.

Additionally, H2H-Saltend will develop a low-carbon ammonia export product and partially decarbonise all other products produced on-site.

Humber Zero – £12,692,948

Organisations involved:

  • VPI Immingham LLP (lead)
  • Phillips 66 Ltd.

Humber Zero plans to decarbonise the world-scale industrial complex at Immingham, representing approximately 8MTPA of CO2 emissions, by the late 2020’s via a combination of technology pathways.

This will create a carbon capture and hydrogen hub, providing cost-effective decarbonised energy supply and storage opportunities to industry and the National Grid.

The project will retrofit post combustion capture plant to two existing gas turbines and auxiliary boilers at VPI’s Combined Heat and Power plant, and a major process unit (Fluid Catalytic Cracker) at Phillips 66’s Humber Refinery.

South Wales Industrial Cluster (SWIC) – £19,999,997

Organisations involved:

  • Costain Oil, Gas & Process Ltd (lead)
  • Tarmac Trading Ltd
  • Tata Steel UK Ltd
  • University of South Wales
  • Progressive Energy Ltd
  • Wales & West Utilities Ltd
  • Milford Haven Port Authority
  • RWE Generation UK Plc
  • CR Plus Ltd
  • Valero Energy UK Ltd
  • Capital Law Ltd
  • Associated British Ports
  • Sector Development Wales Partnership Ltd
  • Simec Uskmouth Power Ltd
  • Lanzatech UK Ltd
  • Lightsource BP Renewable Energy Investments Ltd
  • Shell UK.

SWIC will create pathways and opportunities to promote Wales as a leading global player in decarbonised industrial and economic growth.

The project will devise options to support regional hydrogen deployment and to develop CCUS as an interim measure.

It will nurture symbiosis between industry, cities/towns, transport, and agriculture. It will be achieved through sustainable clean growth plans that maintain a growing and diverse industrial sector region. This could potentially protect 103,000+ existing jobs, part of the project’s central aim to protect the future of these communities.

SWIC will also provide the UK with lower carbon steel and reduced carbon cement products that form the backbone of the wider UK Infrastructure Industry.

Top image: Humber Zero (credit: px Group)

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