North takes a lead in carbon capture technology


Two Northern schemes have been selected as forerunners in a carbon capture and storage cluster programme by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) this morning, as the Prime Minister sets out the government’s net zero strategy ahead of COP26 in just a few weeks.

HyNet in the North West and the East Coast Cluster, a collaboration between Zero Carbon Humber, Net Zero Teesside and Northern Endurance Partnership, have both been named as “Track-1” clusters in a written statement from Energy Minister Rt Hon Greg Hands MP, putting them on course for deployment by the mid-2020s.

He said: “Deploying CCUS will be a significant undertaking, these are new major infrastructure projects for a new sector of the economy and carry with them significant risks to deliver by the mid-2020s. Government will continue to play a role in providing long-term certainty to these projects to manage these risks and bring forward the UK’s first CCUS clusters.

“We remain committed to helping all industrial clusters to decarbonise as we work to reach net zero emissions by 2050, and we are clear that CCUS will continue to play a key role in this process.

“Consequently, the government continues to be committed to Track Two enabling 10Mtpa capacity operational by 2030. This puts these places – Teesside, the Humber, Merseyside, North Wales and the North East of Scotland – among the potential early SuperPlaces which will be transformed over the next decade.”

Carbon capture and storage is a pioneering new technology which stops carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and is a crucial tool in the path to net zero.

The East Coast Cluster proposal

The East Coast Cluster is made up of both Zero Carbon Humber and Net Zero Teesside, supported by the Northern Endurance Partnership – a collaboration between bp, Eni, Equinor, National Grid, Shell and Total, with bp leading as operator.

The Humber and Teesside industrial clusters make up 50% of the UK’s industrial emissions, so decarbonising these regions will have the biggest impact on the UK reaching net zero.

Drax, one of our member organisations, is ready to invest more than £2bn in two BECCS units at Drax Power Station, with the creation of tens of thousands of jobs.

BECCS at Drax can permanently remove at least eight million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere each year, whilst supporting the creation of a new global industry in the UK, delivering tens of thousands of jobs in a new green economy.

“Today’s Government announcement is welcome news, and a crucial next step on the UK’s decarbonisation journey. Drax’s bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) project will play a vital role in the East Coast Cluster, enabling the UK’s most carbon intensive regions decarbonise helping the UK to reach net zero.

“BECCS at Drax will protect and create tens of thousands of jobs, whilst showcasing the UK’s global leadership in a vital negative emissions technology. The first BECCS unit at Drax could be operational in 2027, delivering the world’s largest carbon capture project, permanently removing millions of tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere, playing a vital role in the fight against the climate crisis.”

Will Gardiner, CEO at Drax Group

HyNet hopes to to supply clean hydrogen and store carbon dioxide, helping businesses across the region cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce costs, and launch green products.

Project leaders estimate HyNet would also catalyse job growth across the North West and North Wales, with the potential to deliver a £17bn economic impact locally, protecting more than 340,000 manufacturing jobs in the region, and helping to create 6,000 low carbon roles.

The HyNet scheme in the North West

NPP director Henri Murison said: “This could be a pivotal moment for the North taking the lead in a green energy revolution and is testament to the leadership of Metro Mayors Steve Rotheram and Ben Houchen, as well as private sector expertise and investment from those such as Sembcorp, Drax and ENI. 

“Now it’s time for clusters on both sides of the Pennines to collaborate on pioneering this technology further, as well as supporting those in Scotland to benefit from our early learnings in their efforts. The bulk of the industrial demand for carbon capture and storage is here, allowing us to protect traditional industries while creating new high skilled jobs and exportable know how. 

“We need to tackle global net zero challenges here in the UK rather than simply exporting emissions to other countries.  The Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change Greg Hands MP and the government as a whole have made the right decision from both an economic and an environmental perspective.”

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