How the UK can develop the world’s first zero-carbon industrial cluster


Energy stakeholders in the UK have come together to develop and publish a report with recommendations on how the UK can achieve its climate goals by 2040.

The report Capture for Growth: Creating the world’s first zero-carbon economy was compiled by the Zero Carbon Humber Cluster campaign which comprises energy companies Drax Group, Equinor and National Grid Ventures.

By implementing recommendations included in the study, the UK can:

  • Create the world’s first net-zero carbon industrial cluster by 2040 in the Humber region.
  • Protect 55,000 industrial jobs by helping firms decarbonise as well as save £27.5 billion in carbon taxes by 2040.
  • Help the UK to achieve climate goals by reducing the region’s carbon emissions. Would avoid 53 million tonnes of carbon emissions (CO2) a year, which is equivalent to 15% of the UK’s current annual COemissions.
  • Attract new investment, industries and employment.

Measures currently being implemented to decarbonise the Humber include:

  • A bioenergy carbon capture and storage technology pilot is underway at Drax’s power plant in North Yorkshire, which could create the world’s first negative emissions power station.
  • A new hydrogen production facility is set to 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 COfrom the region, improve air quality and save the NHS millions of pounds.

About the Humber

  • The region is home to the UK’s biggest industrial economy, employing 55,000 people and contributing £18 billion 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 £27.5 billion by 2040 which would harm competitiveness.
  • The Humber is also close to potential major geological storage sites for COemissions deep beneath the Southern North Sea.

Lord Haskins, Chair of the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership which is supporting the Zero Carbon Humber campaign, said:“I welcome these proposals which set out a clear route to protect jobs, tackle climate change and help the Humber compete globally. Today, the UK is in the lead, but other countries are closing the gap by helping their industries achieve their net-zero carbon goals.

“The Humber is uniquely well placed to deliver clean growth, and I hope the next Government will get behind the exciting proposals coming forward from the region.”

“The UK reaching its world-leading climate goals. We need to seize this opportunity. Zero starts here.”

Jon Butterworth, COO, Global Transmission at National Grid Ventures said: “The government has set out ambitious plans to develop the world’s first zero-carbon industry cluster by 2040. We believe this is a challenge that can and should be met. By working together across industry sectors, we can protect UK jobs, drive further economic growth and help the country achieve critically important climate goals that will significantly benefit current and future generations.”

The UK is among the top five nations in the race to decarbonise industry by using carbon capture and storage.

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

The report is available for download here