Net zero carbon industry plans to cut emissions and protect jobs

5th November 2019 | Commercial Energy

Technology to capture carbon emissions and facilities to create hydrogen in the Humber region could play a major role in cutting UK pollution. Creating the “world’s first net zero carbon industrial cluster” could help protect thousands of jobs and make a major impact to cutting emissions, its backers said.

Firms led by Drax Group, Equinor and National Grid Ventures have set out proposals for developing an industrial cluster in the Humber region which will capture and store carbon emissions and produce hydrogen as a clean fuel. Creating the zero carbon hub could capture 53 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, around 15% of the UK’s current annual emissions, according to analysis by Element Energy which forms part of a new report on the proposals.

Cut emissions

And it would help save industrial businesses in the region from having to pay carbon taxes of up to £2.9 billion a year by 2040, helping safeguard some 55,000 jobs, and improve health by boosting air quality, the report said.

The scheme focuses on developing technology at Drax’s power plant in North Yorkshire that burns biomass such as woody material and then captures the carbon emissions to be permanently stored underground so that overall it is “carbon negative”. This could offset the emissions of other industry in the region, and provide an anchor for a system for transporting and storing carbon dioxide under the North Sea, which other firms could plug into a capture their own emissions.

This plan sets out a clear blueprint of how to get the Humber to net zero – the impact of decarbonising the most carbon intensive region in the country will make a major contribution to the UK reaching its world-leading climate goals. The plans also include a role for producing hydrogen, which can be burned without creating emissions to deliver heat in industrial processes, heat buildings and fuel heavy transport, and can be stored like natural gas.

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