Together with eleven other companies and organisations, Equinor has submitted a joint proposal to create a low carbon cluster in the Humber, the UK’s largest and most carbon-intensive industrial region.

The application by the Zero Carbon Humber (ZCH) Partnership is a first step towards creating the world’s first net zero industrial cluster by 2040 and will support clean growth in the north east of England. The bid for phase two funding from the UK government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) builds on a successful application for phase one funding which was announced in April.

The ZCH Partnership includes: Equinor, Associated British Ports, British Steel, Centrica Storage Ltd, Drax Group, Mitsubishi, National Grid Ventures, px Group, SSE Thermal, Saltend Cogeneration Co. Ltd, Uniper, and the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Centre (AMRC).

“This proposal can bring tremendous benefits to the Humber region, protecting industries, creating jobs, promoting economic growth and reducing emissions. Our bid demonstrates the kind of ambitious action that is needed for the UK to achieve its net zero carbon target by 2050,” said Al Cook, Equinor executive vice president and UK country manager.

The bid centres around two elements. The first is Equinor’s Hydrogen to Humber (H2H) Saltend project at Saltend Chemicals Park near the city of Hull. H2H Saltend will be the largest plant of its kind to convert natural gas to hydrogen, combining a 600 MW autothermal reformer with carbon capture. From first production, H2H Saltend will reduce industrial emissions by nearly 900,000 tpy.

The second element is the hydrogen and CO2 pipeline network developed by National Grid Ventures that aims to link H2H Saltend to other industrial sites in the Humber region, enabling them in turn to fuel switch to hydrogen or capture their emissions. These sites include Drax Power station, SSE Thermal’s Keadby site, Uniper’s Killingholme site and British Steel at Scunthorpe.

The total size of the ZCH proposal is £75 million, comprising private and public funding. The funds will be used to progress work towards a final investment decision during 2023, with H2H Saltend and the associated infrastructure potentially coming online in 2026.

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12th October 2020