27th April 2020

The North West Energy & Hydrogen Cluster has secured a funding boost designed to help map out the region’s journey to becoming the UK’s first net zero carbon industrial area by 2040. The hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) project, HyNet, has also been backed.

The £120,000 project – which is jointly funded by UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) under the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge Fund (IDCF) – will be used to set out a clear vision for how the North West will decarbonise industry, protect jobs and help the UK meet its legally binding net zero targets.

Led by the North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT), the cluster brings together political and industry partners in a move which could yield 33,000 jobs, more than £4bn of investment and save 10 million tonnes of carbon per year.

The roadmap will identify the projects, technologies and strategic infrastructure required across the region to underpin future private and public sector investment.

It will lead to a future funding bid for a share of £8m later this year under phase two of the scheme.

Richard Carter, managing director at BASF and chairman of the NWBLT, said: “The UK is locked into a net zero emissions target by 2050 and with industry accounting for a quarter of all emissions we urgently need a plan to decarbonise our industrial clusters.

“In the North West, our existing strengths in oil refining, chemical production and automotive manufacturing mean we’re ideally placed to develop services that can have a swift and significant impact.

“Businesses in the region are facing some of their most challenging times in decades. As we look to recovery, the clean growth agenda is going to be even more important, helping to secure the future of our industries, attract investment and deliver new jobs.”

A key part of the North West’s decarbonisation approach is the work taking place to develop a hydrogen economy, which is being spearheaded by the North West Hydrogen Alliance (NWHA).

This includes the HyNet project, which intends to be piping low carbon hydrogen to industry in the region by the mid-2020s.

HyNet also received funding from the deployment strand of the IDCF to initiate front-end engineering and design, and will now be able to compete for a share of up to £131m in phase two of the competition.

Professor Joe Howe, chair of the NWHA and executive director at the University of Chester’s Thornton Energy Research Institute, added: “We’re already well on the way to developing a pioneering hydrogen economy in the North West.

“HyNet is by far the UK’s most advanced hydrogen and carbon capture storage project which could see hydrogen piped into homes and businesses as early as 2025.

“Its not just a concept anymore and this funding will help further develop the engineering required to deliver this groundbreaking project and could see the North West get millions more in government funding.”


27th April 2020