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Following last years COP26, it is clear that the UK is taking the lead when it comes to sustainability. And with the country’s net zero targets growing ever closer, green infrastructure is now essential.

The Zero Carbon Humber initiative in the North of England is an innovative new green project that aims to decarbonise industry in the Humber region.

The project was formed in 2019 by a group of leading energy businesses and research institutions – including Drax, Mitsubishi Power, National Grid and the University of Sheffield AMRC.

The Humber net zero project intends to transform the region into the UK’s first net zero carbon industrial cluster by 2040. The project will use a combination of carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen technology.

In 2021, the consortium won a £75 million bid for public and private funding from the UK Research and Innovation’s ‘Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’ (specifically phase 2 of the ‘Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge’).

Why do we need the Zero Carbon Humber project?

The Humber region is a valued industrial hub that contributes significantly to the UK economy, currently employing 55,000 people. But this industrial activity comes at a real cost to the environment. The region is highly carbon intensive, emitting 12.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

Reducing carbon emissions in the region will make this industrial hub more sustainable, preserving existing jobs in energy intensive industries as well leading to the creation of 49,000 new jobs. With support from the community and government, the Humber could have the potential to become a major global centre of industry and innovation.

What green technology is on offer?

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) believes that switching from fossil fuels to clean hydrogen could be pivotal in reaching a sustainable future.  Not only could hydrogen help to decarbonise entire industries within the UK, it could also help the country meet its mandatory legislative objectives.

With the help of sustainable technologies, the Humber would also enable the production of green hydrogen. And at such a large scale, this hydrogen could be key in decarbonising the UK. Industry, heat, power and transport sectors could be significantly improved across the North of England.

Green hydrogen

Green hydrogen is produced by electrolysis, breaking down water into hydrogen and oxygen. It is a clean method of producing hydrogen, as it produces no carbon emissions. Green hydrogen is a versatile renewable energy source that can be blended with natural gas and used for domestic heating and industrial manufacturing. Hydrogen is also an option for transport vehicles.

Carbon capture and storage

Carbon capture and storage is a carbon reduction method that captures carbon at the emission source, transports it, and then stores it in a deep underground location such as under the seabed (which is the case for the Zero Carbon Humber project).

Regional pipeline network

The Zero Carbon Humber proposals include a regional network of onshore pipelines, compromising of an onshore CO₂ pipeline alongside a hydrogen pipeline. This will give local industrial sites the option of capturing carbon as well as taking up green hydrogen. The project has also partnered with Equinor and National Grid to ensure offshore delivery and storage of carbon, as part of the Northern Endurance Partnership.

Where does Monarch come in?

For the world to progress sustainably, something needs to change. Businesses must seriously challenge what can be improved within their sites in order to help prevent further climate damage. While switching to more sustainable practices may seem daunting, it is beneficial on many levels.

At Monarch, we understand the urgency to reach net zero targets as quickly and efficiently as possible. Our expert team are on hand to help you discover inefficiencies in your business and fix them. We offer a range of green services – including renewable energy solutions, carbon compliance advice, sustainable procurement and cost management – to make sure you are receiving the most sustainable solutions for both your business and the environment.

Get in touch to find out how Monarch can help you take your first steps towards a sustainable future.

Sophie Wyatt

Author Sophie Wyatt

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