The UK government has handed out £171 million ($237 million) to kick-start a series of projects that aim to decarbonise large swathes of industry using technologies to produce clean-burning hydrogen and to capture carbon dioxide as part of a new “green revolution”.
The funding is part of wider government plans announced on Wednesday to invest nearly £1 billion to cut emissions from industry, schools and hospitals, create thousands of jobs and meet climate targets.
The government said in a statement it hopes the funding will create and support up to 80,000 jobs over the next 30 years and help the country cut emissions from industry by two-thirds in 15 years.
UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the government's Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy is designed to send a clear signal to the market by setting out how the government expects decarbonisation to happen, while improving investor confidence.
Some £932 million will be directed to 429 projects across England to help reduce emissions from public buildings such as schools, hospitals and council buildings through low-carbon schemes like energy-efficient insulation, low-carbon heating systems, installing solar panels and efficient lighting.
A further £171 million from the government’s Industrial Decarbonisation Fund has been allocated to a clutch of projects in Scotland, South Wales, and the north-west, Humber and Teesside regions in England to help decarbonise industry.
One is the Eni-led HyNet North West hydrogen and CCUS scheme in north-west England, which will receive almost £33 million.
Three projects in which Norwegian state-controlled Energy company Equinor is involved were also successful.
These are the Zero Carbon Humber (ZCH) partnership, anchored by the H2H Saltend scheme, which will receive more than £21 million to decarbonise a large swathe of industry in the Humber region, anchored by the H2H Saltend scheme, and the Net Zero Teesside and the Northern Endurance Partnership, which will receive more £52 million for two projects that aim to decarbonise the Teesside industrial cluster in the mid-2020s
Grete Tveit, senior vice president for Low Carbon Solutions in Equinor, said the roll-out of CCUS and hydrogen will establish the UK as a "world leader".
Some £12 million has also been awarded to the Humber Zero scheme, backed by Vitol’s VPI Immingham power plant and the Phillips 66 Humber Refinery, which plans to decarbonise an industrial complex at Immingham in Lincolnshire.
Nearly £20 million will go to the South Wales Industrial Cluster, which is planning to create a net-zero emissions industrial zone from Pembrokeshire to the Welsh/English border by 2040.
More than £31 million has been allocated to Scotland’s Net Zero Infrastructure project — led by Pale Blue Dot and which comprises the Acorn CCUS scheme — to fund offshore and onshore engineering studies connecting industrial sites across east Scotland with access to carbon storage.
Kwarteng said: “We were the first major economy to put into law our target to end our contribution to climate change, and today we’re taking steps to be the first major economy to have its own low carbon industrial sector.
“While reaching our climate targets will require extensive change across our economy, we must do so in a way that protects jobs, creates new industries and attracts inward investment - without pushing emissions and business abroad.”
Pale Blue Dot chief executive Nick Cooper said: "This funding will support a range of projects to progress Scotland’s low carbon infrastructure including the detailed engineering required to move Acorn CCS and Hydrogen through to final investment decisions."
Zero Carbon Humber will be kick-started by the H2H Saltend scheme, involving a new plant to produce blue hydrogen that will be used to fuel the on site power station at the PX Group-operated Saltend Chemicals Park.
The Saltend Chemicals Park near Hull provides services and utilities to a host of large-scale chemicals manufacturers and industrial users, including Air Products, BP, Ineos, Nippon Gohsei, Vivergo Fuels, Yara and Tricoya Ventures. The on site power station is run by Triton.
PX Group chief executive Geoff Holmes said: “The project win is another fabulous result for Saltend, which is establishing itself as the UK’s new manufacturing powerhouse. We continue to go from strength to strength and this reinforces the Park as the go-to location for sustainable project investment.”