A collaboration of industry leaders in the North West have secured a share of £8 million in government funding in the drive to create the world’s first ‘net zero industrial cluster’.
The Net Zero North West partnership, which was officially launched in October 2020, will use the funding to further develop plans to remove over 40 million tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere and create thousands of green jobs in industry projects stretching from Cheshire across to Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region.
The projects - which include the hydrogen and carbon capture initiative Hynet North West, the multi-billion Mersey Tidal scheme, a £500 million smart energy grid in Ellesmere Port and the UK’s first waste plastic to hydrogen facility in Cheshire - have the potential to create at least 33,000 jobs and unlock £4 billion in investment. The resulting carbon savings could be more than the current annual carbon emissions of every home in the North West combined.
The government has now backed the initiative, alongside five other projects nationwide, as part of its £170 million Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge. The overall aim is to create four low carbon industrial hubs by 2030 and at least one world-first ‘net zero emission cluster’ by 2040 - where industries in the region collectively reduce their emissions to as close to zero as possible.
Carl Ennis, chairman of Net Zero North West and CEO of Siemens UK, said: “Across renewables, hydrogen, CCUS [carbon capture, utilisation and storage], nuclear and smart grids, our region is in a truly unique position to become a world-leader in clean growth.
“Our cluster is already delivering on the ground and paving the way towards a net zero future, which will protect the manufacturing jobs that have made this region thrive and create a sustainable pipeline of new high value green jobs for our region.”
Switching from natural gas to hydrogen
Meanwhile, the first hydrogen has been fired at a test centre in Rochdale as part of Hynet’s ‘Industrial Fuel Switching’ programme, which will provide data and evidence to show how industry can switch from natural gas to low carbon hydrogen.
Consumer goods giant Unilever is one of the major companies taking part in the trial and will be running its own fuel switching test in a live manufacturing environment later this year. Glass manufacturer NSG-Pilkington will also by testing hydrogen at its glass production furnace in St Helens.
Commenting on the project milestone, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said: “This hydrogen trial shows how the North West and Greater Manchester are at the forefront of the low carbon economy. The new hydrogen network will supply our industry with low carbon hydrogen, decarbonising our homes and vehicles and creating good jobs for the future.”
Posted under General Interest and Environmental Technologies and Renewable Energy on 27 January 2021