Phillips 66, Uniper and VPI Immingham have entered into a memorandum-of-understanding to co-develop Humber Zero, a large scale decarbonisation project that is fully aligned with the wider Humber Industrial Decarbonisation Deployment Project (Humber DP).
Initially, Humber Zero will decarbonise 8Mt per annum of CO2 emissions, with the potential to target 30Mt of CO2 emissions from the wider Humber Cluster to the west of Immingham. This is in line with the UK government’s 2050 NetZero objectives and will position the Humber at the forefront of the UK’s zero-carbon economy.
Humber Zero has already secured support from Innovate UK and intends to be operational by the mid-2020s.It is the most effective means of rapidly reducing the region’s industrial emissions, through the decarbonisation of the Phillips 66 and Total refineries, and the power plant, VPI Immingham, which serves them. Post combustion capture on two of the three existing generators at VPI Immingham and selected processing units at the Humber and Lindsay refineries, will be combined with the development of a hydrogen hub producing green and blue hydrogen* to serve the third generator and local industry.
The Humber is an industrial hub with an economy worth £18 billion GVA and in which one in ten jobs is associated with heavy industry. It is home to one-third of the UK’s refining capacity. The scale of industry in the region makes the Humber a critical partner in the UK government’s ambition to achieve a net zero carbon economy by 2050.
In addition to integrating carbon capture technology into a pre-existing cluster of energy intensive industries to deliver an immediate reduction of regional CO2 emissions, Humber Zero’s coastal location enables the efficient offtake of CO2 into offshore depleted oil and gas fields and gives access to offshore wind developments for electrolysis. Furthermore, the project could decarbonise other efficient power stations and industry, such as British Steel, through the planned southern Humber pipeline route. Its proximity to the deep-water Immingham port will enable the creation of a CO2 exporting industry and enable the decarbonisation of a major UK port.
Humber Zero is supported by the expertise of the Wood Group, Imperial College, London and the University of Sheffield and is part of Innovate UK’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund competition in support of delivering 2050 Net Zero objectives. The project was funded by the ISCF programme, and the partners have planned the second stage which progresses the Humber Zero project into FEED in 2021 as part of the wider Humber Deployment Project.
Jonathan Briggs, Project Director for Humber Zero commented; “Humber Zero delivers a world scale decarbonisation project built around one of the UK’s most efficient generating assets and an industrial hub in Immingham. It can establish the foundation for a gateway to decarbonise the wider Humber, bringing new industries, sectors and jobs to the region. I look forward to progressing the project into FEED together with UKRI and the UK government.”
Darren Cunningham, UK Lead Executive, Phillips 66 commented; “We make products society will need and continue to need for 2050 and beyond and recognise we have a role to play in making those products in a less carbon intensive way. The Humber Refinery is vital to the UK’s strategic interests and we are excited to be part of this project and the decarbonisation solution.”
Mike Lockett, Uniper UK Country Chairman said; “Hydrogen will play a significant role in meeting the NetZero ambition and Humber Zero is an ideally located project for developing large scale hydrogen production in the UK. It’s great that Uniper is part of this project and will be able to contribute its expertise to the decarbonisation of the Humber Industrial Cluster”.
Rene Schoof, Head of Hydrogen, Uniper added; “The proximity to offshore infrastructure for natural gas supply and carbon storage coupled with access to offshore wind power for electrolysis enables this project to offer a great decarbonisation package, we are very much looking forward to working with the other partners to develop this.”
*Blue Hydrogen – is produced from natural gas and decarbonised using carbon capture to separate out CO2 for reuse or storage
*Green Hydrogen – is produced via electrolysis using renewable electricity to split water into its component parts of hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O)