Following a commitment of £72 million of funding, HyNet North West will transform the North West into the world’s first low carbon industrial cluster, playing a critical role in the UK’s transition to ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and the global fight against climate change.
HyNet North West is essential for UK Government to deliver several objectives within its 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution, as well as the local net zero targets of Cheshire West & Chester in 2045, Liverpool City Region in 2040 and Greater Manchester in 2038.
The North West industrial cluster region stretches from Flintshire and Wrexham, through Cheshire, Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester into Lancashire. It boasts the largest concentration of advanced manufacturing and chemical production in the UK and is home to a concentration of energy intensive users. The HyNet North West hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS) project is being developed by a world-class consortium of regionally located partners, Progressive Energy, Cadent, CF Fertilisers, Eni UK, Essar, Hanson, INOVYN (part of the INEOS Group) and the University of Chester.
From 2025, HyNet North West will begin to convert natural gas into low carbon hydrogen at Stanlow Refinery, with carbon dioxide safely captured and stored offshore in the Liverpool Bay gas fields. A new pipeline network will transport the clean hydrogen to power industry, fuel buses, trains and heavy goods vehicles, to generate electricity, and to heat homes across North West England and North Wales.
HyNet North West will reduce regional carbon dioxide emissions by up to 10 million tonnes every year by 2030 – the equivalent of taking four million cars off the road. By then, HyNet North West alone will already be delivering 80% of the Government’s new UK-wide target of 5GW of low carbon hydrogen for power, transport, industry and homes.
The project will kick start a low carbon hydrogen economy, protecting and creating jobs, setting the region on course to be the world leader in clean energy innovation. In addition to creating over 6,000 new, permanent jobs, HyNet North West will protect and retain jobs in existing high value manufacturing industries. Workers will develop fresh skill sets and train in exciting new sectors, fostering regional growth and inward investment. By kick-starting the UK’s hydrogen economy, HyNet North West will help support up to 75,000 jobs across the country by 2035.
The £72m funding announced today comprises £33m from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge (IDC) fund, and £39m of consortium partner contribution. The funding will allow HyNet North West to accelerate to a Final Investment Decision (FID) in 2023 for the initial phase, and become operational in 2025. Further elements of the HyNet North West project will follow, resulting in the distribution of up to 30TWh / year of low carbon hydrogen being distributed by 2030 - enough to displace 45% of natural gas used across the region.
HyNet North West has been under development for four years with work so far including extensive engineering studies and demonstration projects. Environmental survey work, supported by funding from the Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Fund, has recently begun and consultation with stakeholders, including the general public, will begin later this year as the planning process to gain consent for development.
HyNet North West underpins a regional commitment to carbon neutrality with additional exciting opportunities being explored and advanced by Net Zero North West.
Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi 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.
“Ahead of COP26, the UK is showing the world how we can cut emissions, create jobs and unleash private investment and economic growth. Today’s strategy builds on this winning formula as we transition low carbon and renewable energy sources, while supporting the competitiveness of Britain’s industrial base."
Prashant Ruia, Chairman, Essar Oil UK said:
“This is excellent news and another important milestone in the development of a transformational North West hydrogen economy. Essar is committed to playing its part in the decarbonisation of the region and the two hydrogen production plants to be built at Stanlow are absolutely fundamental to the Hynet project. Together with our plans for the manufacture of biofuels from waste, HyNet North West will be key to our ambition of being a long term provider of sustainable energy solutions for the UK.”
 The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution Building back better, supporting green jobs, and accelerating our path to net zero, November 2020.