We are in the midst of a climate emergency and we need to act quickly. An important action is for us to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide we emit – all the way down to zero.
We need to find ways for people, businesses and industry to decarbonise through clean, affordable and efficient energy options. To enable this, low carbon energy innovation must move fast.
HyNet North West is the UK’s leading industrial decarbonisation cluster. It is an ambitious and viable part of the answer to reducing our carbon emissions across multiple sectors of the economy.
Starting from the mid-2020s, HyNet will begin to unlock a low carbon future for the North West and North Wales region, placing it at the forefront of the UK’s journey to net zero.
How does HyNet work?
We currently use fossil fuels to power industry, transport and to heat our homes. HyNet will enable these fossil fuels to be replaced with low carbon hydrogen. It will also capture and store carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions produced by those industries which cannot move to a low carbon fuel.
What is HyNet?
HyNet is made up of several different elements. Together, these will provide the infrastructure to produce, transport and store low carbon hydrogen across the North West and North Wales. There will also be the infrastructure to capture, transport and lock away carbon dioxide emissions.
HyNet involves both the upgrade to existing infrastructure, as well as the developing new infrastructure. This includes underground pipelines, hydrogen production plants and storage facilities.
What will HyNet bring to the region?
HyNet is a real catalyst for clean growth. The project aims to lead the creation of a low carbon economy, protecting and creating local jobs to the North West and North Wales and across the UK.
Inward investment will be attracted, establishing the region as a world leader in clean energy innovation.
The project will improve local air quality, enabling a cleaner, greener future for the years to come.
Read HyNet’s vision here.
meeting the uk’s net zero targets
In 2019, the UK responded to the global climate emergency by committing to a net zero carbon emissions target of 2050. To achieve this, we need to balance the amount of carbon we produce with the amount we remove from the atmosphere. We reach ‘net zero’ when the amount of carbon we add is no more than the amount which is taken away. HyNet has been developed to rise to this challenge. It will drive our journey to net zero by helping to decarbonise how we live.
- reduce carbon emissions by 10 million tonnes a year by 2030 – the equivalent of taking four million cars off the road
- provide nearly 50% of the total hydrogen needed to meet the UK’s net zero target.
- single-handedly be able to deliver 80% of the UK’s clean power target for transport, industry and homes by 2030.
As a region with a strong industrial base, the North West and North Wales will face challenges in the road to decarbonisation. HyNet will help local industries remain viable for the future by reducing, and eventually halting, carbon emissions. This will keep the region as an attractive place for industry to operate, invest and thrive.
As well as protecting tens of thousands of existing jobs, HyNet will create over 6,000 local roles. The area’s industrial experience and cutting-edge science will create a hotspot for innovation, providing training and skills opportunities for locals in exciting, world-leading new sectors.
Nationally, HyNet North West will help to deliver 75,000 jobs by 2035 through a hydrogen economy, and unlock over £18 billion in GVA (Gross Value Added).
THE STORY SO FAR
To successfully tackle climate change, all parts of the economy must decarbonise, including heavy industry. The Government is supporting projects to decarbonise six of the UK’s largest clusters of industry, and HyNet North West is one of these.
North West England and North Wales have always been areas of industrial innovation, providing the food, fuel, products and services which allow the UK to thrive. Because of this the region is home to an abundance of highly skilled workers. This proud industrial heritage means that instead of building HyNet ‘from scratch’, we can re-purpose existing infrastructure and benefit from first-class workforce. This gives efficient and affordable ways for the region to decarbonise for the future.
The region is home to a wide range of world-class, energy-intensive industry which currently emit significant amounts of CO₂. HyNet will be able to support the decarbonisation of a vast range of industry sectors, including chemicals, glass, ceramics, oil refining, food, paper and automotive. HyNet will help them to reduce their carbon emissions, enabling sustainable and long-term futures.
HyNet won’t just be providing low carbon power for industry. Hydrogen can also replace petrol and diesel in vehicles, and can blend into the gas network to heat our homes and local businesses, helping us all to reduce emissions in our day-to-day lives.
Once operating, HyNet will decarbonise Liverpool, Manchester, Cheshire, North East Wales and Lancashire.
As part of the HyNet North West project, we will build a low-carbon hydrogen production plant. The hydrogen we produce will be used in the region’s industry, transport, homes and businesses. We will also develop infrastructure to capture CO₂ emissions from energy-intensive industries in the area, and from the hydrogen plant, transporting and safely storing these emissions underground.
These technologies will tap into the regions’ industrial experience and scientific expertise, establishing a hotspot for innovation and growth. HyNet will create opportunities for local people to develop new skillsets and work in exciting, world-leading new technologies.
HyNet will produce hydrogen from natural gas. Huge amounts of hydrogen will be produced at a central plant using established, proven technology.
Hydrogen is an abundant element. It offers a way to deliver low carbon energy because when it is burned it doesn’t produce CO₂, just water and heat. This makes hydrogen an alternative to fossil fuels.
There is already an established skills base for hydrogen production in the North West as it is part of some existing industrial processes.
Overall, HyNet will provide nearly 50% of the total hydrogen needed to meet the UK’s net zero targets.
In order to begin rapid decarbonisation, the first stage of HyNet is focused on working quickly to reduce harmful carbon emissions from local industry, and cleaning up air quality in the region.
HyNet will use a process called carbon capture and storage (CCS) to achieve this. CCS is a safe and proven technology that stores carbon dioxide and prevents it from being released into the atmosphere, where it is a major contributor to climate change.
We will remove carbon from industrial processes, safely transport the carbon via an underground pipeline and securely store it in depleted oil and gas reservoirs under the seabed.
By 2030 the amount of carbon captured each year will be the equivalent of taking four million cars off the road.