Zero Carbon Humber: a partnership to build the world's first zero carbon industrial cluster and decarbonise the North of England

A first of a kind

As the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has made clear, decarbonising industry is not just an option, it is a necessity if the UK is to reach its goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions while delivering economic growth. The Humber Estuary and surrounding regions offer the opportunity to deliver the UK’s first zero carbon cluster and help position the North of England at the heart of the global energy revolution.

Zero Carbon Humber’s ambition is big, the potential is bigger: helping the UK achieve a net zero carbon economy by 2050.

Transforming an industrial powerhouse

Industrial powerhouses like the Yorkshire and the Humber region are an essential and valued part of the UK’s economy but produce high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions: the Humber is the most carbon intensive industrial cluster in the country, emitting 14 million tonnes a year.

Developing carbon capture usage and storage (CCS or CCUS) technology and hydrogen (H2) starting in Yorkshire and the Humber would preserve jobs by enabling energy intensive industries to continue to operate and thrive even against a backdrop of ever tighter emissions targets linked to the UK’s carbon budgets.

Without CCUS, the Humber will face perhaps insurmountable challenges. By drawing on the existing skills and infrastructure in it and the wider region, the Humber can become the base for the UK’s first zero carbon industrial cluster, helping to create a cleaner environment for future generations whilst delivering new jobs and export opportunities for British businesses.

£18 bn

of the UK’s economy is generated in the Humber each year, driven largely by its deep expertise in industrial processes

360,000 jobs

are supported by industries such as refining, petrochemicals, manufacturing and power generation


of the Humber region’s economic value comes from energy-intensive industries, such as steel


more CO₂ is emitted by industry in the Humber region than the second largest UK industrial cluster

10 million tonnes

of CO₂ could be captured by at least two UK clusters by 2030

How Zero Carbon Humber Will Work

CCUS at scale

The project plans to capture carbon dioxide (CO₂) at scale from industrial processes around the region. This will be transported via pipelines to be permanently and safely stored several miles offshore safely under the southern North Sea.

Negative emissions power

Today Drax Power Station is the largest single source of renewable energy in Britain, thanks to its use of sustainably sourced wood pellets. This is because the CO2 captured by the forests from which biomass is sourced is equal to the emissions it releases when used to generate electricity.

When bioenergy is combined with CCUS technology, known as BECCS, the overall process of biomass electricity generation removes more CO2 from the atmosphere than it releases – hence delivering negative emissions power.

The pioneering BECCS technology at the North Yorkshire plant will also allow abundant reliable, renewable power to be generated for the Humber region and far beyond.

Hydrogen economy

CCUS is essential to the production of low and zero carbon hydrogen at the scale envisages in the Committee on Climate Change (CCC)’s “Net Zero” report. Currently hydrogen can only be produced at commercial scale through reforming natural gas, and CCUS is needed to prevent the CO₂ by-product from this process being released into the atmosphere. 

The creation of a hydrogen economy will be a key component of decarbonising the Humber and wider Yorkshire region. Hydrogen is a zero-carbon fuel that can be used in power, transport, heating and even serve as a form of short-term to seasonal energy storage.


“For decades the Humber has been a strategically important industrial cluster for the UK – it has the skills, industrial capability as well as offshore storage to transform itself into a cutting-edge low carbon hub.”

– Will Gardiner, CEO Drax Group

“CCUS and hydrogen creates a new pathway to greater decarbonisation of the energy system and provide a platform for decarbonising other areas of our economy, which will be to the benefit of current and future generations.”

- Jon Butterworth, Chief Operating Officer, Global Transmission, for National Grid Ventures

“Globally we must see substantial decarbonisation of industry and energy in the years ahead, and we believe CCS and hydrogen must play a significant role in this.”

- Irene Rummelhoff, Equinor’s executive vice president for marketing, midstream and processing

A globally competitive industrial cluster

Through the pioneering developments of bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS) – creating the world’s first negative emissions power station, enabling a hydrogen economy and large-scale carbon storage across the Humber – Zero Carbon Humber will accelerate decarbonisation across the wider Yorkshire region and reinforce the UK’s position as a global leader in clean growth. 

How it will work


Drax Power Station

Electricity is generated at Drax Power Station using sustainable biomass as fuel. The carbon dioxide (CO2) is captured at the point of generation and transported to storage, preventing it from entering the atmosphere.

Hydrogen production facility

Equinor’s H2H Saltend project sees hydrogen (H2) produced at Saltend Chemicals Park using using natural gas and supplied to the surrounding region for use by industry in transport and in heating, as well as electricity generation and energy storage. The CO2 by-product from the process is captured and transported to storage.

North of England

Pipeline connections across the region transport hydrogen to surrounding cities and industrial clusters.


The industry around the Humber Estuary continues to grow, creating new jobs and making a significant contribution to the UK economy, but now with zero carbon emissions.

CO2 Storage

Pipes transport the carbon dioxide away from emitters all around the cluster, storing it safely and permanently under the southern North Sea.