Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas produced by most living organisms, including humans and animals when we exhale. Colourless and odourless in nature, it's essential to plants to aid their growth and development.
As well as being an integral part of everyday life, carbon dioxide is also produced through human activities, such as burning fossil fuels (coal and gas) for energy. In high quantities, it's damaging to the earth due to its warming effect, thus being a major contributor to climate change.
Hydrogen is an invisible, colourless, odourless and non-toxic gas, which is found naturally in the atmosphere and is the most abundant element in the universe.
Unlike fossil fuels, which emit carbon dioxide when burnt, hydrogen only produces water, making it a sustainable alternative for many sectors, such as power, transport and heating. For example, hydrogen has the potential to heat our homes and businesses. Therefore, it could make a huge difference on our carbon emissions, and will be critical to the UK achieving net zero by 2050.
Hydrogen has been used safely for many years in the food, metal, glass and chemical industries. It can also be used in industrial manufacturing, such as in steel and chemical production.
Carbon, capture, usage and storage (CCUS) is a set of technologies that directly capture carbon dioxide emissions from large emitting industrial locations, such as steel and cement production or power plants, before they can reach the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide is then compressed and transported by pipeline or ship.
It can be either used for commercial purposes, for example in the food, medicine and plastic industries, or be stored safely and permanently under the seabed. CCUS is a way to mitigate the contribution of industrial processes to global warming by preventing carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere.
Is it safe to store?
CCUS technologies are well understood by the industry and have been developed around the world since the 1990s. Once the carbon dioxide is captured, it is then transported and stored in deep geological formations, also known as saline aquifers, under the sea. The North Sea basin, where the carbon dioxide from the Humber will be stored, is the UK’s largest and most well-understood saline aquifer for carbon storage.
Above ground installations, or AGIs, will be required at intervals along the route. They will allow us to safely and efficiently operate the pipelines as well as conduct routine inspections and maintenance.
The proposals will require AGI sites at or near the emitter locations, including pipeline inspection gauges (PIG) trap installations and block valves. Block valves will be required at intervals every 16 to 18 kilometres along the route and a pumping facility will be located near the coast.
AGIs will contain above ground equipment and pipework, essential instruments and one or more small buildings. Each will also have a vehicular access point as well as appropriate planting, screening and fencing.
More information is available here.
One of the pipelines will transport captured carbon dioxide emissions to a pumping facility near the coast where the pressure of the carbon dioxide will be increased, allowing for efficient transportation to a safe storage site beneath the North Sea. This secure offshore storage is known as the Endurance aquifer, delivered by the Northern Endurance Partnership (NEP) as part of the East Coast Cluster.
We have a number of environmental surveys that are being undertaken along the proposed route by teams of engineers and consultants that include a wide range of experts. This will help inform the route selection and construction process, and help us to identify where we can eliminate or reduce a particular effect.
More information is available here.
We remain committed to working with local communities to minimise disruption and inconvenience from the project. We are developing a suite of controls to minimise negative impacts wherever practicable.
Towards the end of project refinement and design, the impacts of the project have been assessed as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment process and reported in the Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR).
This route corridor has been selected following our environmental and technical appraisals, alongside feedback we received through the first stage of consultation.
The preferred route corridor provides a connection between the locations of industrial emitters and power stations currently identified.
The selected route corridor includes land through which two pipelines could potentially be constructed, while seeking to avoid sensitive habitats and areas with large populations where practical.
In autumn 2021, we consulted local communities and stakeholders on a number of potential route corridor options within which the pipelines could be constructed. The feedback received, together with environmental and technical information, helped us to identify a preferred route corridor for this project.
In the autumn of 2022, we launched a second consultation on more detailed plans for the Humber Low Carbon Pipelines project. The proposals we presented were informed by comments submitted to the initial consultation, together with findings from the latest environmental and technical studies.
To find out more, please read the consultation documents here.
Although this not a specific consultation period, we always welcome comments from individuals and organisations, so please do give us any feedback or ask any questions you may have.
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Zero Carbon Humber (ZCH) brings together major industrial emitters, power stations and others, in a plan to decarbonise the Humber – the UK’s largest industrial cluster.
Our proposed pipeline network will create two underground pipelines – one for carbon dioxide and the other for hydrogen.
The pipelines are intended to connect to major industrial emitters and power stations in the Humber region.
The pipelines will continue to a landfall point on the Holderness coast. The onshore carbon dioxide pipeline will then connect to an offshore pipeline to the Endurance offshore storage location.
This project is part of the East Coast Cluster.
The East Coast Cluster brings together communities, businesses, industry and academia to deliver the carbon capture and storage (CCS) infrastructure needed to decarbonise the Humber and Teesside regions. It was created by the Northern Endurance Partnership – a partnership between BP, Eni, Equinor, Shell, Total and National Grid – which aims to develop offshore carbon dioxide transportation and storage infrastructure in the North Sea and wider Humber region.
In October 2021, the Government confirmed the East Coast Cluster as one of the two Track-1 clusters chosen for deployment by the mid-2020s. This is great news for the project, and for the Humber and Teesside region more widely.
By deploying CCUS across the Humber and Teesside, the East Coast Cluster aims to create and support an average of 25,000 jobs per year between 2023 and 2050 while removing nearly 50% of all UK Industrial cluster carbon dioxide emissions.
A nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP) is a major infrastructure project which, due to its size or nature, follows a separate consultation, application and determination process to an ordinary planning application. The application we are preparing is called a Development Consent Order.
The application is examined by the Planning Inspectorate and ultimately determined by the Government. However, local councils and communities have a very important role in helping to inform the evolution of the plans through a process that is set out in the Planning Act 2008 and associated guidance.
Due to its size and length, our pipeline project is automatically classified as an NSIP. More information about this process is available on the Planning Inspectorate website.
More information about our proposals for the Humber Low Carbon Pipelines project can be found in the Document library.
Alternatively, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the team using the details below.