Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a natural gas which is produced by most living organisms, including humans and animals. It is produced when we breathe out and is needed by plants to aid their growth and development.
As well as being an integral part of everyday life, CO2 is a by-product of burning fossil fuels such as coal and gas for energy. It is damaging to the climate and is 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.
It can be used in power, transport and heating as an alternative to fossil fuels. For example, it has the potential to be a low carbon alternative to heat our homes and businesses and be used in industrial manufacturing where high temperatures are required, such as in steel and chemical production.
Hydrogen has been used safely for many years in the food, metal, glass and chemical industries. When we burn fossil fuels, we emit the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. However, when we burn hydrogen, the only waste is water vapour.
A range of industrial processes (e.g. fermentation, cement production, ammonia production, power generation from fossil fuel power stations) produce carbon dioxide as a by-product. Carbon dioxide is a Green House Gas (GHG) and its release has an impact on climate change.
Carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) is a process which captures carbon dioxide emissions from industrial sources such as industrial facilities or power plants, transporting the carbon dioxide by ship or pipeline to a suitable point so it can be used in a commercial process, or to a suitable underground geological formation for permanent storage, so it will not enter the atmosphere and contribute to climate change.
CCUS is therefore a way to mitigate the contribution of industrial processes to global warming by preventing carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere.
The pipelines would primarily run through agricultural land and industrial areas where we connect to emitter projects, and will not be routed through private properties or gardens. Some surveys may be required in areas beyond the pipeline corridor for the purpose of gaining a greater understanding of local habitats and how they might be impacted by the project.
There is no intention to carry out surveys in private gardens; these surveys are primarily in agricultural land and we will always work with landowners to seek voluntary access for surveys.
Above ground installations, or AGIs, will be required at intervals along the route.
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 station 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 planting, screening and fencing.
We will have further details on the AGIs and possible locations at the next stage of consultation in 2022.
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. More information is available here.
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 comprise 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. There is also potential for the hydrogen pipeline to connect into SSE Thermal and Equinor’s plans for a hydrogen storage facility at Aldbrough.
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 CO2 emissions.
You can read more about the Government’s announcement here.
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 it is automatically classified as a NSIP and therefore has to follow a process specified in the Planning Act 2008 and be determined by the Government. More information about this process is available on the Planning Inspectorate website.
The first phase of consultation closed on 22 October 2021.
During autumn 2021, we are assessing all feedback received and, together with technical studies and surveys, this will inform the evolution of the plans.
We are planning further (non-statutory) consultation will take place in early 2022, followed by a third round of consultation in spring/summer 2022.
Updates will be provided on the project website and to local communities, stakeholders and other interested parties.