Our proposals are to create an onshore network of underground pipelines for the Humber region to transport captured carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Together, these pipelines will help the Humber region to decarbonise, supporting a low carbon future, the region’s economy and the UK’s vision for net zero by 2050.
Our proposed pipeline network will consist of 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; such as Drax, the new power station at Keadby, British Steel in Scunthorpe, Uniper’s Killingholme site near Immingham and Equinor’s proposals for hydrogen production at Saltend
The emitters that will initially connect to the project are dependent on the outcome of the next phase of the Government’s decision-making process, which is running in parallel with our project development.
In October 2021, the government department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) confirmed the East Coast Cluster – which comprises Zero Carbon Humber and Net Zero Teesside – as one of the UK’s first carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) clusters for deployment in the mid-2020s. The upcoming BEIS decision on which emitters to take forward will influence the initial plans for the Humber Low Carbon Pipelines project.
The pipelines will continue to a landfall point on the Holderness coast. The onshore carbon dioxide (CO2) pipeline will then connect via an offshore pipeline to the Endurance offshore storage location.
The project will also include a number of above ground installations and a tunnel under the River Humber.
Developing this infrastructure is essential for accelerating the decarbonisation of industry and creating and protecting thousands of jobs in the region, as well as making the Humber a hub for clean energy technologies.
Route corridor options map
In autumn 2021, we consulted on a number of potential route corridor options within which the pipelines could be constructed. The feedback received, together with the latest environmental and technical information, has helped us to identify a narrower single preferred route corridor for this project.
You can see the refined preferred route corridor below.
While the hydrogen pipeline and CO2 pipeline may run in parallel along sections of the indicative route corridor, this will be subject to the needs of each location. Our routeing and design plans will be informed by the next stage of the Government’s cluster sequencing decision for CCUS deployment, alongside technical studies, site investigations and the feedback we receive through consultation.
We will now carry out further surveys and engagement with landowners within the preferred route corridor to help further refine this, as well as to help determine where the above ground installations (AGIs) could be constructed. These AGIs will be required at or near industrial emitters along the route.
Further public engagement and consultation will be carried out in 2022. We will update the website with details of this in due course.
Our initial appraisal started in 2019 when we identified a wide range of possible pipeline route corridor options and assessed the broad constraints across a study area spanning north and south of the Humber.
Through further analysis we identified physical, environmental and social features that could influence the routeing options, alongside technical constraints, the location of industrial emitters and consideration of other existing or proposed developments in the region. This led to the emergence of two potential route configurations:
Configuration A (including potential sub-options): this route would run underground from Drax power station to Killingholme, cross the Humber via a tunnel then continue from Saltend to a landfall location.
Configuration B (including potential sub-options): this route would run underground from Drax power station to Killingholme in the south of the Humber, cross the River Ouse, travel north of the Humber to Saltend and then continue on to the landfall.
In addition, we selected three potential route corridors to landfall from the various options identified in our initial appraisal. Further analysis has allowed us to further refine this to two potential landfall options.
Following the initial appraisal, Configuration A was identified as the preferred option on the balance of environmental, social, technical and cost factors. Configuration B options were approximately 50 kilometres longer than the Configuration A route corridor options, with consequently greater impacts on environmental receptors, disruption during construction and cost.
Both Configuration A and B involve crossing the Humber Estuary, which benefits from the protection of several important biodiversity designations. A Habitats Regulations Assessment will be undertaken as part of the development consent order application to assess the effects on designated sites.
We have brought forward route corridors and options for consultation based on Configuration A.
As part of our first round of consultation, we invited feedback from local residents, stakeholders and other interested parties on these route corridor options and any other matters relating to the project. The Consultation Feedback Report provides a detailed summary of all feedback received as part of this initial consultation, and explains how National Grid Ventures has had regard to the comments.
For more information on the route corridor options, download our Route Corridor Report.
While the carbon dioxide and hydrogen pipelines will be located underground, above ground installations (AGIs) will be required at intervals along the route. There are multiple types of AGIs, each with a different purpose. Some allow for safe and efficient operation and maintenance of the pipelines while others allow for regional industrial emitters to connect into the proposed pipelines.
The proposals would require AGI sites at or near the emitter locations, including pipeline inspection gauges (PIG) trap installations to enable internal monitoring and inspection of the pipelineand block valves. PIG traps would be located at Drax, Keadby, British Steel, Saltend and Killingholme, with a pumping facility near the landfall at the coast. Block valves would be required along the route corridor at approximate intervals of 16 to 18 kilometres. These enable the isolation of a section of the pipeline for maintenance work and are relatively small in size.
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.
Work on identifying the siting options for AGI sites will be undertaken in collaboration with industrial emitters based on the connection point onto the proposed pipeline, and with potentially affected landowners we identify as part of this process. Further details on this will be available shortly.
*Illustrative image of a PIG trap
AGIs come in a variety of sizes dependent on the type being used. Screening and planting will help to minimise any visual impacts and this will be investigated further as the design of the project is developed.
The pumping facility would be located no more than five kilometres from the landfall locations. The site would likely contain a variety of buildings and equipment, including the pumps.
The project will make an important contribution to helping the Humber region transition to a low carbon future. By safely transporting captured carbon dioxide from major industrial emitters, it will support the decarbonisation of the Humber region while supporting the regional economy.
The pipelines and associated above ground installations will be designed to minimise their impact on natural habitats and the environment.
The project team will be carrying out a series of surveys, site and route investigations and other assessments to understand the issues and inform the management of potential environmental impacts. This includes initial appraisal of issues such as noise, highways, land use (including agriculture), landscape and visual impact, heritage and archaeology, ecology, geology and ground conditions, water resources, air quality and marine/coastal impacts.
A comprehensive Environmental Statement will be prepared as part of the planning application. Information on the proposed assessments and initial findings will be available in a Preliminary Environmental Information Report, which will inform later stage consultations planned for 2022.
The pipelines would primarily run through agricultural land and will not be routed through private 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 houses or gardens; these surveys are primarily in agricultural land and we will always work with landowners to seek voluntary access for surveys.
The Humber Low Carbon Pipelines project is committed to ‘biodiversity net gain’. This means we intend to work closely with landowners and other stakeholders to go beyond mitigating our environmental impact with positive initiatives to support biodiversity. Please get in touch if you are involved in proposals, or have ideas for initiatives that National Grid Ventures could consider.
National Grid has extensive expertise in designing, building and operating safe and effective high-pressure gas pipelines in the UK.
Our approach is to work closely with the local community and other interested parties throughout the planning and construction process. Through construction, we will manage environmental impacts and work to minimise any disruption caused.
First, the working width - the total area within which construction work will take place - is marked out.
Next, the topsoil is carefully stripped and stored next to the pipeline route.
The pipeline is delivered in short lengths and placed on supports. These short lengths of pipeline are welded together into longer sections called 'strings'.
The pipeline trench is dug, with the excavated material being stored separately from the topsoil on the opposite side of the trench.
The pipeline 'strings' are lowered into the trench using special vehicles called 'side booms' and welded to the pipeline already laid.
The trench is filled in using the previously excavated material and the topsoil is replaced.
Once the land above the pipeline has been fully reinstated it can be returned to its previous use, for example farming.
This is an illustrative diagram showing the construction process of an onshore pipeline. Please note, these images are based on a single pipeline. The Humber Low Carbon Pipelines project will involve two pipelines and will take a similar approach.
To build a pipeline, roads, railways and waterways will need to be crossed. We would use a range of techniques to cross these features to avoid disruption.
A long pit is dug on one side of the crossing with a shaft at the other side. A section of pipe is inserted with an auger - similar to the screw blade on a drill - inside it. This is pushed through to the other shaft, taking the pipe with it. Sections of pipe are welded together as they are pushed through.
Shafts are dug at either side of the crossing. A cutting head digs a tunnel beneath it which is lined with concrete segments as it is dug. The pipe is then inserted in sections that are welded together as they are pushed through the tunnel.
A special steerable drill is used to create an arced hole beneath the crossing, slightly bigger than the pipe. A winch then pulls the pipe through in a string – a long, welded section of pipe assembled on-site.
For narrow roads or tracks with a low volume of traffic, a trench is dug across the road, closing it for a few days. The pipe is lowered into the trench welded together in a string and the land is quickly reinstated.
*Please note, these images are based on a single pipeline. The Humber Low Carbon Pipelines project will involve two pipelines and will take a similar approach.
Our current proposals would involve a tunnel crossing under the River Humber. We have indicated a broad corridor within which the pipeline tunnel would be constructed. Further details on the route, environmental considerations and the construction process will be available later this year (2022).
Shafts are built on either side of the river. These can be vertical or sloped, depending on geological and engineering considerations.
A tunnel bore machine digs the tunnel beneath the river.
This can bore through anything from hard rock to sand.
The tunnel is lined with concrete segments as it is dug.
The excavated material is transported for use or disposal away from the site. We are investigating options for its reuse.
The pipeline is pulled through the tunnel from the surface in 'strings' - long, welded sections of pipe assembled on-site on one side of the river.
Once complete, the tunnel shafts are filled and the land reinstated as close to its original condition as practical.
*These images are illustrative and for consultation purposes only
One of the pipelines will transport captured carbon dioxide emissions to a pumping facility near the coast. At the pumping facility, the pressure of the carbon dioxide will be increased allowing for efficient transportation via an offshore sub-sea pipeline to a safe storage site beneath the North Sea.
We understand the importance of the coast and marine environment. We would ensure there is minimal disruption to coastal features during the construction of the pipeline, and ensure any necessary reinstatement following its completion. Further information will be available on this at future consultations.
There will be a separate application for the offshore sub-sea pipeline which will connect from the landfall point on the Holderness Coast to the Endurance storage site in the southern North Sea.