The West Midlands is home to one of six projects across the UK which will receive a share of £8 million in government funding as part of a drive to create the world’s first net-zero emissions industrial zone by 2040.
A net zero industrial zone will see all industries in a region collectively reducing their carbon dioxide emissions to as close to zero as possible using low-carbon energy sources and new technology like carbon capture.
All six areas receiving funding have high concentrations of industrial activity.
Decarbonising UK industry is a key part of the government’s ambitious plan for the green industrial revolution, which is laid out in its Ten Point Plan and Energy White Paper and is set to create 220,000 jobs over the next decade.
The Industrial Clusters Mission aims to support the delivery of four low-carbon regional zones by 2030 and at least one net zero green hotspot by 2040, kickstarted by the government’s £170 million Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge.
The West Midlands will now produce detailed plans for reducing emissions across major areas of industrial activity, where related industries have congregated and can benefit from using shared clean energy infrastructure, such as carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) and low-carbon hydrogen production and distribution.
In the West Midlands, the Black Country is one of seven strategic industrial clusters across the UK being supported by BEIS and Innovate UK to decarbonise by 2040. By 2030, without radical action, Black Country industry will be responsible for 2.3 MtCO2 emissions a year, from an industrial base of more than 3000 energy-intense businesses, many still engaged in the region’s traditional metal processing operations.
This project, led by the Black Country Consortium (a partnership of private, public and voluntary sector organisations), aims to reduce these emissions to zero by 2030 through a co-ordinated programme of transformational projects focused around a new type of industrial estate: the zero carbon hub.
Zero carbon hubs will be based around anchor industrial processes, strategically-selected to match Black Country skills and strengths (for example aluminium reprocessing). Each hub will contain a mix of businesses carefully selected to complement each other by thinking about their energy and waste flows.
The other clusters receiving funding as part of this announcement are:
- The Tees Valley,
- The North West of England and North East Wales
- The Humber
- South Wales