Extra £20m funding for project to decarbonise industry in South Wales

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A PROJECT involving USW's Sustainable Environment Research Centre which is looking at decarbonisation schemes and the infrastructure required for a hydrogen economy in South Wales, has been granted £20m in funding to continue its development.

The South Wales Industrial Cluster (SWIC) deployment project, which is led by Costain, has been granted the phase two funding following the successful completion of phase one assessments.

Phase Two of the project involves engineering studies to explore the routes to decarbonisation, including the use and production of a hydrogen supply, carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS), and CO2 shipping from South Wales, which would be the first CO2 shipping industry in the UK, and would create an entire new industry for the region.

The project is supported by a range of partner organisations from the industrial, academic, law, public and private sectors working across the region to create the world’s first net-zero emissions industrial zone.

As well as contributing to the UK’s carbon reduction commitment, the project will enhance the UK’s ability to locally manufacture low or net-zero carbon cement and steel products, helping to drive the low carbon future of UK construction and other sectors.

The scheme is aligned to the Government’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution, and will include the engineering studies into:

  • The production and distribution of hydrogen from both renewable energy and imported LNG, which is distributed by repurposing the existing gas network
  • Cleaner electricity production using carbon capture and/or hydrogen-rich natural gas
  • Industrial carbon capture, usage, and storage technologies along the South Wales coast as well as the transportation and shipping of CO2
  • Large industry decarbonisation through fuel switching (substituting one energy source for a greener, cleaner alternative), process efficiencies and the production of cleaner transportation fuels.

SERC's Jon Maddy, Director of the USW Hydrogen Centre at Baglan and the academic lead for SWIC, said; “USW is delighted to join with Costain and our South Wales Industrial Cluster partners in carrying out this vitally important industrial decarbonisation project.

“The organisations represented in this project are a vital part of the economy in South Wales who have joined forces to provide engineering solutions that will deliver major carbon reductions, whilst maintaining competitiveness.

“We will be assisting the partners by identifying R&D solutions and supporting skills development necessary to achieve the zero-carbon goal.”      

Rob Philips, energy sector director, Costain, said: “The SWIC holds the potential to strengthen the economic resilience of Welsh industry and communities by ensuring operations in the region are sustainable for the long term.

“As lead for deployment, we will work with the partners to support investment decisions that will advance regional hydrogen deployment and develop Carbon Capture Usage and Storage to arrive at the best solutions for significant carbon reduction.”

Dr Chris Williams, head of industrial decarbonisation, Industry Wales, said: “Our ambition in SWIC is to create a world-leading, truly sustainable, cluster, so this deployment project, led by Costain and part funded by Innovate UK, will form an important step for us to realise that ambition.

“Each of our industries faces a transformational change to reach net zero. This project starts to develop the necessary low-carbon power, hydrogen, and CCUS infrastructure, that will be so important to maintain and grow net zero industry in South Wales.”