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UK decarbonization project backed by Phillips 66 gets funding boost

By Bernardo Fallas
Phillips 66 Corporate Communications

Phillips 66 is a step closer to playing a leading role in helping the U.K. meet its ambitious net-zero emissions goal.  

The Phillips 66 Humber Refinery is a major player behind Humber Zero, a project that combines carbon capture and storage technology with hydrogen production to decarbonize the Immingham industrial cluster and that earlier this week secured match funding from the U.K. government. 

“We’re pleased to have been selected for the funding, which allows us to go through the front-end engineering design stage,” Humber Zero project director Jonathan Briggs said. “The government’s confidence in the project is a sign of the Humber’s significance as an epicenter to decarbonize U.K. industry.” 
 


Humber Zero is a collaboration between the Phillips 66 Humber Refinery and combined heat and power company VPI-Immingham, a subsidiary of commodity trader Vitol, with participation from other businesses, organizations and academic institutions.  

Phillips 66 and VPI-Immingham are investing a combined £12.5 million ($17.4 million) to advance the project, with Innovate UK’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund matching the amount. The two companies first signed a memorandum of understanding in May 2020. 

The U.K. has committed to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Humber region generates approximately 40% of U.K. industrial emissions, per U.K. Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy.  

Humber Zero aims to reduce emissions while preserving jobs and supporting growth in the energy-intensive industries that have made Humber a leading industrial hub. 

The project aims to remove an initial 8 million metric tons per year of carbon dioxide by 2028 through carbon capture and storage technology. Further out, the project aims to produce enough hydrogen to power up to 1 million homes in the region. It anticipates creating 2,500 jobs during construction, 200 permanent jobs and safeguarding 20,000 direct and indirect jobs in the region, Humber Zero said.  

The Humber Refinery is also participating in Gigastack, a separate project that aims to generate green hydrogen and electricity from offshore wind and water through electrolysis. The project is in partnership with hydrogen producer ITM, offshore wind farm operator Ørsted and consultancy Element Energy. 

Humber Zero will commence the FEED stage immediately and expects it completed by mid-2023 for VPI and late 2023 for Phillips 66. CCS for VPI and the Humber Refinery could start by 2027 and 2028, respectively. 

“The Phillips 66 Humber Refinery and VPI’s combined heat and power plant are ideally situated to connect to offshore carbon capture and storage,” said Humber Refinery Technical Manager Chris Gilbert. “Humber Zero is ready to be a major part of the energy transition in the region.”