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Humber Freeport joins industry leaders to share region’s compelling net zero story with global audience

2 May 2024

Humber Freeport has joined a powerful collection of businesses and organisations sharing the region’s decarbonisation story at the UK’s largest net zero conference.

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Delegates from Humber Freeport joined more than a dozen leading businesses and organisations from across the Humber at Innovation Zero, a two-day climate and sustainability event.

Held at London’s Olympia, Innovation Zero attracts key decision-makers and investors in the low carbon economy from across the UK and internationally.

The event connects a global network of innovators, funders and policy-makers to inspire and drive innovation and action to combat climate change.

As the UK industrial cluster emitting the most carbon, the Humber has a compelling story to tell as it embarks on a remarkable net zero and renewable energy transition.

Humber Freeport is positioned at the very heart of that drive to low carbon energy, providing a powerful platform for inward investment, skills growth, job creation and the decarbonisation of industry.

At Innovation Zero, Humber Freeport showcased the breadth of investment opportunities available in the Humber and how it is helping create the conditions which drive innovation and decarbonisation.

Humber Freeport exhibited within the Humber Pavilion, which occupied a prime spot at the Innovation Zero exhibition, and Humber Freeport CEO Simon Green was among the line-up of speakers on day one at the high-profile event.

Mr Green said: “Innovation Zero has provided a platform for the Humber to present a unified, collaborative approach to the decarbonisation agenda. Walking around the Humber Pavilion, you see real examples of cross-sector, cross-disciplinary collaboration, all aligned by a shared focus to reduce our carbon footprint.

“It’s clear that the private sector is ready to invest in significant projects. What we need is a consistent, clear decarbonisation agenda from Government which creates the business confidence and the conditions to unleash £15bn of investment in the Humber.

“Across our freeport sites, we are already seeing major investments being made, bringing innovation and new technologies to the region. When you have that investment – and related investment into the supply chain, people and skills – that is true cluster development.”

Supported by the UK Government, Innovation Zero provides a meeting place for announcements, partnerships, deal-making and collaborations for those who develop, produce, deploy and fund low carbon solutions.

The Humber Pavilion had a highly prominent presence at Olympia and provided a powerful platform for the region to present its credentials as a global leader in renewable technologies and low carbon innovation.

Alongside Humber Freeport were leading businesses and organisations Air Products, Arup, Aura, Drax, Equinor, Meld Energy, Oh Yes! Net Zero, Phillips 66, Prax, px Group, SSE Thermal, Uniper, the University of Hull and VPI Immingham.

Chris Smith, CEO at Meld Energy, which is developing a green hydrogen production plant within Humber Freeport’s Hull East tax site, said: “The Humber is the perfect place to invest for energy-related businesses and that’s exactly why we chose the region as the location for our green hydrogen plant.

“As a cluster, the Humber has the skilled workforce, the supply chain and the strategic location to maximise investments such as ours. There’s simply no better place you can be.”

Another key figure in the line-up of speakers at Innovation Zero was Richard Gwilliam, Chair of the Humber Energy Board, a cross-sector collaboration established to drive decarbonisation and unlock economic growth.

Mr Gwilliam said: “The Humber stands on the precipice of a significant opportunity. We need to seize that opportunity and revolutionise our region’s economy through the power of decarbonisation.

“Innovation Zero gives us a chance to present the economy of tomorrow. Key to that economy is collaboration and having a consistent, single voice.

“We stand to be much more successful when we work together as a combined economic shop window for the region, attracting major investment into the projects which will drive us forward on the net zero transition.”

Place marketing organisation Future Humber brought together the Humber partners for Innovation Zero and created the Humber Pavilion as a hugely impressive showcase for the region as a UK leader in the drive to decarbonise. 

Future Humber Managing Director, Dr Diana Taylor, said: “As a region, the Humber is at its strongest when it aligns with a single, consistent voice. The decarbonisation agenda is perhaps the greatest example of cross-sector collaboration we have seen to date.

“The Humber Pavilion at Innovation Zero is a true show of force and statement of intent from our region, and serves as an important reminder that the Humber simply has to play a critical role on a national stage to drive the UK to net zero.” 

Humber Freeport was launched with a bold vision to inject £650m into the region’s economy, creating thousands of skilled jobs and driving innovation and decarbonisation, and has already secured significant inward investment.

In Hull, Pensana is delivering a rare earth processing facility at Saltend Chemicals Park, within the Humber Freeport tax site, and Yorkshire Energy Park recently received the green light to develop a £200m green energy and technology site in East Yorkshire, also within the Freeport footprint.

At the Goole tax site, Finnish tissue paper manufacturer Metsä Tissue plans to build the UK’s largest tissue paper mill, utilising sustainable manufacturing principles and reducing the country’s dependence on imports and overseas supply.

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