BOLD plans to make Teesside the clean air capital of Europe by storing greenhouse gases under the North Sea will take a major step forward this morning.

A detailed blueprint will be unveiled today by the region’s chemical and steel companies who hope to secure funding for Europe’s first Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) network to be built on Teesside.

The initial plan by Teesside Collective, a group that consists leading chemicals firms such as Lotte, GrowHow and BOC; steelmaker SSI, supported by regional and national government, is to cut a quarter of the region’s annual CO2 emissions from 2024.

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The team behind the plan, which will be unveiled today at events in Redcar and London, say it would help to boost competitiveness among heavy energy users and safeguard up to 5,900 jobs.

The longer term ambition could see 15 million tonnes of CO2 a year stored and 2,600 jobs created across Tees Valley over the next 15 to 20 years.

Ministers believe the rewards for the UK from CCS are immense with the potential to contribute significantly to energy security, reduce carbon emissions, create jobs and become a major UK export.

Critics have dismissed CCS as costly, pie-in-the-sky technology that will fail to live up to its bold claims.

The premise of CCS is that carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants and heavy industry can be captured before it enters the atmosphere and stored underground.

Projects across the world are looking at ways to develop viable, cost-effective CCS.

Today’s blueprint, which was funded by the Government, will try to prove that Teesside is the ideal place to develop this revolutionary technology.

It includes details on the technical, commercial and financial implications of the scheme, and engineering studies developed by Amec Foster Wheeler that sets out in detail how the capture would work.

In addition, research by Cambridge Econometrics predicts the benefits to jobs and economic activity from pursuing the Teesside plan.

The Cambridge report concludes: “The opportunities that the CCS network provides in terms of reducing emissions and carbon costs for energy-intensive industry is likely to create a strong incentive for new process plants to re-locate to the Tees Valley and join the CCS network.”

Teesside Collective hope the blueprint will lead to a pledge of Government funding to help turn the proposals into reality.

Stephen Catchpole, managing director of Tees Valley Unlimited, said:

“This is not just a blueprint for a prosperous Tees Valley, it is a blueprint that has the potential to change both the UK and European industrial landscape and its impact on the environment.”

Michelle Hubert, Head of Energy and Climate Change at CBI, said: “For many industries, CCS will be the only long-term way to cut carbon and stay competitive in a low-carbon economy. The report published by the Teesside Collective is a critical step forward for industrial CCS, signalling a prosperous future for the UK’s energy-intensive industries.”

The reports published today are available at www.teessidecollective.co.uk