A PROJECT which aims to decarbonise businesses in Teesside was yesterday launched in Middlesbrough.

Net Zero Teesside will be based at the former SSI Redcar site.

The project aims to decarbonise a cluster of carbon-intensive businesses by 2030.

Andy Lane, Managing Director of the project, said: "Basically it's an opportunity to capture CO2 that's emitted from heavy industry here in Teesside and combine that with a new power station that will generate clean low carbon power, that will store the CO2 from both of those projects into reservoirs deep under the North sea."

The project is being developed to capture the equivalent of the annual energy use of over two million homes.

Mr Lane added: "What this brings to the Teesside area is it helps protect heavy industry in a world that is decarbonising and at the same time the investment will bring up to 5,500 jobs to the area and create nearly £500m of value while we're constructing."

Carbon dioxide from local heavy industries, will be captured through a common pipeline network and transported for secure storage deep under the North sea.

Ben Houchen, mayor of Tees Valley, who hosted the launch in Middlesbrough, said: "The former Redcar Steelswork site that we've now taken back control of as of last week, today we're able to announce the first major investment on this site - Net Zero Teesside, an amazing thing that's going to be the world's first industrial scale carbon capture and storage facility.

"And what does that mean? It means that we're going to be capturing huge amounts of the carbon that the current chemical and processing industry emits, it's going to be captured by pipes and come into a big facility right on this site and then it's going to be piped under the sea, two miles down below the sea into the North sea cabins, instead of it going into the atmosphere.

"It protects our environment, it creates jobs and new technologies that Teesside will bring and it also protects many thousands of jobs in our chemical and processing industry long into the future."

Speeches from the mayor, Mr Lane and Simon Clarke MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland were delivered to investors, policy makers, business leaders and local stakeholders at the launch which was held at the Riverside Middlesbrough football stadium.

OGCI Climate Investments own the project as a non-operating shareholder, the fund invests in solutions to decarbonise sectors like oil and gas, industrials and commercial transport.

BP, Eni, Equinor, Shell and Total will be transitioning and developing the project on behalf of OGCI Climate Investments.

Pratima Rangarajan, CEO of OGCI Climate Investments, said: "Net Zero Teesside is a demonstration of OGCI's commitment to accelerating the carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) on a global scale. It's the anchor project, first ideated at the UK Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), developed into an industrial carbon cluster within OGCI Climate Investments and now, the first hub within OGCI's CCUS Kickstarter initiative. This transfer of ownership to the OGCI consortium is proof of how OGCI's initiative is successfully supporting emerging hubs."

Teesside was chosen for the project due to its ideal location in proximity to the North sea and offers access to some of the largest and most secure CO2 storage sites in the world.

UK heavy industry is heavily concentrated in Teesside, accounting for 5.6 per cent of industrial emissions in the UK and the planned site is home to five of the top 25 CO2 emitters.

Teesside has a tradition of industrial development. The project has the potential to regenerate and revitalise the region, with the creation of jobs during its construction and to safeguard existing jobs by decarbonising industries under increasing environmental pressure and help to stimulate new low carbon industries and kick start the hydrogen economy.

The project will support 5,500 direct jobs during construction.

An extensive impact assessment on the construction phase of the project estimates an annual gross benefit of up to £450m for the Teesside region.

By 2050 it is estimated that using the learnings of the project will support more than 25,000 jobs and annually contribute up to £3.2b to the UK economy.

Mayor Houchen added: "Net Zero Teesside represents the next step in our ambitions for Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool to become a pioneer in clean energy, driving almost half a billion pounds into the regional economy and boosting the wider UK by £3.2b. This world-leading industrial-scale decarbonisation project will safeguard and create 5,500 good quality, well paid jobs for local people.

"It will act as a beacon for new technologies and further investment as other companies are attracted to our area, while helping the UK achieve its clean energy potential."

The construction phase is due to begin in 2022 with an expected up-and-running date of 2025.