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MNZ Cluster signs MoU with Peak Cluster

Clusters to explore depleted gas field carbon storage solution for major cement and lime plants

THE Morecambe Net Zero (MNZ) Cluster, a planned carbon dioxide storage facility off the coast of Barrow-in-Furness, has today entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore storage opportunities for carbon dioxide (CO2) captured by the Peak Cluster. Together, MNZ and Peak Cluster will accelerate the UK’s journey to net zero.

Peak Cluster is a collaboration, decarbonizing the heart of the UK’s cement and lime industry. Located in Derbyshire and Staffordshire along with neighbouring industries in Cheshire, Peak Cluster is made up of four of the UK’s leading cement and lime producers – Tarmac, Breedon, Lhoist, and Aggregate Industries, alongside the Lostock Sustainable Energy Plant in Cheshire, working together with Progressive Energy, a low-carbon energy project developer.

Spirit Energy, the company leading a consortium to deliver the MNZ Cluster, say they will transform the depleted North and South Morecambe gas fields into a world-leading carbon storage facility. This facility is said to have the potential to be one of the biggest in Europe, and thanks to its natural geological capacity, has the potential to store up to one gigatonne (one billion tonnes) of CO2 in its lifetime.

Contributing around £18 billion to the UK’s GDP, directly employing 81,000 people and supporting 3.5 million other jobs, the cement plants within Peak Cluster are responsible for 40% of cement and lime production in the UK and employ well over 1,000 people, but also emit more than 3 million tonnes of CO2 per year. Through the MoU, MNZ and Peak Cluster will explore together how these organizations could access the MNZ Cluster’s permanent and safe storage solution.

Connecting Peak Cluster to the MNZ Cluster via pipeline will help vital industries continue operating within the UK, retaining jobs in their local communities, and supporting them on the pathway to net zero. The MNZ Cluster also has the potential to create thousands of new and innovative green jobs in the North West, in addition to supporting existing jobs in carbon-intensive industries as they decarbonize.

Neil McCulloch, chief executive officer of Spirit Energy, said: ‘We are proud to sign this Memorandum of Understanding today, so that the MNZ Cluster can provide one of the UK’s most vital industries, the construction sector, with access to cost-effective decarbonization. Capturing and storing carbon is essential to helping these industries on the path to net zero, enabling them to remain productive and supporting the thousands of jobs reliant on these sectors.’

John Egan, project director for Peak Cluster at Progressive Energy, said: ‘Peak Cluster will dramatically reduce carbon dioxide emissions from industry located across Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire, starting from 2030. Not only will this safeguard British jobs and maintain a booming supply chain, it will also enable the production of low-carbon cement – essential for the UK economy and the construction of vital infrastructure such as homes, hospitals, and clean energy production. We are delighted to see our collaboration extend to this agreement with MNZ.’