Low Carbon Hub

South Yorkshire as a low carbon hub 

South Yorkshire is attracting businesses from the UK and overseas to relocate here and part of its attraction is the region’s commitment to research, development and innovation into renewable energy and zero carbon technologies.   

Within our region, academic institutions and businesses are collaborating on major research programmes and, as a result, South Yorkshire has ambitious plans to be recognised as the ‘Green Heart of Great Britain’. 

Our region’s Energy Strategy outlines our ambitions to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, ten years before the goal set by Government.  

Looking to the future: Green Hydrogen 

Our region is at the cutting edge of developing ‘green hydrogen’ – hydrogen produced from electrolysis processes using renewable electricity. 

South Yorkshire is well placed to develop hydrogen for transport as our region not only has the northern-most hydrogen refuelling station in England, capable of producing 100kg of hydrogen per day, it is also home to ITM Power, an energy storage and clean fuel company that uses renewable electricity and water to generate hydrogen gas on-site.  The company has recently announced plans for a second Gigafactory in Sheffield, which is expected to have a capacity of 2.5 GW pa, making ITM Power the largest electrolyser manufacturing facility in the world. 

ITM Power is working collaboratively with the University of Sheffield on the development of research, innovation and skills for the hydrogen sector, which is expected to include research into the safe and efficient manufacture of hydrogen using renewable energy and/or nuclear power production. 

Professor Koen Lamberts, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “We are very pleased to be launching this partnership with ITM Power. Hydrogen is one of the most exciting and promising clean energy solutions and ITM is at the forefront of green hydrogen manufacturing. This partnership is a milestone for both partners and the region in leading the way in achieving net zero through technological innovation.” 

South Yorkshire’s Assets 

The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA)’s Research Facility is based in South Yorkshire and has the capability to test components in the simulated conditions of a fusion reactor. 

The pioneering facility will be involved with the development of joining technologies for fusion materials and components and includes the CHIMERA (Combined Heating and Magnetic Research Apparatus) test rig – the only device in the world that has the ability to test prototype components in an environment that simulates the conditions inside a fusion reactor.  

Damon Johnstone, UKAEA’s Head of Operations, Fusion Technology Business Unit and Head of the Fusion Technology Facility, said: “CHIMERA is a unique world-first facility in which we will be able to simulate the extreme conditions found within a fusion power plant, but without any nuclear reactions taking place.” 

With facilities like the UKAEA, plus the Nuclear AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre) in our region, South Yorkshire is in a strong position to commercialise nuclear fusion as a major source of low-carbon electricity in the years ahead. 

Alternative fuels 

South Yorkshire will soon be home to a new Sustainable Aviation Fuels Innovation Centre (SAF-IC), which will be the first of its kind in Europe. The centre will give the UK much-needed testing capabilities to help producers of sustainable aviation fuels bring their fuels to market, helping to reduce the carbon footprint of air travel and transport. 

Did you know…? 

  • In South Yorkshire, 1,500 people work in nuclear technologies across 230 supplier & research companies, including the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, UK Atomic Energy Authority, Chesterfield Special Cylinders and Sheffield Forgemasters. 
  • 27% of UK electricity is generated within the Northern Powerhouse, with over 30% of UK renewable electricity being generated here. 

Energy Research Projects 

Within our region there are currently a number of innovative projects underway where businesses are collaborating with our universities, with a view to securing a low carbon future.  

These include: 

  • Offshore wind turbine technology – the University of Sheffield is the academic partner of the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s new research hub. 
  • Hydrogen for use as an alternative transport fuel
  • Minewater – to provide a source of low carbon energy for homes & businesses. 
  • South Yorkshire is also focused on developing battery technology. This will enable wind and solar to meet increased demand in the future and deliver cheaper, longer-running electric vehicles. 
  • The University of Sheffield’s Energy Institute is conducting pioneering research into nuclear energy, electrical energy storage and renewable energy monitoring, with a view to making these more accessible to businesses and homes in our region. 

Greener Transport 

Green travel and transport is an essential part of our Net Zero aim.  One South Yorkshire company which is pioneering electric drive systems and components is Magtec.  These systems are made for a wide range of vehicles including off-road multi-wheeled and tracked military vehicles.  As a greener alternative to fossil fuels, these electric drivetrains will be used in single- and double-decker buses, which are fitted with its state-of-the-art clean technology that is in use worldwide. 

We recognise how important it is to reduce carbon emissions, particularly in our towns and city.  We have a green tram network and over 175 bus routes across the county. And there are 31 Park and Ride sites covering rail, bus and tram too.  

We’re working with the local authorities, customers and government to enhance our public transport network in line with our Net Zero carbon ambitions.  

Our commitments 

The focus now is on decarbonising South Yorkshire’s economy, which will require significant investment but will also unlock major benefits to residents in terms of creating thousands of jobs.   

As a region, we are committed to: 

  • Making households and businesses more energy efficient, providing help with funding, where required. 
  • Working closely with Community Energy England to identify opportunities for energy schemes which provide a community benefit. 
  • Investing in more Electric Vehicle charging points and hydrogen refuelling stations across South Yorkshire. 
  • Our public sector will improve its building stock using low carbon methods. 
  • Deliver a zero-carbon public transport network and active travel city region.

STRIVING FOR NET-ZERO BY 2040

Want to find out more about how South Yorkshire is working to become a greener region for all?