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Carbon fibre in Tees Valley

Carbon fibre can help revolutionise wind power and drive efficiencies in aerospace and automotive sectors, and Tees Valley companies are well-placed to make this happen.

Tees Valley provides access to one of the most significant integrated industrial economies in the world, producing 30% of the UK’s chemical output and home to some of the biggest chemical manufacturers. Industry and UK government are collaborating to create one of Europe’s most attractive locations for future clean industrial development.

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Location:

Tees Valley (North East)

Investment type:

Foreign direct investment

Sector:

Jet zero and green ships

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Michael Green

Senior Investment Adviser

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Sector and market

The UK is a world-class centre for the petrochemicals, energy, bio-resources and advanced manufacturing industries. A significant opportunity exists to take advantage of Tees Valley’s capabilities and expertise in chemicals and processes to design, develop and construct new carbon fibre manufacturing capability.

Growth prospects

Projected UK market demand for carbon fibre cannot be met by the current UK supply base. The projected growth of the UK composites market relies on imports of this strategic raw material, with the need to import up to £3.4 billion’s worth of carbon fibre predicted by 2030. This market gap presents a clear opportunity to attract a new precursor and carbon fibre manufacturer into the UK, helping to anchor and grow the composites value chain.

Location

Tees Valley presents a de-risked location for precursor and carbon fibre manufacturing with excellent research and innovation skills, and contains the largest cluster of process, chemicals and energy companies in the UK. It is also home to the largest integrated chemical complex in the UK and has the second-largest manufacturing capacity in Western Europe. Local companies include SABIC, CF Industries, BOC, Alpek and Lucite International.

Connectivity

Tees Valley’s 4 international airports provide direct access to more than 200 global destinations.

Customers and suppliers are well connected to the A1 motorway, while the rail hub handles more than 100 freight trains each week.

The ports of Tees and Hartlepool are key assets to the area. The Tees is the largest container port on the North East coast and the UK’s best-connected feeder port.

Local talent and skills

There are 34,000 employees in the Tees Valley and North East composites, chemicals, process and energy sector.

NEPIC (North East England Process Industry Cluster) is an award-winning membership organisation working with the chemical-using industries in the North East.

Research and expertise

Twenty-six universities and further education establishments in the North East offer courses in the fields of chemistry and process energy.

The Centre for Process Innovation supports advancements in composites and multi-material research and development.

The National Composites Centre accelerates the growth of UK industrial output by enabling design and manufacturing enterprises to deliver winning solutions in the application of composites.

Region Spotlight
North of England

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The North of England is recognised as a global centre for creativity and design and attracts thriving international investment. This heritage of expertise and manufacturing know-how is well established on the world stage, and historically gave birth to the Industrial Revolution.

View all investment opportunities in North of England

Enabling clean growth

Global carbon fibre demand will grow to reach £6.3 billion in 2026. There is a potential UK market worth £1.09 billion by 2035 in aerospace composite structures, and automotive is expected to be one of the biggest growth markets in the next 5 to 10 years.

Local and national government support

Tees Valley Combined Authority helps businesses access the support and finance necessary for growth with investment plan commitments and ensures businesses are engaged through the Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Local funding schemes include the Tees Valley Business Fund, and the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, offering early and later stage debt and equity finance to SMEs.

Success stories

Applied Graphene Materials

Applied Graphene Materials is based at Wilton, Redcar and has developed proprietary bottom-up processes capable of producing high-purity graphene nanoplatelets using a continuous process.

AGM has continued to develop its intellectual property, know-how and knowledge base through extensive work on the formatting and dispersion of graphene.

Victrex

Victrex is a world leader in PEEK- and PAEK-based polymer, working to find improved economic and performance solutions guided by mega trends such as climate change and technology breakthroughs.

Its global manufacturing facilities include a site at Seal Sands, where it produces benzophenone difluoride (BDF), the raw material for PEEK thermoplastic polymers.

Other opportunities

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