Chemicals in the Humber
Chemicals are essential to establishing a low-carbon economy, and companies operating in the Humber are delivering solutions to support a healthy, modern and sustainable lifestyle.
This is an opportunity for demonstration and commercial scale investment in advanced chemicals processing, with direct access to a unique acetyls and ammonia value chain.
Companies in the region can service the growing local, national and global demand for chemicals for major end-use industries such as the automotive, agriculture, electrical and electronic, and pharmaceutical sectors.
The Humber (North East)
Foreign direct investment
Sector and market opportunity
There is a clear, growing global demand for basic and speciality chemicals. Companies in the region can gain direct access to Europe’s largest supply of acetic acid, ethyl acetate and acetic anhydride.
The area also has a unique supply of ammonia and other feedstocks including ethylene, VAM, titanium dioxide and calcium dioxide.
Superb opportunities exist to collaborate with processing companies, plus upstream and downstream chemicals, to develop chemicals for speciality applications.
Global chemicals demand will grow to reach £4.3 trillion in 2025 creating a significant future pipeline of projects for companies operating in the UK chemicals sector.
Co-locating with other chemicals companies within the Humber cluster also presents a clear list of large potential customers.
The Humber allows companies to process and manufacture chemicals in a sustainably focused, de-risked and cost-effective cluster.
It’s renowned for innovation with excellent feedstock provision and integrated into the UK and global supply chain. The region has a globally significant and differentiated chemicals offer.
More than 300 chemicals companies are already based here with key companies including BP Chemicals, INEOS, Nippon Gohsei, Tricoya Ventures and Tronox.
Saltend Chemicals Park is a ready-to-go site with a cluster of world-class chemicals and renewable energy businesses and more than 150 acres of brownfield land available.
The rail network connects the Humber to the wider Northern Powerhouse region, the Midlands and London (under 3 hours).
You can also easily access Humber Freeport, a hub for global trade and investment in the region, with tax incentives and customs support available to investors.
The location is also home to the UK’s busiest port complex with 5 ports and direct connections with Northern Europe and Scandinavia.
Meanwhile, the Humber is close to freight distribution centres too, making it the logical choice for container traffic coming into the UK.
Local talent and skills
The Humber and wider Northern Powerhouse has 5 leading universities and produces 7,655 industry-ready graduates a year, specialising in courses related to the chemical sector.
Research and expertise
The area provides access to nationally important research centres that support the chemicals and process sector.
There’s excellent research capability in material science, chemical synthesis, chemical measurement, atmospheric physics and chemistry and materials processing.
The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) allows companies access to its national innovation centres, which provide state-of-the-art laboratories for RD&I, process development and scale-up work.
North of England
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.
Enabling clean growth
The Humber’s chemicals cluster supports the decarbonisation of the economy through the provision of chemicals for clean hydrogen, battery technologies and renewables feedstocks, amongst others.
Local and national government support
Humber LEP works to ensure businesses can access the support and finance to create jobs and take advantage of new investment opportunities, through City Deal commitments, the Business Growth Hub and the LEP Forum.
There are also local funding schemes available including the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and the Growing the Humber capital grant scheme.
Phillips 66 is one of the world’s largest producers of high purity graphite coke. This specialist product has traditionally been used to manufacture electrodes for use in steel recycling.
FTt identified the opportunity for Humber Refinery graphite coke to be used in lithium-ion batteries 5 years ago; it’s now used in the batteries of some of the world’s most popular consumer electronic and electric vehicle brands.
Tricoya Ventures produces modified wood-timber technology for use in applications such as window components, door skins, wet interiors and more.
Tricoya is building a new plant at Saltend Chemicals Park, with the general manager describing Saltend as “a perfect location” due to the availability of raw material, all required utilities and the accessibility of services such as control room, labs and offices, and workshop space.
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.
Biomanufacturing in Tees Valley
Tees Valley is driving UK clean growth, converting sustainable feedstocks into high-value biopharmaceuticals, food and feed, biofuels and biochemical products.
Humber Freeport builds on the region's existing strengths in renewable energy, clean growth, and advanced manufacturing, offering excellent connectivity to the UK's manufacturing supply chain.