A team of developers in Scotland has been awarded EU funding to test the viability of a low-cost carbon capture and storage (CCS) project, known as Project Acorn. The results of the “Advancing CCS Technologies” funding round were announced by the EU last week. CCS is essentially a three-stage technology where CO2 is captured from emission sources, transported via a network of pipelines, and stored in deep subsurface geological formations. The capture process can potentially remove 90% of the CO2 emitted by fossil fuelled electricity generation and industrial processes. Project Acorn will capture CO2 emissions from the St Fergus gas plant and transport them for permanent sequestration deep beneath the North Sea using existing redundant oil and gas infrastructure. Developers CO2 DeepStore believe it will provide a starting point for a wider network of CCS infrastructure in the UK. CCS investment in the UK was impeded in 2015 when the government cancelled a CCS competition for two demonstration projects. Critics argued that CCS provides an innovation opportunity for the UK, as well as being an essential tool in meeting carbon emission reduction targets.
In other news, the UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre (UKCCSEC) has been awarded £6.1M by a UK government agency, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), to continue its work for the next five years. The centre’s activities are predominantly delivered by six leading universities that provide complimentary CCS expertise. This new support will enable consumers and industry to see the benefits of its research into cost-effective CCS as soon as 2020. Stuart Haszeldine, UKCCSRC Deputy Director for Storage, said, “Removing carbon emissions from industry, heat, and transport will future-proof the UK economy against clean air taxes, will improve near-term health, and long-term competitiveness. Carbon management is an essential component of the sustainable transition, which cannot be achieved by renewables alone.”