UK commits to building first carbon capture facility

The UK’s first carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) project could be operational from the mid-2020s under Government plans unveiled on Wednesday (November 28).

More than 50 international leaders, including CEOs of major energy, manufacturing and finance companies, met at a summit in Edinburgh, with a plan agreed to commit the UK to building its first CCUS facility.

Carbon capture technology captures carbon from power stations and carbon-heavy industries such as cement, chemicals, steel, and oil refining. It’s then either used for industrial purposes like manufacturing concrete or is stored it safely underground.

The Government has pledged £20m to support the construction of CCUS technologies at industrial sites across the UK, as part of a £45m commitment to innovation within the industry.

They will also begin working with the oil industry to identify existing oil and gas infrastructure which could be transformed for CCUS projects.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: ‘Today at this seminal summit, the UK is setting a world-leading ambition for developing and deploying carbon capture and storage technology to cut emissions.

‘It shows how determined all countries are to unlock the potential of this game-changing technology that representatives from across the globe are gathered here today in Edinburgh. The time is now to seize this challenge to tackle climate change while kick starting an entirely new industry.’

Dr Fatih Birol, executive director, International Energy Agency added: ‘Without CCUS as part of the solution, reaching our international climate goals is practically impossible. CCUS can also enhance energy security and boost economic prosperity.

‘Yet up until now, progress has been muted and if this continues the challenges we face in the energy sector will become infinitely greater.’

Earlier this week, Drax Power Station, in North Yorkshire, announced work would start on the commissioning of a Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage pilot plant using technology developed by Leeds University spin-out company C-Capture, which was supported by £2 million of government funding. If the pilot project is successful, Drax could become the world’s first negative emissions power station – meaning the electricity it produces would help reduce the amount of carbon accumulating in the atmosphere.

Thomas Barrett

Thomas Barrett

Journalist. Follow him on Twitter

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