The UK has ‘more than enough’ geological CO₂ storage to tackle our emissions to 2050 and beyond
SCCS welcomes the launch of the Energy Technologies Institute’s new report, Taking Stock of UK CO₂ Storage, which clearly shows that the UK has enough geological CO₂ storage to support a carbon capture and storage industry to at least 2050, and beyond.
The report, launched today, will support renewed momentum by scientists and industry to deliver the infrastructure needed to start tackling the UK’s carbon emissions in line with our climate change goals – as defined by domestic targets and the Paris Agreement, which the UK has signed up to and ratified.
Citing the east coast of England as a good starting point, the report suggests that work could begin now to match CO₂ emitters, such as industry, to suitable storage sites in order to “start small and build fast”, with the first full-chain projects ultimately leading to a network of shared infrastructure.
In fact, one such project is already under way in north-east Scotland – the Acorn CCS Project – and will prove this very point. A consortium led by Pale Blue Dot, and including SCCS as a partner, has recently secured funding for feasibility studies. This small-scale, low-cost project will use existing infrastructure to tie a large CO₂ emitter base into extensive North Sea storage – an asset, which can also be used for CO₂ emissions shipped from Teesside and other “clusters” around the North Sea basin. With the right level of support – importantly, much less than the UK’s previous failed attempts at delivering large-scale CCS – Acorn could be operating as early as 2020.
Professor Stuart Haszeldine, SCCS Director, said:
We welcome the ETI’s findings and, in fact, would go further and suggest that the UK’s CO₂ storage capacity could accept UK greenhouse gas emissions from industry, heat and power well beyond 2050 to 2100, or even 2200. This can create jobs and protect UK businesses against inevitable rises in carbon prices from our trading partners in Europe, the USA and China.
Acorn aims to show how we can start small and build out to deliver a world-class CCS industry with an unparalleled geological storage asset and a skills base to match. Of course, key to this will be the preservation of oil and gas infrastructure at risk of being decommissioned. We hope the ETI’s findings will further strengthen the case for protecting these offshore assets and making swift progress on CCS – a technology that will deliver net zero carbon emissions not just for electricity but also industry, heat and transport by 2050.
Read the ETI’s report here.
The ETI also references research, carried out with ETI funding by SCCS and its partners, showing that brine production allows the careful management of this storage asset to increase storage capacity and injection rates cost effectively. Find out more about this research here.