Energy Minister Claire Perry has said that the government wants to look at Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) very seriously. The statement was made at the first meeting of the newly formed CCUS council, underlining its commitment to the technology, which is seen as a key tool in the government’s Clean Growth Strategy. The Strategy outlines different energy pathways to 2032, as it cannot predict the exact technological changes that take place. Under the “hydrogen pathway” and “emissions removal pathway”, CCUS plays an important role.
Carbon Capture and Storage is a three-stage technology whereby 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 processes. CCS has the potential for use in multiple operations such as power generation and the steel and cement industries. The Asia Pacific region is leading the way in CCS development with 11 large-scale facilities in varying stage of development across the region, two of which are scheduled to be operational this year. The UK has a number of projects in the planning stage such as the St Fergus gas terminal and a pre-combustion project at Immingham. Details of projects in the UK and across the globe can be found on the SCCS interactive map.
In 2015, the government cancelled £1 billion of funding for a CCS commercialisation competition just before the results were scheduled to be announced, but deployment of the technology is now seen as essential to meeting legally binding emission targets. It is recognised, however, that the costs need to fall. The government plans to collaborate with global partners and invest up to £100 million in leading-edge technology to drive down costs. The CCUS council will work with a select group of industry representatives to review the progress and priorities of the CCUS strategy. This includes monitoring the costs and deployment potential, with the option of changing the deployment path as the investment and policy landscape changes.