UK government to develop crucial CO2 storage capacity for CCS

Publish date: May 26, 2015

The UK consultancy Pale Blue Dot has been awarded €3.5 million for a year-long project to deliver a portfolio of offshore geological CO2 storage which will in turn be used to accelerate necessary future CCS projects.

The Aberdeen-based Pale Blue Dot will be commencing the project this month, and will over the next year aim to drive the appraisal and progression of five significant offshore CO2 storage sites. The contract has been awarded by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) and is funded by the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The project is required to aid the deployment of future CCS projects beyond the current DECC CCS Commercialisation programme, in the mid-2020s. The availability of safe and permanent CO2 storage capacity is the most crucial step in preventing millions of tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. In addition permanent CO2 storage is the only current method to achieve large scale carbon negative emissions, such carbon dioxide removal (CDR) plays a central role in achieving the IPCC AR5 2oc scenarios.

This will put the UK on track to permanently store decades of emissions from many of its major power stations and industrial emitters. This will significantly de-risk and encourage the deployment of CCS technology in the years ahead” said Den Gammer, ETI’s CCS Strategy Manager.

Urgency to deliver a CO storage industry

Bellona, who strongly welcomes the undertaking of this project, sees the availability of CO2 storage as the linchpin of CCS deployment. “A lack of storage capacity could render CO2­­ ­capture futile, and in the worst case could discourage investments in CCS projects. A CO2 storage industry that can match the scale of oil and gas sector will therefore be necessary to enable the necessary scale of CCS deployment” – explains Keith Whiriskey, Climate Technologies Policy Manager at Bellona Europa.

In its recently published report entitled “Scaling the CO2 storage industry: A study and tool” Bellona finds that annual investments in the range of €500 million will need to begin by 2020 in order to provide the injection and storage capacity needed to effectively reduce emissions from energy and industry.

The climate challenge is huge, concerted efforts are needed on all fronts from renewables to efficiency. But investments in CO2 storage cannot be overlooked; low carbon cement, steel and chemicals will all require their CO2 to be permanently stored in order to prevent irreversible damage to the atmosphere, oceans and climate”- further adds Whiriskey.