CCS plants to be operational by mid-2020s, says taskforce

At least two CCS (carbon capture storage) plants should be up and running by the mid-2020s, the government has been told by the force that it established to spur the development of the technology.

The CCS taskforce’s report for the government, which is published today (19 July), recommends that the plants should be developed as part of two new clusters that would also include facilities to store the carbon dioxide captured during the process.

The taskforce, which was set up following the publication of the Clean Growth Strategy (CGS) in the autumn last year, concludes that the UK is “uniquely placed” to grasp the opportunities presented by carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS).

The report by the taskforce, which was chaired by law firm Linklaters energy and infrastructure partner Charlotte Morgan, will feed into the CCS deployment pathway that the government has committed to publish by the end of 2018.

It recommends that CCS plants should be established in clusters to maximise potential cost reductions from economies of scale. It says the government should be storing approximately 10 megatonnes of CO2 each year by 2030 to be on track to meet its long-term carbon reduction goals.

The taskforce concludes that deploying CCS at scale could reap cost reductions, like those achieved by the offshore wind industry, pointing to an estimate by Shell that the cost of its next CCS project could be up to 30 per cent lower than its Quest development in Canada.

The report calls on the government to develop a consistent policy framework to support the development of CCS, like that which offshore wind has benefited from over recent years.

Amongst the benefits that the technology unlocks are decarbonised hydrogen for heating, greenhouse gas removal and carbon dioxide utilisation, according to the report.

Dr Luke Warren, chief executive of the Carbon Capture Storage Association, said: “After six months of intense discussions between a number of key CCUS stakeholders, the message from today’s report is clear: CCS can already be deployed at a competitive cost, through the development of CCS clusters in key UK regions. These clusters could support clean growth across the UK economy whilst retaining and creating high-value jobs in some of the UK’s most important industries.

“The next five to six months therefore represent a crucial period for CCS. It is imperative that industry and government now work together to ensure that the recommendations set out in today’s report are taken forward and reflected in a strong and ambitious new approach to CCS.”

The government allocated £100 million to help the development of CCS in the CGS, two years after axing a £1bn programme to support it following the 2015 general election.

CCS is seen as a crucial for storing the carbon dioxide released through the steam-methane process, which is currently the cheapest method of manufacturing hydrogen.

David Blackman

This article first appeared on edie’s sister title, Utility Week

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