Study will look at UK’s carbon storage potential

A multi-million pound study that will look at how much CO2 could be stored under the seabed around Britain was launched by the Energy Technologies Institute today.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is backed by politicians and industry as a stop-gap solution to climate change, reducing the impact of the greenhouse gas emissions of burning fossil fuels by trapping them under the ground.

The ETI, a company backed by Government and energy majors BP, EDF Energy, E.ON and Shell as well as Caterpillar and Rolls-Royce, plans to led the £3.5m research project which will help pin down an answer to the question of exactly how much storage capacity is practically available in the UK.

The UK is potentially well served with offshore CO2 storage capacity in depleted oil and gas reservoirs and saline formations and, although various estimates have been made of the total amount available, those figures vary widely.

ETI chief executive David Clarke said: “The availability of sufficient high-quality storage capacity is crucial to the large scale roll-out of CCS in the UK.

“Estimates of the amount of capacity available vary widely so this will provide a comprehensive picture of all potential UK offshore storage areas.

“This project aims to provide a more accurate picture of how much storage space is practically available.

“Fossil fuels will remain an important source of energy and coal is a cheap and relatively secure fuel so we have to find a way of using those fossil fuel plants and capturing the CO2 and storing it somewhere.

“CCS is a complex challenge and requires us to demonstrate a whole new aspect of UK energy operations in the next 10 years. This will cover CO2 capture at power stations, pipelines to offshore stores and injection into underground reservoirs – effectively the reverse of our existing gas to power infrastructure that we have developed.

“We have to move quickly in a focused way to do this and the ETI storage appraisal project is a key element in this.”

Sam Bond

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