Keeping up CCS momentum

Thursday, 3 May 2018


“This year will be pivotal for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) in the UK. It is important that we maintain the momentum on CCUS.”

The message was loud and clear at the “Delivering the Clean Growth Plan: Transition to a low carbon economy” conference hosted in London earlier this week.

The Global CCS Institute joined representatives from industry, government and academia to share views on how the UK will achieve its transition to a low-carbon economy and successfully deliver its climate targets.

During the one-day conference, there was a general sense of optimism around CCUS in the UK. All this with a note of realism on the challenges ahead.

Last October with the release of the Clean Growth Strategy, the UK Government showed its commitment to making CCUS part of Britain’s low-carbon future.  In the last months, the CCUS Cost Challenge Taskforce, established by the UK Government, has been working on key recommendations on how to reduce the cost of deploying CCUS in the UK. The Taskforce report is expected to be delivered to the Minister of Energy and Clean Energy Claire Perry later this summer.

These latest developments around CCUS make this event all the more timeous.

Speaking on a panel at the conference, the Institute’s Executive Adviser for Europe John Scowcroft said: “CCS will be crucial to reduce industrial emissions not only in the UK but globally. If we want to get anywhere near the below 2°C scenario, then CCS will need to be deployed at scale. More than 2,500 CCCS facilities will have to be operational by 2040.”

There seemed to be general consensus among many of speakers: “CCS is a no-regret option.”

At the event, it was encouraging to see the enormous potential for CCUS in the UK and its different regions. The conference showcased the strong ambition of the industry to build a greener energy system for the UK. With this, a vision to kickstart a hydrogen economy. The opportunities for CCS deployment currently lie in decarbonizing industry as well as domestic gas, heat and transport sectors.

Speaking at the event, Mark Lewis from the Tees Valley Combined Authority spoke about the importance of CCUS for the Tees Valley region and its industry. Lewis presented the Teesside Collective project, a cluster of leading industries wishing to create UK’s first CCS industrial hub.

“We know how CCS can be done competitively,” said Lewis. The Tees Valley Authority representative described how the project is strategically located and builds on the core strengths of the Tees Valley region. The industrial CCS project will boost UK’s economy by creating jobs, retaining UK’s industrial base and attracting new investments.

Several other pioneering projects within the UK such as the H21 Leeds City and HyNet North West were also presented at the event.  Officially launching on May 11, Cadent’s HyNet North West project aims to reduce emissions from homes and industry while building the foundations of a new hydrogen economy.

The event also took an international dimension with the participation of the CEO of Gassnova Trude Sundset, whose organisation is also an Institute member. Sundset presented the latest developments of the Norwegian full-scale project.

“CCS isn’t just about the environment, it is also about the future economic growth. CCS will help the economy go green, increase production while reducing CO2 emissions,” said Sundset. Her presence at the event proves how other countries, such as Norway and the Netherlands, are taking the lead in deploying CCS and making the technology an asset for the future of their economy.

As the conference drew to a close, Alex Cunningham, Chair of the UK’s All Parliamentary Committee on CCS and MP for Stockton North, was very outspoken on the need for strong policy and commitment from the UK Government to deploy CCS: “We can’t wait another decade to deploy CCS at scale. The time is now. The opportunity is now.”