Carbon Capture & Storage
Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) has the potential to be one of the most cost effective methods of tackling climate change. The need to reduce the world’s greenhouse gas emissions has driven this innovative process and the Yorkshire and Humber region is now in pole position to become the world leader in this area.
CCS is unique in that it allows the continued use of fossil fuels through carbon abatement, until replacement low carbon processes can come to maturity. This makes it an essential requirement to combat climate change whilst maintaining security of energy supply.
The Government have designated Yorkshire and Humber as the nation’s Low Carbon Economic Area (LCEA) for Carbon Capture and Storage in the UK, which reflects the leading edge capabilities here. This has been backed by European investment in what will be the world’s first commercial scale CCS plant at Hatfield in South Yorkshire, while UK Government investment is being directed at a pioneering pilot CCS scheme at Ferrybridge Power Station.
The region is ideally placed to develop a large scale CCS network, as there are a large number of single-source CO2 emitters, such as major 7 power stations and 2 oil refineries, all located in a small geographic area. These sites currently emit around 60m tonnes of CO2 per year, which is equivalent to almost half of all the emissions from UK households. This means that a single pipeline could be constructed to which each of these emitters could link to.
The Yorkshire and Humber coastline is also close to several large potential offshore storage sites. The viability of any CCS system increases with its proximity to suitable storage facilities and we are ideally situated to take advantage of the many depleting gas fields and saline aquifers in the southern North Sea. The region is also well located to use existing costal gas terminals to access the southern North Sea storage sites. This will reduce the environmental impact of CO2 transport and compliment existing industrial activity.
Significant opportunities exist throughout the CCS chain, in the research development and application of technologies in each phase of the CCS process, from capture through transport to storage. Businesses that already supply products and services to the energy intensive industries and the offshore sector could enter the global CCS market that could be worth many billions per year.
Other industries will also be required to supply the CCS chain, including those with the expertise in structural metal, fabricated metal products, pipes and machinery, civil engineering and construction. The skills learnt from deploying CCS by regional companies could then be exported into mainland Europe and beyond.
A recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has identified four other industrial processes all with significant scope for CO2 capture including steel, cement and ammonia production.
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