The UK government has selected two sites in the north of England to develop £ 1bn carbon capture projects by the middle of the decade as part of its acceleration plan to reduce 20-30 million tonnes of CO2 in heavy industry in 2030.
Ministers gave the green light to the East Coast cluster, which plans to capture and store emissions from Humber and Teesside, and the HyNet North West project in Liverpool Bay, which will also produce low-carbon hydrogen from the gas. fossil.
The East Coast Cluster is backed by oil companies BP and Equinor, along with energy companies Drax and SSE, and expects to reduce up to 27 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030. The HyNet project, backed by the company Italian oil company Eni and Progressive Energy plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 10 million tonnes a year by the end of the decade.
The projects, which left out the competition of three rivals, are the first to go ahead with government support since ministers rejected a £ 1bn program six years ago. If they can prove that they offer energy taxpayers good value for money, they will be able to get support through the new £ 1bn carbon capture fund.
Energy Minister Greg Hands told parliament on Tuesday that carbon capture would be “essential to meeting our net ambitions from scratch” and would be “an exciting new industry for capturing carbon that we continue to emit and revitalize our sites.” birth of the first industrial revolution ”.
He said the “new major infrastructure projects for a new sector of the economy” would be a “significant undertaking” and that there would be “significant risks” to deliver them by the mid-2020s.
The government has also allocated a carbon capture cluster on the east coast of Scotland, which includes the Acorn carbon capture and storage project based in north Aberdeen, based on a “reserve cluster” that will be eligible for funds if one of the other projects fails. .
The government has pledged to advance two industrial carbon capture clusters by the mid-2020s and four by 2030, to help capture emissions from factories and chemical plants before permanently storing carbon where it is not. may contribute to the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere. .
Carbon capture is also expected to play a key role in the production of “clean combustion” hydrogen from fossil gas. Hydrogen can be extracted from the gas and burned without emissions by gas power plants, heavy industry or even homes. But the hydrogen production process releases carbon emissions into the air unless it is captured at the source and stored.
The plans are part of a wave of green government commitments expected in the run-up to the Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow over the next two weeks. It has also unveiled plans to help reduce home heating emissions, along with a comprehensive plan to reach net zero across the economy.
Ruth Herbert, chief executive of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association, said the two most advanced projects “will show the scope of applications” for carbon capture, but urged the government to establish a plan clear on how technology will expand in the coming decades to achieve carbon goals.
“Prior to next week ‘s spending review, we call on the government to introduce a carbon capture, use and storage delivery plan, which will establish annual spending budgets over the next decade to give the industry security. invest in projects now, ”he said.
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