Work begins on first carbon capture plant in Scotland
The plant will dial down carbon emissions
UK company Storegga and Canadian firm Carbon Engineering have begun engineering and design of a carbon capture facility in the north east of Scotland.
It will permanently remove between 500,000 and one million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually.
The proposed facility will be the first large-scale facility of its kind in Europe and the partners are aiming for it to be operational by 2026. The location has not yet been disclosed.
Once complete, it will be a model for how this clean infrastructure can be deployed across the continent to help achieve critical net zero targets, while also creating thousands of local jobs and businesses.
Following a successful feasibility study in the first half of 2021, Storegga and CE, has started preliminary engineering and design of the proposed facility, also known as Pre-Front End Engineering and Design.
This work will focus on engineering design, further developing costs, and economic modelling of a DAC plant in North-East Scotland. A shortlist of potential sites has been identified with the final preferred site to be selected as part of this work. The project will complete in Q1 2022, with detailed engineering expected to follow in Q2 2022.
Scotland offers numerous advantages for the deployment of DAC projects, including abundant renewable energy sources to power the technology, existing infrastructure that can be redeployed, and a skilled workforce from the North Sea oil and gas industry that have the skills needed to develop and operate DAC plants.
Scotland also offers significant offshore storage sites where the captured atmospheric carbon dioxide can be safely and permanently stored deep below the seabed.
“We are pleased to announce the beginning of the Pre-FEED study for our proposed large-scale DAC facility in North-East Scotland,” said Nick Cooper, CEO of Storegga. “This announcement follows our recent funding from the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy under the Direct Air Capture and Greenhouse Gas Removal Technology Innovation Programme Award.
“DAC technology is critical to remove large quantities of CO2 from the atmosphere in order to meet our climate goals. The development of a DAC facility in the UK will put our country on the map as being at the forefront of net negative technologies and the technology will enable hard to abate sectors create plans to reach net zero emissions.”
DAC technology, when combined with secure geological storage, delivers the permanent and verifiable removal of carbon dioxide from the air, reversing the emissions process.
For sectors of the economy that are currently challenging to decarbonise directly, such as aviation, shipping, and oil and gas, this form of greenhouse gas removal provides an effective way to address their carbon footprint and achieve net zero targets. It also delivers a mechanism to eliminate emissions from the past, providing a tool to achieve full climate restoration.
“In recent years we’ve observed a growing recognition of the need for large-scale removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,” said Steve Oldham, CEO of CE. “At Carbon Engineering, we’ve spent the last decade optimising a highly scalable and affordable solution for removing carbon from the air and now our focus is on global deployment to help meet the climate challenge.
“Our first one megaton DAC facility is underway in the US, and we’re thrilled to be working with Storegga to develop a large-scale facility in the UK – the first of its kind and size in Europe. These facilities will demonstrate that large-scale DAC technology is a feasible, affordable and available tool that is ready to help bring global emissions down to net zero, and eventually net negative.”
Whilst DAC facilities can be located almost anywhere in the world, when the captured carbon dioxide is being permanently stored underground, the optimal location is directly adjacent to appropriate geological storage sites.
Locations being considered by the partnership for this facility are in proximity to the Acorn CCS project. Acorn is one of the most mature UK CCS and hydrogen projects and is positioned to be the most cost-effective and scalable CCS project in the UK.
The Acorn project is currently in the detailed engineering and design phase of development and is planned to be operational by the mid 2020’s. DAC, CCS and hydrogen technologies are complementary solutions that provide key tools for the UK to meet its net zero targets.