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Carbon Capture & Storage

Acorn project signs MoU with Uniper

Acorn project signs MoU with Uniper
Uniper is developing proposals to retrofit post-combustion carbon capture technology on up to three units at its Grain power station, a 1,326 MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) plant, located in the South East of England, on the Isle of Grain (photo courtesy Uniper).

In the UK, the Acorn Partners – Storegga Ltd, Shell UK Ltd (Shell), Harbour Energy plc, and North Sea Midstream Partners (NSMP) have announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Uniper SE, an international energy company operating over 22 GW of generation capacity in Europe and one of the world’s largest power producers, to jointly develop a potential carbon dioxide transportation and storage solution from the Isle of Grain.

The project could potentially capture over two million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year.

Uniper is investing significantly to decarbonize our existing power stations, to meet our ambitious target to generate more than 80 percent of our installed power capacity from carbon-free sources by 2030. We are exploring a range of options to transform our gas-fired generation to achieve this, from alternative fuels, such as hydrogen or biofuels, to post-combustion carbon capture, said Mike Lockett, Uniper UK Country Chairman and Group Chief Commercial Officer Power.

Ship and store in the North Sea

Acorn and Uniper have entered into the MoU to jointly develop a potential solution to ship captured CO2 from the Isle of Grain to Peterhead Port in the North East of Scotland and onto the Acorn transportation and storage (T&S) network, which can then pipe the CO2 to permanent storage 2.5 km below the seabed in the North Sea using re-purposed gas pipelines.

As part of its plans, Uniper is seeking to use existing jetty infrastructure near Grain to load the ships with captured CO2 and ship it from Kent to Scotland.

Retrofitting carbon capture technology at Grain – one of the most efficient gas plants in our fleet, will remove millions of tonnes of CO2 during the electricity generation process, whilst still providing flexible and reliable power to the UK’s energy system. The MoU Uniper has signed with the Acorn project partners, is a significant step in helping to identify a solution to ship captured CO2 for permanent offshore storage. This is also an important step for the many other emitters across the UK who want and need to decarbonize their essential industrial processes, but require a flexible CO2 transport and storage solution to achieve this, Mike Lockett said.

The joint project would contribute to the UK Government’s CCUS (Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage) Cluster Sequencing Track-2 ambitions.

To do this, Uniper and Acorn plan to collaborate to develop technical, commercial, and regulatory proposals to enable the shipment of CO2 within this timeframe.

Scottish Cluster key

The Acorn T&S system, at the heart of the Scottish Cluster, is critical to decarbonizing Scottish industry. It provides a path to net zero and opens up significant new value-creating activity for Scotland and the rest of the UK.

In 2021 the UK government awarded the Scottish Cluster reserve status in the first track of its Cluster Sequencing competition.

In July 2023, Acorn was recognized as one of two T&S systems best placed to meet the Track 2 criteria and support the delivery of the UK Government’s commitment to capture and store 20-30 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030.

Acorn, as part of the Scottish Cluster, has the potential to help decarbonize not only Scotland but the UK and beyond. This MoU with Uniper is a great example of how our large storage capacity and transport network can decarbonize beyond Scotland while creating and safeguarding jobs and helping to build a low carbon economy across the UK, said Steve Murphy, Chief Commercial Officer, Storegga on behalf of Acorn.

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