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UK to lead global challenge to capture carbon

The UK Energy Minister Claire Perry has announced the UK is to lead an international challenge with Saudi Arabia and Mexico to remove carbon from emissions. A unique opportunity to enable an up and coming technology to scale up by working with other countries, it is one of seven Mission Innovation challenges announced in 2015 at COP21 for which the UK has set out GBP 21.5 million (≈ EUR 24.5 million) of funding for innovative new Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) technologies.

According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the aim of the funding is to invest in innovation that could reduce the cost of the technology by supporting its development so that CCUS can become commercially viable at scale.

CCUS is where carbon from power stations or industry is captured then either used for industrial applications or transported to be “stored safely” underground. While there are currently 22 plants in operation or construction, the UK has the opportunity to become a world leader in this field.

According to BEIS, there is a global consensus that carbon capture will be critical in meeting the aims of the Paris Agreement and supporting clean growth. This technology can capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from industry or power generation as well as support low carbon hydrogen production.

My ambition is for the UK to become a global technology leader in carbon capture, working with international partners to reduce its costs. As the UK has led the debate globally on tackling climate change and pioneering clean growth, we are leading this global challenge with an initial GBP 21.5 million investment in CCUS innovation – a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy said Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Claire Perry in a statement May 23.

UK companies are already involved in some of the most innovative CCUS projects internationally, and recently UK power utility Drax launched a ground-breaking bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS) project at its power station in Yorkshire.

Clean Growth Strategy sets out CCUS approach

The Clean Growth Strategy sets out the new Government approach to CCUS in the UK, highlighting the important role of innovation in supporting cost reduction and the UK Government has committed to spending up to GBP 162 million (≈ EUR 185 million) to improve CCUS and industrial energy efficiency.

Apart from the potential to help cut emissions in heavy manufacturing industries such as concrete, chemicals and steel, there are also opportunities to maximise economic opportunities for the UK through new technologies and the supply chain.

Government is working with industry to adopt CCUS in the UK by reducing its costs and capturing the export opportunities, and a CCUS Cost Challenge Taskforce will report to the Government in July this year. Energy Minister Claire Perry will host an international CCUS summit with the International Energy Agency (IEA), in Edinburgh later this year.

About Carbon Capture Challenge

The Carbon Capture Challenge is one of 7 Mission Innovation challenges announced in 2015 at COP21. It is focused on addressing the innovation challenges CCUS presents, for example enhancing innovation for carbon capture technologies to reduce the cost of the technology and support the technology’s development.

A call for CCUS innovation will offer GBP 15 million (≈ EUR 17.1 million) of grant funding for projects up to 28 months and will be available to 31 March 2021. BEIS will consider grants of up to GBP 5 million (≈ EUR 5.7 million) for a single project. Both projects that are UK-led or that involve collaboration with an international partner will be considered.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the national funding agency UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has committed GBP 6.5 million (≈ EUR 7.4 million) to the 2nd call of the Accelerating Carbon Technologies (ACT) Research Programme. This R&D programme is made up of 10 European countries, 5 of which are involved in the CCUS Mission Innovation Challenge – Norway, The Netherlands, Germany, France and UK.

The overall grant available from all the countries involved amounts to approximately EUR 25 million. Further information is available on how to apply for funding and about the programmes.

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