‘Decarbonisation is not only about the environmental impact and protecting existing industries and jobs, but also about growing new opportunities.’
According to a policy briefing published by the Royal Society, the UK needs to step up research and deployment of new offshore carbon storage wells if it is to achieve the capacity needed to reach its net zero emissions plans.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Energy Agency have indicated that 7-8 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide will need to be stored globally each year by 2050 to keep warming below 1.5oC. According to the UK North Sea Transition Authority, for the UK to deliver on its net zero carbon emissions pledge, it needs to develop new wells – and the associated injection, transport and storage infrastructure – capable of storing in the region of 75-175 MtCO2 each year by 2050. This will require one new carbon storage system, capable of injecting 4-5 MtCO2/year being added each year by 2050.
The briefing: Locked Away – Geological Carbon Storage looks at the latest evidence and technical considerations for permanently storing carbon dioxide in deep saline aquifers or depleted offshore oil and gas fields. It also considers the challenges of scaling up carbon capture and storage (CCS), including remaining research and policy questions relating to transport, storage, monitoring, sustainable business models and incentives.
Professor Andy Woods FRS, University of Cambridge, and chair of the report’s working group said: ‘Geological carbon storage will be an essential part of our long-term energy transition, both in storing emissions from hard-to-decarbonise industries, and for longer-term removal of CO2 through direct air capture. The UK’s access to potential storage sites in its offshore waters, along with a strong industrial base and regulatory and assurance environment, mean this could be an important industry.’
A UK target of delivering CCS in four industrial clusters aims to capture and store around 20-30 MtCO2 each year. Phase 1 sites for investment include the East Coast Cluster covering Teesside and Humber.
In a separate development the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), along with its partners, has used The Waterline Summit 2022, the largest decarbonisation event in the North of England held 17-19 October, to launch The Humber 2030 Vision. The Vision is said to be a blueprint for bringing the private and public sectors together to accelerate the Humber’s industrial growth and decarbonisation. Getting behind the push for growth, the region’s businesses have already pledged around £15 billion in investment to deliver facilities and skills to realise the 2030 vision.
The CBI has said that the Humber decarbonisation 3project will be the first demonstrator cluster, where it aims to showcase benefits and the future potential of the ‘UK’s excellence clusters, where businesses sharing a specialism congregate and thrive.’
CBI Humber Cluster Director Jonathan Oxley said: ‘Decarbonisation is not only about the environmental impact and protecting existing industries and jobs, but also about growing new opportunities. It can drive new inward investment and create export opportunities for experience, materials and services. Getting this right will bring big rewards for the UK, for the Humber and for the people who live and work here.’