An industrial carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in North East Scotland has been awarded millions of pounds of European funding to conduct feasibility studies over the next 18 months.
The Acorn project will capture emissions from the St Fergus gas terminal near Peterhead before transporting and storing them beneath the North Sea using redundant oil and gas infrastructure.
The exact amount of the grant, which was awarded through the Advancing CCS Technologies round of the EU’s ERA-NET programme, is yet to be confirmed.
The studies will be undertaken by a consortium made of project developer CO2DeepStore, consultancy firm Pale Blue Dot Energy, research group Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage, Norwegian climate change foundation Bellona, Liverpool University and Radboud University in the Netherlands.
Pale Blue Dot Energy, an affiliate of CO2DeepStore, will be the lead partner for the studies.
CO2DeepStore finance director Steve Murphy said: “This announcement will enable us to progress Acorn over the next 18 months and ensure widespread awareness of the many benefits the project provides.
“We are delighted to have received support from so many organisations and governments, including [the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy] and the Scottish government.”
The proposed project will capture and store CO2 separated out from the North Sea gas feeding into the St Fergus terminal.
CO2DeepStore hopes that, with its coastal location, existing infrastructure and proximity to “some of the best CO2 storage sites in Europe”, the facility will eventually become hub for CCS – taking CO2 by piped in from Central Scotland and European imports shipped in via Peterhead Harbour.
Since its foundation in 2007, CO2DeepStore has been involved in a number of CCS projects in the UK, including investing as equity partners with Shell in the Goldeneye CO2 storage project and with Summit Power in the Caledonia Clean Energy Project.
The developer said Acorn has been in the works for some time, but as with other small-scale industrial projects its progress has been inhibited by the UK’s focus on clean power schemes.
Speaking at an event in February, senior figures from within the CCS sector said small-scale industrial pilots are the way forward for the technology in the UK following the government’s cancellation of a commercialisation competition in late 2015.
Northern Gas Networks’ head of hydrogen technologies recently told Utility Week that the creation of a hydrogen gas grid would “fundamentally change” the economics of CCS.