A public-owned body is best placed to help carbon capture and storage (CCS) achieve lift off, according to a report commissioned by the government.
The study, which was carried out by consultancy Pale Blue Dot, was presented the BEIS (business, energy and industrial strategy) department’s Council on Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage at its inaugural meeting, which was chaired by energy and climate change minister Claire Perry.
The report, entitled ‘CO2 Transportation and Storage Business Models: Summary Report’, examines potential private and public business models for developing the infrastructure required to transport and store CO2 once it has been trapped through the CCS process.
According to the consultancy’s assessment, the lack of an existing revenue model or commercial incentives for transporting and storing the greenhouse gas is one of the biggest challenges to the roll out of CCS technology.
It says: “Private entities would not be able to develop transport and storage infrastructure without a defined commercial model.
“In the absence of a defined commercial model a public entity would be better able to initiate and progress transport and storage CO2.”
And Pale Blue Dot says a public entity would be better equipped to shoulder liabilities, such those posed by leakages of CO2 for which no insurance currently exists.
It suggests that a state-backed body would be better able to cope with these risks, such as those surrounding uncertain supplies of CO2 and undertaking the first CCS project.
The consultancy judges that private companies would be less willing than the public sector to take on the risks and liabilities surrounding the development of CCS infrastructure.
BEIS is setting up a task force to draw up by the end of this year a roadmap for the cost effective and large scale deployment by the 2030s. The report will inform the task force’s work.
Responding to the report, Dr Luke Warren, chief executive of the Carbon Capture Storage Association (CCSA), said: “This report comes at an important time, as the CCUS Cost Challenge Taskforce is due to hold its first meeting imminently. There is no doubt that we need an intelligent conversation between industry and government on the options for effective and urgent development of CCS transport and storage infrastructure.
“This infrastructure holds the key to creating CCS clusters in key UK regions, which will deliver the lowest cost route to decarbonising UK industry, heat and power.
“The CCSA looks forward to contributing to the Cost Challenge Taskforce over the next six months, and exploring further the options set out in today’s report”.