The government is to invest more than £6m in a £20m project to install CO2 capture technology at Scottish and Southern Energy’s (SSE) Ferrybridge power station in Yorkshire.

SSE is partnering with Vattenfall of Sweden and Doosan Babcock, a UK-based developer and supplier of carbon-capture technologies, to develop the new facility.

In addition, three UK universities — Edinburgh, Nottingham and Leeds — will take part in the project, which is being co-funded by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Northern Way partnership.

Following a one-year construction and commissioning phase, a two-year research and test programme starting in the first quarter of 2011 will optimise the CO2 post-combustion amine-scrubbing pilot plant system, which will be installed at the Ferrybridge power station to process a slipstream of the flue gases from burning UK and imported coals and biomass.

Explaining the purpose of the TSB’s support, its chief executive, Iain Gray, said: ’We hope to put the UK in a position to take advantage of the growing global market for CO2 capture and storage technology. If the UK is to lead in the supply of such technology, it needs to be developed, installed and demonstrated here on a significant scale. This project provides a vital link between research and commercialisation for a technology that can be both installed at new coal and gas power plants and retrofitted to existing plants.’

Brian Smith, director of thermal development at SSE, said: ’The scale of the project, with the equivalent 5MW of coal-fired power generating capacity producing 100 tonnes of CO2 per day, bridges the gap between the various laboratory-scale trials that are underway and the larger-scale projects envisaged by the UK government.’

The project was announced on the same day that Ed Miliband, the energy and climate change secretary, published the government’s Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Industrial Strategy. This sets out how the UK can make the most from its knowledge and skills in engineering, geology and the subsea sector to become a centre for carbon capture and storage.