Comment: Supply chain must help mobilise UK CCS Sector

UKRI Innovation Lead Dr William Joyce calls for the UK to become a global supply chain hub for the growing carbon capture and storage (CCS) industry and avoid becoming reliant on overseas markets.

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The UK has ambitious plans for its domestic carbon capture and storage (CCS) market with wide-scale deployment planned for four industrial clusters by 2030, including two by the mid-2020s, capturing and storing 20-30MtCO2 each year. There is widespread recognition that CCS is an essential element of our national net zero journey and we must embrace this new industry and ensure it thrives.


To enable these ambitions, it will be essential to address underdeveloped areas. In particular, there are concerns across industry and government that the UK supply chain capability and readiness may become a limiting factor in enabling the wide-scale roll-out of CCS.

There are abundant opportunities for UK businesses to support and enable this growing industry through the development of products, components, devices, workforce and services. However, in our drive to deploy CCS at scale, these opportunities might become overlooked and instead, overseas supply chain markets may become a preferred option where the content doesn’t yet satisfactorily exist in the UK.

Overseas markets are developing at pace this decade and there is a growing realisation that the UK supply chain just isn’t ready to service the demand of wide-scale UK deployment in four clusters by 2030. If our domestic CCS networks become saturated by products and services from abroad, we simply won’t realise the full potential this developing industry has to offer. 

Realising UK potential

To capitalise on the full benefits that CCS will bring to the UK, we must maximise our opportunities right across the carbon value chain establishing a UK base for the supply chain to service our developing major infrastructure projects. It is vitally important that UK content is spread right across our CCS networks. 

With no statutory obligation for UK content (currently there is an advisory target of 50 per cent), the market must move to seek and capture opportunities to ensure the UK realises the full potential of the carbon value chain. Supply chain strategy has developed over the last two years and impactful publications are available from the government, the Carbon Capture Storage Association and industry. Thinking is developing on strategy, and maximising UK content in CCS networks as well as presenting opportunities for UK goods and services. 

Accelerating supply chain innovation

Supply chain innovation will enable the UK to perform better than international competitors and result in increased network efficiency and cost savings. Driving investment into industrial clusters will help stimulate local economies and create opportunities for highly skilled jobs as well as protect existing jobs.

UKRI’s Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge programme has provided £171 million public grant investment for nine CCS projects with private match funding of around £0.5 billion. This programme is developing first-of-a-kind infrastructure deployment plans which will enable the wide scale roll-out of CCS and low carbon hydrogen across UK industrial clusters.

These projects are currently actively engaging with suppliers and addressing procurements for long lead time items as well as seeking opportunities to attract a new dynamic and engaged workforce who can deliver these projects for the UK as we develop world-leading capability in CCS. 

Global hub for CCS

Investment into our industrial regions is essential to enable a thriving UK supply chain. This will allow the UK to capitalise on expansion opportunities for the export of products and services around the world and prevent our CCS industries from becoming over-reliant on overseas markets.

Furthermore, a resilient and thriving supply chain for a developing CCS industry will enable the UK to develop as a global hub exporting UK goods and services as the world moves towards net zero by 2050. In this way, we can unlock the enormous potential of industrial decarbonisation and truly realise the full economic benefits CCS will offer the UK. 

Dr William Joyce is UKRI Innovation Lead