Government competition aims to fast-track CCS development

Commercial-scale UK carbon capture and storage (CCS) has moved a step closer with the news that four projects have been shortlisted for the next phase of a £1bn government competition.

The UK government plans to use the scheme to fast-track the development of CCS technology, which could allow the safe removal and storage of harmful carbon emissions from coal and gas plants.

The successful projects — chosen from eight bids — are now being invited to take part in a period of intensive commercial negotiations with the government before decisions on which projects to support further are taken in the new year.

The four short-listed bids are:

  • Captain Clean Energy: a proposal for a new 570MW, fully abated coal integrated gasification combined cycle (pre-combustion) project in Grangemouth, Scotland, with storage in offshore depleted gas fields, led by Summit Power, involving Petrofac (CO2 Deepstore), National Grid and Siemens.
  • Peterhead: a 340MW post-combustion capture retrofitted to part of an existing 1,180MW combined cycle gas turbine power station at Peterhead, Scotland, led by Shell and SSE.
  • Teesside Low Carbon: a pre-combustion coal gasification project (linked to c330MWe net power generating capacity fuelled by syngas with 90 per cent of CO2 abated) on Teesside, north-east England with storage in depleted oil field and saline aquifer, run by a consortium led by Progressive Energy and involving GDF SUEZ, Premier Oil, and BOC.
  • White Rose: an oxyfuel capture project at a proposed new 304MW fully abated supercritical coal-fired power station on the Drax site in North Yorkshire, led by Alstom and involving Drax, BOC and National Grid.

‘The projects we have chosen to take forward have all shown that they have the potential to kick-start the creation of a new CCS industry in the UK,’ said energy secretary, Ed Davey.

The government expects that the projects will undertake engineering studies before final decisions on levels of government support are made next year.

Davey added that the government will also support the projects’ applications to the European Commisson’s NER300 CCS competition. The European Commission is expected to make a final decision on whether to support a UK CCS project at the end of the year.