Scotland is set to build Europe’s first large scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility, according to a leading academic.
The CO2 collected from power stations would be pumped through existing pipelines into reservoirs beneath the North Sea, preventing it from entering the atmosphere.
The scheme was proposed by Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (SCCS), the UK’s largest CCS research group, which is calling for the UK government to invest in the development.
Professor Stuart Haszeldine of Edinburgh University, and director of SCCS, said the technology was advanced enough to pump CO2 down pipelines that already exist at the St Fergus gas terminal in Aberdeenshire.
From here, it would be pumped into rock formations from existing pipelines that are no longer in use and awaiting decommissioning.
Professor Haszeldine believes the project is ready to begin, but needs urgent funding to prevent costs rising.
Will CO2 storage work? YES, dont believe the naysayers. And #CCS ready to start on industry in Scotland. Less CO2 quicker than electric cars JUST NEED MONEY https://t.co/H0OiG3E36y https://t.co/r3eRQNSOUI
— Stuart Haszeldine (@Haszeldine) December 1, 2017
Haszeldine said: “We risk losing the next big industry of the North Sea,” he added: “If we wait the Norwegians will beat us to it and Europe will be paying them to store its CO2.”
According to the world’s first professor of CCS, approximately 2 million tonnes of CO2 could be captured and injected into the undersea rock formations by 2022.
The scheme would cost £200 million using existing equipment, but once these are decommissioned, it would cost five times as much to rebuild from scratch and could cost even more to reduce CO2 levels if the UK does not act quickly.
A recent University College London (UCL) report found that CCS is vital to the achievability of the Paris Agreement and urged governments from around the world to support CCS technology or risk the overall cost of decarbonisation soaring.