A handful of projects hoping to become the UK’s first commercial deployment of carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) technology have all met an initial government eligibility test.
The government has thrown down the gauntlet to the private sector after committing to get at least two CCUS schemes up and running by the mid-2020s and two more by 2030 to capture at least 10 million tonnes per annum of carbon dioxide.
After publishing an initial consultation paper in February, the government subsequently invited operators to submit initial proposals for its CCUS cluster sequencing process.
It received proposals from five CCUS projects:
- DelpHYnus, operated by Neptune Energy;
- East Coast Cluster, which brings together the BP-led Net Zero Teesside and Equinor-led Zero Carbon Humber schemes and the Northern Endurance Partnership (NEP), which involves Eni, National Grid, Shell and TotalEnergies;
- Eni’s Hynet scheme located on the north-west coast of England;
- Scottish Cluster, which includes the Acorn scheme with backers Shell, ExxonMobil, Storegga, Harbour Energy, Macquarie, Ineos, Petrofac and Wood;
- V Net Zero, led by Harbour Energy.
The government late last week said that all met the initial test to demonstrate they could credibly become operational by the end of the decade.
They will now move forward to the next round of selection — called Track 1 — which is due in October.
“Having conducted the eligibility review of these submissions, all five clusters meet the eligibility criteria,” said the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
The UK government is targeting CCUS technology to help it meet its goals of becoming a net zero economy by 2050.
CCUS formed a key pillar of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s so-called 10 Point Plan laid out last year to drive a green industrial revolution in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Pierre Girard, Neptune Energy’s director of new energy, said: “We are pleased with the progress our application is making.
“Neptune and our partners are well-placed to develop the project at pace with the potential to deliver an operational CCS hub for large-scale blue hydrogen as early as 2027, helping meet the ambitions set by the UK government in its 10 Point Plan.”
Harbour Energy said it was delighted to confirm that the V Net Zero Cluster met the phase one eligibility criteria and that it awaited further announcements in October.
“Leveraging our strategic location, south of the Humber, we are confident in our ability to deliver first injection in 2027, scaling up to safely store 11 million tonnes of CO2 per year by end-2029,” it said.
“We look forward to working with other clusters and BEIS to deliver economy-wide decarbonisation by 2050.”
Andy Lane, managing director of Northern Endurance Partnership, said: “The East Coast Cluster (ECC) stands ready to remove nearly 50% of the UK’s industrial cluster CO2 emissions by decarbonising both the Humber and Teesside regions.
"Through the Northern Endurance Partnership infrastructure, if selected in October to be part of the Government’s Track-1 clusters, the ECC would become operational in 2026.
"The CCUS infrastructure will capture and store over 20 million tonnes of CO2 a year from 2030, protecting traditional industrial jobs as well as creating new ones in the green economy roles on England’s east coast.”