Oil and gas giant Shell is set to provide key carbon capture technology to help decarbonise an industrial cluster in the UK’s Humber region.

The Humber Zero scheme has appointed Shell Catalysts & Technologies to provide the technology to capture carbon dioxide emissions from the VPI Immingham combined heat-and-power (CHP) station.

The 1.24-gigawatt VPI Immingham CHP station provides power and heat for the Phillips 66 Humber Refinery and the Prax Lindsey oil refinery, which combined represent about 25% of the UK’s total oil refining capacity.

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Shell confirmed it would be providing its Cansolv CO2 post-combustion carbon capture technology for the project, which will be retrofitted to the power station stacks that emit carbon-rich flue gas.

Shell claims its technology will capture up to 95% of the CO2 in the gas, preventing “millions of tonnes” of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere.

The captured emissions will be transported via pipeline either to CO2 storage fields in the North Sea, or exported to international markets from the port of Immingham.

French engineering player Technip Energies, which is Shell’s alliance partner for Cansolv CO2 technology, will support the design of the capture unit and the pilot plant for the VPI Immingham project.

Tested technology

President of Shell Catalysts & Technologies, Andy Gosse, noted that the company’s Cansolv CO2 capture technology was already well tested, with the technology in use since 2013, including in a large-scale, commercial, low-pressure application at SaskPower in Canada, where it is designed to capture up to 1 million tonnes per annum of CO2.

“This project with VPI Immingham will be a flagship project in the Humber and UK journey to net zero and will be an important front-runner for the world of carbon capture and storage,” he added.

“A pilot campaign run at the VPI plant, conducted with our partner Technip, will be a key next step to demonstrate the strength of Cansolv technology in capturing CO2 in natural gas-fired power generation.”

Vital to UK's net zero goals

The Humber region is the UK’s largest industrial cluster, by emissions, and its decarbonisation by 2040 is seen as vital for the UK to meet its target of net zero emissions by 2050.

“Industrial-scale carbon capture and storage will be essential if the UK is to achieve its net-zero targets,” said VPI project director for Humber Zero, Jonathan Briggs.

“Humber Zero is a pioneering project that will capture up to 8 million tonnes [per annum] of carbon from critical industry, making a significant contribution to the national carbon reduction goal.”

Humber Zero incorporates a cluster of energy-intensive industries that lie one kilometre from the coastline on the south bank of the River Humber.

In addition to carbon capture and storage, Humber Zero will also involve the production of both green and blue hydrogen to help decarbonise the existing industries.

In addition to decarbonising industry, Zero Humber will provide hydrogen power for over 1 million homes.

It also sits along a key pipeline route identified by National Grid to connect and decarbonise other key industry in the southern Humber and is expected to help contribute to the decarbonisation of the wider region.

In addition to VPI Immingham, Humber zero also involves global energy and commodities company Vitol and US multinational energy company Phillips 66.

UK Research & Innovation, through the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge, is investing £12.5 million ($16.9 million) of government funding in the project, with that figure being matched by VPI Immingham and Phillips 66.

(This article has been amended from the original which incorrectly stated the project was part of the Zero Carbon Humber project).