The UK Government's Department for Energy and Climate Change has launched £2.5 million funding to encourage development of CO2 storage in the North Sea.
The cash will help companies identify sites under the sea to store the CO2 emissions from coal and gas power stations, as well as heavy industry, such as steel and cement factories.
The money, from DECC’s Innovation Fund, will be delivered by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), which is due to issue a call for proposals by the end of December.
In 2013, two projects were announced as preferred bidders for a £1 billion Carbon Capture and Storage Commercialization Program Competition - the Peter Project, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and the White Rose Project in Yorkshire, England. Both would see CO2 from power stations (gas in Scotland and coal in Yorkshire) stored in depleted oil fields. The government is due to make a final investment decision on the construction of up to two projects in early 2015.
An initial competition, announced in 2007, collapsed when the government failed to reach a financing deal with the one remaining finalist, Longannet power station.
Companies will have until 5 February 2015 to submit proposals for the latest funding, announced 17 December. DECC hopes contracts will be awarded and work started by spring 2015.
"It is hoped that the Government funding will catalyze further funding from other partners and industry," DECC said in a statement. "Developing a storage site from scratch can take 6-9 years – therefore it is important this work is started now to ensure sites will be ready and available when they are needed.
"The UK is at the forefront of developing carbon capture and storage (CCS), with excellent potential for storage in the North and Irish Seas, and the expertise in operating offshore to make it a reality. Britain is one of the world leaders in the technology and as carbon capture and storage is commercialized, we will be in a strong position to export this knowledge to a decarbonizing global economy."
The UK supply chain is already benefiting from the UK’s commitment to CCS development as contracts under a £100 million planning and engineering phase of the CCS Commercialization Program have gone to UK-based companies. Today, National Grid has announced the award of a subcontract to ADTI (Applied Drilling Technology International) which will support its CO2 storage work in the North Sea as part of the White Rose Front End Engineering and Design Study (FEED).