THE IChemE Energy Centre has welcomed the UK’s Clean Growth Strategy and investment in carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS), but says more could be done to enhance its impact.
Specifically, the centre awaits the announcement of energy efficiency schemes, an effective market mechanism for rapid deployment of CCUS, and the impact of Brexit on the EU Trading Scheme.
Last month the UK government released its long-awaited Clean Growth Strategy (CGS), which outlined a raft of plans for low-carbon investment, setting out how £2.5bn (US$3.3bn) will be spent to support green innovation through to 2021.
In it, a series of investments was pledged to improve efficiency in industry and businesses, which are responsible for 25% of UK emissions. This includes spending up to £100m on CCUS to lower costs and support technology development, after a 2012 £1bn demonstration programme was scrapped in 2015.
IChemE Energy Centre chair, Stefaan Simons, said that IChemE welcomes the CGS and funding, but also stressed that focus must be maintained, and complacency is not an option. He said: “The report alludes to the establishment of energy efficiency schemes and we await the details of these.”
He added that the energy centre will soon publish a green paper on CCUS, stating that CCS is technology-ready, whilst utilisation of CO2 needs further development to impact beyond niche products.
“However, what is also needed is an effective market mechanism if rapid deployment is to be realised,” Simons said. “It is, therefore, disappointing that the CGS does not address this issue, nor the future of the EU Trading Scheme and the regulation that accompanies it, which will clearly be impacted by Brexit.”
The launch of the CGS also coincided with the publication of joint industrial decarbonisation and energy efficiency action plans. These plans aim to outline a move to reducing reliance on fossil fuels for electricity and heating across seven of the most energy intensive industrial sectors – cement, ceramics, chemicals, food and drink, oil and refining and pulp and paper.
Simons said that there is scope for significant process efficiency, energy savings and emissions reductions to be made in the chemicals sector. He said: “Much has already been done, but more can be achieved now with this backing from the UK government.
“Chemical engineers have the expertise to play a key role here. Their unique systems-approach to integrated solutions can deliver results that benefit the industry and the communities they serve,” he added.
Simons noted that the continued uncertainty over Brexit will complicate matters for UK industry, and the government must address this. He said: “The overall report lacks some tangible targets and mechanisms for delivery. IChemE looks forward to seeing the details of these when they are published.”
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