SCOTTISH CARBON CAPTURE AND STORAGE (SCCS) has published a new report laying out plans for a CCS hub in Scotland to store CO2 below the Central North Sea.
The organisation, a partnership of the British Geological Survey, Heriot-Watt University, University of Aberdeen, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Strathclyde, says that the execution of the proposal would serve to “re-energise the deployment of CCS in the UK and Europe”, which has stalled in recent months due to funding and investment problems. Most recently, the UK government cancelled its £1bn CCS funding competition.
The report envisages an industrial and power CCS cluster in Central Scotland which would use existing pipelines and offshore infrastructure to transport CO2, and allow the project to be implemented quickly and at a relatively low cost. The hub would start small and grow incrementally as necessary. The CO2 could be used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR), to add value. Existing pipelines could be repurposed and existing production platforms converted to CO2 injection sites as the fields beneath them are depleted.
The proposed location is in the area of the Firth of Forth, in Grangemouth, where around 80% of Scotland’s industrial point source emissions are located. This area also has the benefit of close proximity to the Feeder 10 gas pipeline which links to the St Fergus gas terminal. Previous studies have shown that it could be easily converted for CO2 use. The Grangemouth refinery at the site could use its existing infrastructure alongside a new 10 km pipeline to connect to Feeder 10. Other emitters in the area could then also connect into the pipeline. Around half of Scotland’s industrial emissions could be stored in this way.
There are two potential anchor projects for a Scottish CCS hub, either Shell’s Peterhead CCS project, which aims to capture 1m t/y of CO2 from a gas-fired power station and store it in the Goldeneye depleted gas field, and the Caledonia Clean Energy Project. The coal gasification power station with CCS is being developed by US company Summit Power.
The plans for carbon capture, however, range beyond Scotland, to the rest of the UK and even to Europe. Where there are existing pipelines, these could be used to transport CO2 to Grangemouth, however, the SCCS report suggests that CO2 could instead be liquefied and shipped from further afield. Ports in the south of England, Rotterdam, Le Havre, Antwerp and Hamburg could all then ship CO2 to import terminals near the Scottish hub, suggested locations for which include the Firth of Forth, Peterhead and Teesport. The use of shipping would remove the need for a large initial outlay to construct new pipelines and allow for incremental increases in capacity as necessary.
“The beauty of this proposal is its flexibility and adaptability. From a small start capturing emissions in Scotland with transport and storage based on existing assets, the system can be progressively expanded to receive CO2 from England and Europe using shipping, instead of large expensive pipes. By the early 2020s this can achieve a key milestone in the deployment of CCS – the establishment of commercial storage operations in the North Sea – with a whole new industry following from that,” says SCCS director Stuart Haszeldine.
He added that while discussions for a potential CCS industry are ongoing in the UK, the UK government and the Oil & Gas Authority should not decommission any pipelines, boreholes or offshore facilities which may be useful.
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