CARBON capture and storage (CCS) research in the UK was given a boost this week with the announcement of £7.6m (US$9.5) of funding to support collaborative work until 2022.
The award, made available through the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), includes £6.1m to allow the work of the UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre (UKCCSRC) to continue for a further five years. A further £1.5m is to be made available through open calls to support emerging research topics.
Jon Gibbins, UKCCSRC director, said: “The Centre's new core research programme will include work on reducing CO2 capture costs, the use of biomass with CCS to give 'negative emissions’, combined hydrogen and power production with CCS, optimising geological CO2 storage capacity and wide-ranging assessments of the role of CCS in delivering wealth for the UK in the transition to a net zero greenhouse gas emission world.
“The long-term benefits will include better planning for future UK energy and industry infrastructure, improved techniques for capitalising on the UK's world-leading CO2 storage resources and trained experts to support deployment and future development of CCS.”
The UKCCSRC’s core activities are delivered by six of the UK’s leading CCS institutions, including the University of Cambridge, the University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London and the University of Sheffield. In its previous five-year programme, it funded 27 research projects and helped to establish the Pilot-Scale Advanced CO2-Capture Technology (PACT) facilities, which are large scale, open-access resources for experimental work. There are now 1,000 members affiliated with the centre, which has created links between academic members, CCS industry and policymakers. Internationally, it has supported international CCS collaboration in Australia, Canada, China, the Netherlands, Norway and the US.
Stuart Haszeldine, UKCCSRC deputy director for storage, said: “This award is a testament to our success. You don’t automatically get re-funded, so we are very pleased to have been judged on our past success to be worthwhile for continued funding in the future.
“The centre has meant that our universities and research institutes can speak very much with one voice, to portray the real value and quality of UK research and innovation both nationally and internationally. We are terrific at inventing and analysing this type of problem and at inventing the fundamental solutions – that’s what this centre is doing and will continue to do.”
It’s also hoped that the new funding will provide support to early career researchers (ECR) to help drive forward innovation and create a skilled workforce. Over 250 ECRs are currently engaged with the centre, which helps to develop and enhance postgraduate training and skills.
Gibbins added: “The UKCCSRC ECR programme will be supported by making opportunities in the Centre of Doctoral Training (CDT) in CCS and Cleaner Fossil Energy, available to PhD students at other institutions. The new UKCCSRC funding for ECRs will support additional places at CDT annual winter schools, ECR career pathways events, funds for travel grants and other development opportunities and an ECR portal on the UKCCSRC website.”
Following the award, a spokesperson for the UK EPSRC said: “The previous Centre has taken great strides over the last few years. It has done well strengthening relationships within the carbon capture and storage community, engaging with industrial stakeholders and policy makers, and has pursued high quality, novel research within the research area.”
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