UK regulator publishes carbon capture guidance

Article by Adam Duckett

THE UK Environment Agency has published guidance on the best available techniques (BAT) for post-combustion CO2 capture.

The guidance is for amine-based technologies to capture CO2 from power plants and from combined heat and power plants fuelled by natural gas and biomass. It includes guidance on solvent selection, process and operational considerations, and process and emissions monitoring. The guidance is not a regulatory requirement but instead identifies best practice for preventing or minimising emissions and impacts on the environment. It follows the UK Government’s ambition to capture 10m t/y of CO2 by 2030, as outlined in its “ten-point plan in November. This includes a target to create four industrial carbon capture clusters by 2030.

The Environment Agency’s guidance covers new plants and retrofits, and is for operators designing plants and preparing their application for an environmental permit and regulatory staff when setting conditions in environmental permits. The guidance has been developed with stakeholders including the Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA) and the UK CCS Research Centre.

Lee Rawlinson, Director of Regulated Industry at the Environment Agency, said: “As an environmental regulator, our role is to ensure that these new technologies, including carbon capture, are conducted in a way that protects people and the environment. Our best available technique guidance will go a long way towards achieving that.”

The guidance was published in July. Luke Warren, who has since stepped down as CEO of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA) to take on a new role in the sector, said: “This review is an important early step that provides essential net zero CCS facilities with permitting guidance and support to allow them to transition through the permitting phase at the rate required to reach the UK Government’s cluster ambition.

“The CCSA also recognises that further work will need to be done to ensure the full breadth of CCS technologies are recognised by relevant BAT guidance, and we are disposed to provide continued support to this process.”

The guidance is available to read here.

Article by Adam Duckett

Editor, The Chemical Engineer

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