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Twin-track approach to carbon removal to help Scotland’s strategic energy ambitions

Published by , Editor - Hydrocarbon Engineering
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Scotland’s new 'whole system' energy strategy must include a clear ambition to achieve a 'net zero carbon' economy before 2050, with a twin-track approach to reinvigorating the delivery of carbon removal technology, according to a briefing sent to the Scottish Government in December.

The working paper by the research partnership, Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS), outlines a different path to developing carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Scotland, a proven technology that can complement other low carbon measures.

The authors suggest that, by starting small and capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) across the heat, power, transport and industry sectors, this can improve the effectiveness of overall efforts to tackle Scotland’s carbon emissions. Capture technology can be applied to different types of low carbon energy systems, from biomass and biogas to district heating and combined heat and power (CHP).

The Scottish Government is also urged to take immediate steps to secure national infrastructure that can be used for large-scale, permanent CO2 storage, which will be necessary to decarbonise heavy industry. This can start from moderate-scale projects, which can be taken forward by the Scottish Government.

Prof Stuart Haszeldine, SCCS Director, said: “Scotland can start capturing and storing CO2 now through actions at local and business scale while also taking immediate action on seed projects for national CO2 storage infrastructure. Taking this twin-track approach can maintain Scotland’s international lead in affordable energy transition to a zero carbon economy.”

Specifically, the briefing’s recommendations include the need to:

  • Assess opportunities for small scale CO2 capture from biomass, biogas, fermentation, waste and small CHP energy processes together with appropriately scaled options for transport and use or permanent storage.
  • Assess opportunities for pilot trials of low carbon heating using hydrogen for the conversion of district scale gas networks, with hydrogen produced by steam methane reforming coupled with CCS.
  • Support actions leading towards development and commercialisation of larger scale CO2 storage operations, including projects involving cooperation with other states around the North Sea.

The SCCS briefing paper Scotland’s Energy Strategy: The role of carbon dioxide capture and permanent storage, by Dr Vivian Scott and Dr Peter Brownsort of SCCS, and can be downloaded here:

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