UK to lead international coalition on carbon capture projects

The UK will head an ‘international challenge’ with Saudi Arabia and Mexico to remove carbon from emissions and contribute £21.5 million to the scheme. The challenge is part of the ‘Mission Innovation’ initiative to develop clean energy technology.

The aim of the funding is to accelerate the commercial viability of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) by investing in technological innovation. According to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which is handling the UK’s participation, there are already 22 CCUS facilities in operation or under construction in the UK.

Innovating in carbon capture is one of seven challenges outlined by the Mission Innovation organisation, which is made up of 22 countries from around the world. These challenges are entered into voluntarily, in this case by the UK, Saudi Arabia and Mexico.

Mission Innovation's goal  is to ‘dramatically accelerate global clean energy innovation’ and participating countries commit to doubling their energy research and development investment over five years. Member governments also encourage greater private sector investment in clean technology.

The organisation was founded at the Paris climate change summit in 2015.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Claire Perry said in a statement announcing the scheme: “My ambition is for the UK to become a global technology leader in carbon capture, working with international partners to reduce its costs. As the UK has led the debate globally on tackling climate change and pioneering clean growth, we are leading this global challenge with an initial £21.5 million investment in CCUS innovation”.

Drax, a major UK energy supplier, announced on 21 May that it is piloting ‘Europe’s first’ bioenergy carbon capture storage (BECCS) unit at its North Yorkshire power station. Drax says the trial could see its biomass power become carbon negative.

In a separate programme, BEIS is offering up to £5 million for ‘innovation projects that lead to significant reduction in the cost of capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide’.

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