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Carbon Capture and Storage: A big winner for Scotland

The Scottish Centre for Carbon Storage (SCCS) launched their new report titled ‘Progressing Scotland’s CO2 storage opportunities’ on the 14th of March, at a ceremony attended by Scottish Energy Minister, Jim Mather MSP.

The study outlined the significance of Scotland's offshore CO2 storage capacity, showing that sandstone rock formations beneath the Moray Firth are capable of storing decades of CO2 output from Scotland’s power stations. Furthermore, the CCS industry could be worth over £10 billion a year in the UK by 2025, providing 13,000 jobs in Scotland by 2020.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a rapidly growing industry which offers a rapid reduction in CO2 emissions from one of the dirtiest sources: fossil fuel generated energy. CCS refers to a technology chain whereby large quantities of CO2 are stripped out of industrial exhaust gasses. The ‘captured’ CO2 is then compressed into its dense form, transported and injected into a rock formation deep underground where it is stored for many thousands of years.  Without CCS the CO2 would otherwise be released into the atmosphere, so CCS can significantly reduce global CO2 emissions while the transition onto cleaner energy and industrial methods are adopted.

CCS is already operating in trials around the world, with several megatons of CO2 per year being captured and stored from power plants or natural gas cleanup.  CCS technologies are being up-scaled for commercial deployment, but are challenged by lack of financial, legislative and public support. A UK competition and a much larger EU competition have been established to assist the commercialisation of CCS projects. The findings from the ‘Progressing Scotland’s CO2 storage opportunities’ report will put Scotland in a strong position to secure future EU funding for more detailed assessment of CO2 storage, and encourage support from UK government and industry.

The report was led by a consortium of Scottish Government, industry and researchers at the SCCS, a research centre based at the University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt and the British Geological Survey. To download the report, go to: <http://www.sccs.org.uk/progress-to-co2-storage-scotland/ProgressingScotlandCO2Opps.pdf>. The SCCS website is: <www.sccs.org.uk>.

Jen Roberts

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