A new study by Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (SCCS) has unveiled how a “cluster” of existing industrial facilities in Scotland could be the key for affordable carbon capture and storage (CCS) transportation.

The analysis published by the research organisation shows how reusing existing natural gas pipelines that are close to industrial activity in the European country could reduce the cost of transporting captured carbon dioxide (CO2) to offshore geological storage sites.

The investigation looked into CO2 capture quantities, capture project costs and transport connection costs to storage for 13 industry and power facilities in central Scotland.

The presence of existing pipelines, both on and offshore, available for reuse can bring direct savings to CCS projects

It discovered that Scotland’s legacy of gas pipelines could reduce the capital cost of CO2 transport from clusters of large-point sources, such as power plants, refineries and chemicals and cement manufacturers.

Specifically, the study unearthed that the principal gas pipeline, the Feeder 10, could collect and transport between 3.5-10 million tonnes per year of CO2, sourced from different Scottish industrial clusters. In addition, both the Grangemouth industrial complex and a network cover Fife and the upper Forth area could collect a combined total of 3.7 million tonnes annually.

Approximately 80% of the country’s large-point source of CO2 emissions are within 40km of the Feeder 10 pipeline. The infographic below highlights the transportation chain. 

Sccs infographic map pipeline

Source: Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage

Dr. Peter Brownsort, lead author of the study and SCCS Scientific Research Officer, commented, “Our study shows that it is possible to capture and transport significant amounts of CO2 from industrial clusters in Scotland right now, with known technology and by converting existing infrastructure. The presence of existing pipelines, both on and offshore, available for reuse can bring direct savings to CCS projects.”

“This unique advantage, combined with the huge CO2 storage potential in the Central North Sea, makes a strong case for initiating a CO2 capture cluster and transport network in Scotland, which could lead to commercialisation of a new offshore CO2 storage industry serving the UK and Europe.”

SCCS claims that this case study could have a wider significance for the UK and Europe, asserting that using the existing Scottish pipeline system could provide around half of the CO2 capture deemed necessary to develop a roll out of a developing UK CCS industry by 2035.