One of Europe’s leading sodium carbonate, salt and sodium bicarbonate producers, Tata Chemicals Europe, has opened the UK’s first industrial scale carbon capture and usage (CCU) plant.

The project will see 40,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) captured per year, with the purified product being used a raw material in the manufacture of sodium bicarbonate, known as Ecokarb. 

Exported to over 60 countries around the world, a large amount of the product will be used in haemodialysis to treat people suffering from kidney disease. 

Funding for the plant was provided through a £4.2m grant supplied by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Energy Innovation Programme (EIP). 

“The completion of the CCU demonstration plant enables us to reduce our carbon emissions, while securing our supply of high purity CO2, a critical raw material, helping us to grow the export of our pharmaceutical grade products across the world,” said Martin Ashcroft, Managing Director, Tata Chemicals Europe. 

The sodium bicarbonate is also used to make washing detergents, pharmaceuticals, animal feed, and is used in water purification. 

Ashcroft added, “The innovation to create this unique process is a major step forwards in the green industrial revolution and has been recognised by the award of a UK patent and patents pending in key territories across the world for the process.”

Showcasing carbon capture’s ability to attract new private capital into the UK and boost green innovation, the project is part of the Government’s efforts to make the UK a world leader in carbon capture, according to Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

TCE currently produces half the amount of CO2 per kilowatt of electricity generated compared to a typical gas fired power station.

”Today marks a key development in our low carbon transition helping to develop more sustainable manufacturing techniques that can be applied at a global level,” added Ashcroft.

BEIS funding targets key net-zero innovation opportunities to accelerate the commercialisation of low-carbon technologies, including the £1bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio and the £505m BEIS EIP.