The UK’s largest carbon capture project to date, removing 40,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere each year, could be up and running by as soon as 2021 thanks to government backing.

Nine companies have secured £26m ($33m) of government funding, in addition to industry backing, to advance the rollout of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) in the UK - a crucial step towards the UK’s net zero emissions and the end of the UK’s contribution to global warming.

Tata Chemical Europe’s plant in Winnington, Cheshire is the UK’s only manufacturer of soda ash and sodium bicarbonate and has been awarded £4.2m ($5.3m) towards the construction of a facility to capture and utilise 40,000 tonnes of CO2 a year – the equivalent of 22,000 cars.

When fully operational in 2021 it will be the largest carbon capture plant in the UK, removing 100 times more CO2 from the atmosphere than the country’s current largest facility.

“Carbon capture, usage and storage has an essential role to play in our efforts to tackle climate change, helping us to meet our ambition to end our contribution to global warming entirely by 2050,” said Chris Skidmore, Energy and Clean Growth Minister.

“If we are to become a net zero emissions economy and end our contribution towards global warming, then innovative schemes like Tata Chemicals’ will be essential.”

“Their plans demonstrate the enormous potential that CCUS has, reducing our emissions and helping companies to innovate and export products all around the world.”

“The funding the government is awarding today puts the UK at the forefront of the rollout of this technology and demonstrates how our Clean Growth Strategy is delivering for all parts of the country.”

Eight more projects are being awarded between £170,000 and £7m as part of two programmes – the £20m ($25.4m) Carbon Capture and Utilisation programme (CCUD) and the £24m ($30.5m) Call for CCUS Innovation programme.

£5m boost to scale up groundbreaking pilot

Speaking about the funding boost, Dr. Luke Warren, Chief Executive of the Carbon Capture & Storage Association (CCSA), said, ”This is fantastic news for the development of carbon capture usage and storage in the UK.”

”This £26m ($33m) of funding is critical first step to ensuring the first CCUS projects are up and running by the mid-2020s in a range of clusters across the country, and will help the government meet its ambition to deploy the technology at scale in the 2030s.”

“If the UK is serious about achieving net zero emissions by 2050, this is just the sort of action that is needed now.”

The full list of projects which have secured funding is as follows:

Carbon Capture, Usage and Demonstration (CCUD)

The CCUD programme is designed to encourage industrial sites to capture up to 70,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, which could then be used commercially in industrial applications.

£20m ($25.4m) has been made available, of which nearly £5m ($6.4m) is being awarded today.

It is intended to demonstrate how such projects can be replicated in the UK and Europe to deploy a pipeline of CCU projects for wide-scale deployment in the 2030s.

  • Drax – Fuel Cell Biogenic Carbon Capture Demonstration
    £500,000 ($635,103) towards a £1m ($1.3m) project
  • Origen Power – Oxy-Fuelled Flash Calciner Project
    £249,000 ($316,281) towards a £356,000 ($452,193) project
  • Tata Chemicals Europe – Carbon Capture and Utilisation Demonstration
    £4.2m ($5.3m) towards a £17m ($21.6m) project

Call for CCUS Innovation

In July 2018 a £15m ($19m) Call for CCUS innovation was announced to offer grant funding to projects which would reduce the cost or accelerate the rollout of CCUS in the UK and internationally.

Following a review in January 2019 the amount of funding being made available was increased to £24m ($30.5m).

  • C-Capture – Negative CO2 emissions from BECCS
    £4.9m ($6.2m) towards an £11.1m ($14.1m) project
  • Pale Blue Dot Energy – Acorn storage site
    £4.8m ($6.1m) towards an £8.1m ($10.3m) project
  • TiGRE Technologies Limited - Integration of CCUS technology to a 200MW OCGT TiGRE Project located in the North Sea
    £163,909 ($208,198) towards a £243,000 ($308,660) project
  • Translational Energy Research Centre (PACT-2) - Led by University of Sheffield / Pilot-Scale Advanced Capture Technology (PACT)
    £7m ($8.9m) towards a £21m ($26.7m) project
  • Progressive Energy – HyNet Industrial CCS
    £494,626 ($628,276) towards a £765,500 ($972,342) project
  • OGCI Climate Investments – Clean Gas Project
    £3.8m ($4.8m) towards an £18m ($22.9m) project