The UK is to lead an international challenge with Saudi Arabia and Mexico to remove carbon from emissions, announced the UK’s Energy Minister Claire Perry.
It will be a unique opportunity to enable an up and coming technology to scale up by working together with other countries.
It is one of seven Mission Innovation challenges announced in 2015 at COP21 with the UK setting out £21.5m ($28.7m) of funding for innovative new Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) technologies.
The aim of the funding is to invest in innovation that could reduce the cost of the technology by supporting its development so that CCUS can become commercially viable at scale.
CCUS is where carbon from power stations or industry is captured then either used for industrial applications or transported to be stored safely underground, reducing pollution from the air we breathe.
While there are currently 22 plants in operation or construction, the UK has the opportunity to become a world leader in this field.
There is a global consensus that carbon capture will be critical in meeting the aims of the Paris Agreement and supporting clean growth. This technology can capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from industry or power generation as well as support low carbon hydrogen (H2) production.
“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 - a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy,” Perry explained.
UK companies are already involved in some of the most innovative CCUS projects internationally, and just this week a ground-breaking negative emissions bio-energy project at Drax Power Station in Yorkshire was launched.
The Clean Growth Strategy sets out the new Government approach to CCUS in the UK, highlighting the important role of innovation in supporting cost reduction. Government has committed to spend up to £162 million to improve CCUS and industrial energy efficiency.
As well as the potential to help us reduce our emissions in industries through the manufacture of concrete, chemicals, steel, there are also opportunities to maximise economic opportunities for the UK through new technologies and the supply chain.
Government is working with industry to adopt CCUS in the UK by reducing its costs and capturing the export opportunities, and a CCUS Cost Challenge Taskforce will report to government in July this year. Energy Minister Claire Perry will host an international CCUS summit with the International Energy Agency, in Edinburgh later this year.
The UK’s modern Industrial Strategy is a long-term plan to build a Britain fit for the future through a stronger, fairer economy. Through this we will help businesses to create better, higher-paying jobs - setting a path for Britain to lead in the high-tech, highly-skilled industries of the future.
As part of this, the modern Industrial Strategy sets out 4 Grand Challenges, including Clean Growth - Ensuring the UK is at the forefront of innovation and maximising the advantages for UK industry in the global shift to clean growth.