The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has selected a consortium led by Aberdeen-based consultancy Pale Blue Dot Energy to deliver a project which will identify the next phase of sites under the North Sea to store carbon dioxide (CO2).

The 12 month project is being delivered by the ETI and funded with up to £2.5m from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

It will aim to identify new sites in UK waters to store CO2 emissions from coal and gas power stations and heavy industry plants.

The project will make use of CO2 Stored – the UK’s CO2 storage atlas – which was created from the ETI’s UK Storage Appraisal Project and is now made publically available and being developed by The Crown Estate and the British Geological Survey. It will progress the appraisal of selected storage sites towards readiness for Final Investment Decisions, de-risking these stores for potential future storage developers.

The results will be shared with the CCS community at the end of the project.

Den Gammer, the ETI’s Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Strategy Manager, said in a statement, “Our previous projects have provided information about hundreds of potential stores under the seabed off the coast of the UK.”

“This project will initially pick a ‘Top 20’ of stores from the CO2 Stored atlas and then from these select a final five which will be analysed in much greater detail to demonstrate that they are suitable, secure and viable for storing large amounts of CO2.”

“Doing it now will help to reduce the risks to potential investors and encourage industry to develop capture projects onshore.”

Steve Murphy, Director of Pale Blue Dot Energy, added, “We are very excited about winning this work and are pleased with the exceptionally strong team we have assembled for this project. We have been working in CCS since 2007. Our Partners include CO2DeepStore, Axis Well Technology and Costain who together bring huge capability and experience to this project”.

The ETI has highlighted the importance of CCS and bioenergy to the UK’s future energy system in a report published earlier this year which said that the UK can implement an affordable transition to a low carbon energy system by 2050 but that decisions taken in the next decade will be critical.