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    UK funds green energy projects


The government is following through on its decarbonisation plan, announced last year.

by: William Powell

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UK funds green energy projects

The UK government is awarding £166.5mn ($235mn) cash for projects including carbon capture, greenhouse gas removal and hydrogen, following last year's Ten-Point Plan announced by prime minister Boris Johnson. Another part of the plan is the formation of a Net Zero Expert Group: chaired by Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, it will hold its inaugural meeting May 26.

Energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: "This significant investment will help the UK meet its ambitious climate commitments, including reaching net zero emissions by 2050 and the world’s most ambitious climate target of reducing UK emissions by 78% by 2035 compared with 1990 levels."

It includes £60mn to support the development of low-carbon hydrogen from water; £37.5mn to fund greenhouse gas removal methods going to 24 projects receiving up to £250,000 each (see below); and a further five projects will each receive up to £4.5mn to investigate the viability of adopting greenhouse gas removal methods at scale. Another £20mn will support carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) technologies so they can be deployed at scale by 2030. 

Decarbonising energy intensive industries will be tackled by a £20-mn research centre at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh and a £16.5mn Industrial Energy Transformation Fund will develop new technologies and processes that help energy-intensive sectors cut their emissions, while reducing their energy bills.  

Storegga wins direct air capture funding

Among the winners was Storegga, owner of Pale Blue Dot (PBD), the founder of the Acorn CCS project. PBD has received a £249,000 grant for a direct air capture (DAC) project that would capture CO2 directly from the atmosphere. In partnership with DAC provider Carbon Engineering (CE), Storegga's Dreamcatcher Project is a key next step towards the partners' ambitions to deploy UK's first large-scale DAC with storage (DACS) facility. UK engineering firm Petrofac said it would undertake all the project management and engineering for the project.

"These types of greenhouse gas removal projects will create and sustain tens of thousands of green UK jobs and businesses and can help accelerate Scottish and UK efforts to reach net zero emissions by compensating for sectors of the economy that are challenging to decarbonise directly," Storegga said. These include aviation, shipping, agriculture, and oil and gas.

CE developed and demonstrated its DAC technology in a pilot project in Canada and is now deploying the technology at large-scale in the US. Storegga and CE will use the funds to research and develop new, ultra-low-carbon energy sources to power the DAC technology and collaborate on a UK supply chain and roadmap to deploy DAC technology in the UK at a cost of potentially less than £200/metric ton of CO2 in the 2020s. That is four or five times the carbon price when the UK launched its own emissions trading scheme.