Carbon capture: Spirit of innovation to lead the way in tackling climate change

by Steve Scrimshaw, Vice President, Siemens Energy UK&I

At Siemens Energy we welcome the UK Government calling upon a ‘spirit of innovation’ to develop technology and solutions for the growing UK Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) market at a pace never seen before. 

 

The foundations for a new industry

Two projects have already been successful in their bids to become the first two CCUS developments in the UK. The East Coast Cluster and HyNet will take a share of a £1 billion government investment to get up and running by the mid-decade, while the Scottish Cluster has been designated as a reserve.

 

The aim is to support the creation of four industrial carbon capture facilities and storage clusters, powering up world leading SuperPlaces in areas such as Teesside, Humberside, Merseyside, North Wales and the North East of Scotland, which will act as the foundation for the new industry.

 

The plan to get us there will mobilise £12 billion of government investment, and potentially three times as much from the private sector, to create and support up to 250,000 new jobs.

 

As part of its 10 Point Plan, the government has set a target to capture 10 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide a year by 2030 - the equivalent of four million cars’ worth of annual emissions, forming the foundations for future investment and potential export opportunities.

 

At the Global Investment Summit, the government also announced £9.7 billion overseas investment in the UK to ‘power economic recovery’. The package of 18 investment deals is expected to create 30,000 additional jobs and support growth in sectors such as wind and hydrogen energy, sustainable homes and carbon capture and storage.

Building the infrastructure together

Developing the CCUS infrastructure will contribute to the economic transformation of the UK’s industrial regions and enhance the long-term competitiveness of the UK industry in a global net-zero economy. It will help decarbonise challenging sectors, such as construction, aviation and shipping and provide low carbon power and a pathway to negative emissions.

 

At Siemens Energy, we believe that just as the energy transition to net-zero isn’t going to be solved by one technology alone, the development of CCUS solutions will require the expertise of more than one company.

 

That’s why we have joined forces with Doosan Babcock and Aker Solutions to form a UK consortium that draws upon more than 450 years of combined experience to develop new technology and solutions for the growing UK market.

 

Together we employ more than 6,000 people, offering UK-based engineering, fabrication, and construction services, to provide best in class capability, choice, and local UK delivery.

 

We believe our individual strengths and shared heritage will enable us to retrain and reskill our current workforce, involve local, established supply chains, and deliver new projects from our well-established offices across the country.

How collaboration will accelerate the energy transition

Watch this insightful conversation between Siemens Energy, Doosan Babcock and Aker Solutions that took place at COP26. The topic of the discussion is how and why the companies are joining forces to deliver CCUS projects in the UK, and why collaboration is the key to accelerating the energy transition.

The British advantage

De-carbonisation and reaching the all-important net-zero goal won’t happen overnight. However, step by step, with the right partners, we can harness the power of a highly skilled workforce that can help Britain lead the way on CCUS and become part of a legacy that will last for generations to come.

  

No one country has captured the CCUS market yet, but Britain has one unrivalled asset – the North Sea - which can be used to store captured carbon under the seabed. For example, the East Coast cluster includes the Northern Endurance Partnership, which, if successful, will utilise a saline aquifer (geological feature named endurance) to store up to 450m tonnes of captured CO2.

                                   

Industries around the world are also experimenting and trialling various forms of CCUS. There is international recognition that we need CCUS to meet the global climate ambitions agreed through the Paris Agreement in 2015. This provides a genuine opportunity for the UK to become a global technology leader for CCUS, working internationally with industry and governments to drive down the cost of deployment. The development of CO2 transport and storage networks for industrial CCUS hubs can reduce unit costs through economies of scale and facilitate investment in CO2 capture facilities. 

Time to seize the opportunity

 

At Siemens Energy we believe the opportunities from CCUS are real and could have a tangible impact for the UK on tackling some of the biggest challenges we face in decarbonising our economy.

 

There are also significant opportunities to deploy CCUS in industry, not only to reduce emissions but to improve productivity and the competitiveness of our industrial heartlands.

 

Seizing the opportunities of CCUS will be no easy task and will require talented people from across the country to work together. There can be no doubt that the low-cost, large-scale deployment of CCUS will require partnerships between government, businesses, innovators, the best scientific and engineering minds, communities, and centres of industrial excellence.

 

However, the actions by the UK alone will not be sufficient to avoid climate change. This is a global challenge, and the time to innovate is now.

Siemens Energy UK Decarbonisation Programme

The overriding aim of the UK Decarbonisation programme is to reduce the energy use and carbon emissions from operations to meet our global target to be climate neutral by 2030. Find out more about our work on decarbonisation in the UK...