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The National Grid is celebrating after recent successful tests have suggested that it will indeed be possible to collect CO2 emissions from an industrial hub and store them deep below the North Sea. Exploratory drilling has found a suitable undersea formation about 40 miles off the coast of Yorkshire which has the estimated capacity to safely store around 200 million tonnes of CO2, which businessGreen describes as the equivalent of removing 10 million cars from the roads for ten years.
Similar such storage sites exist all over Europe, and some have predicted that using this relatively cheap form of storing CO2 could actually reduce the overall cost of tackling climate change by around 70%.
The National Grid has stated that this recent success is a vital step in its effort to create a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) hub in the huge industrialised region of the Humber, a large tidal estuary in Northern England, which accounts for nearly 10% of the UKs total emissions.
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The White Rose CCS project. CO2 is captured at a hub in the Humber and then piped out to the North Sea for storage. (HullCADexpert)
The government claims that this marks the first step on the path towards creating a new CCS industry that they believe could be worth £6.5 billion in a decades time, and provide an outlet for the UK’s oil and gas expertise that would otherwise fade away as the operations in the North Sea continue to decline.
Peter Boreham, the director of European Business Development at the National Grid, explains that the UK is in a strong position to become world leaders in this form of CCS, as much of its industrial regions are located along the coast of the North Sea, where many of the offshore formations to be used to store the CO2, exist.
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“Global energy demand is likely to double in the next twenty years and CCS is the only technology that can turn high carbon fuels into genuinely low carbon electricity and keep costs low for consumers.
Drilling is part of a programme which confirms our confidence that CCS will be a practical part of tomorrow's energy mix.”
Andrew Green, the program manager for CCS at the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), is buoyed by the success, and said that “modelling has shown that CCS has the potential to play a major role in any future low carbon UK energy system. But the industry requires more innovation to make CCS economically viable. Successful testing at this site helps provide confidence that power stations and industrial sites will be able to store their CO2 rather than release it into the atmosphere.”
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com