Azara Blog: UK government funds carbon sequestration project

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Date published: 2005/06/14

The BBC says:

The UK government has announced £25m of funding for a plan to capture greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and store them under the North Sea.

Carbon sequestration, as it is known, has long been regarded as one possible solution that might help mitigate the effects of global warming.

It involves power stations and oil rigs holding on to their emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.

The gases are then pumped underground to keep them out of the atmosphere.

Carbon storage could be up and running within a decade, said the government.

The money announced on Tuesday is part of a £40m package to tackle climate change that covers not only carbon sequestration, but projects for cleaner electricity generation from coal and gas as well as for hydrogen and fuel cell technology.

"We've consulted the industry closely and it's clear that the long-term benefits of capture and storage, which could reduce emissions from power plants by up to 85%, merit significant investment now," said energy minister Malcolm Wicks.

"We must, of course, maintain the push toward renewables and energy efficiency that deliver cuts in emissions here and now."

The North Sea is thought to be ideal to store captured emissions as they would simply reoccupy the spaces in deep geological formations that had previously trapped oil and gas reserves for millions of years.

Experiments are already underway in the region. Norway's Statoil company, for instance, has buried carbon dioxide (CO2) under the North Sea since 1996.

Now, the British government believes it is time for the UK to extend current techniques.

Energy minister Malcolm Wicks outlined the strategy for carbon abatement on Tuesday, together with new initiatives on hydrogen, a fuel that many expect to play a major role in the replacement of fossil fuels.

Experts say carbon capture and storage is best applied to large stationary sources, such as power stations and industrial plants, where CO2 can be separated from the flue gases.

In 2002, about 35% of UK CO2 emissions were from energy industries. Applying CO2 capture to the likes of power stations therefore has the greatest potential to reduce current greenhouse emissions in the UK, experts believe.

Definitely worth spending money looking at carbon sequestration, as part of an overall package to reduce carbon in the atmosphere. Only time will tell how well it will work.

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