Arriving home to Aberdeen late on Sunday the 30th after hours of travel, my news feed told me that Rishi Sunak would be visiting town on Monday the 31st. This could only mean one thing: Track-2 Cluster funding of the Acorn Project. Next morning, getting ready for work, I caught my boss, Professor Stuart Haszeldine, being interviewed live on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. I listened with bated breath as questions were fired at break-neck speed. Carbon capture and storage is in the news!
So is the announcement of the release of over a hundred new offshore oil and gas licences.
Whatever your take on that, it is true to say that CCS depends heavily on the oil and gas industry, its supply chain, skills, and knowledge. CCS encompasses a whole suite of different technologies. In Acorn’s case, it is the capture of CO2 at industrial hubs before it reaches the atmosphere, and then the compression of the gas into liquid form for safe and managed injection into deep subsurface formations.
The flip side is not true: oil and gas production does not depend on CCS. But the energy transition desperately needs CCS. This is the firm and clear recommendation of the most recent Climate Change Committee progress report issued in June. CCS is essential to achieving the pace of change necessary to reach Net Zero in the UK by 2050, enabling rapid and large-scale decarbonisation of our economy and energy systems.
Scotland has the skills, know-how, capacity, and research expertise to deliver CCS today. SCCS has a long history of research, policy advice, and knowledge exchange in CCS. We participate in important collaborative research programmes to support global decarbonisation and partner with a wide range of institutions and industry within and outside our home country of Scotland.
I’ve had many moments of inspiration in the eight weeks since joining SCCS. I must give credit to the super smart and resourceful SCCS secretariat team of today: Romain, Richard LS, Richard LB, Virginia, Erika, Monica, and Andrew, and everyone else who paved the way (you know who you are) for me in my new role. There’s a lot of work to be done to maximise the use of CCS, and a lot of investment is still needed but it feels like SCCS can make a positive contribution and is in the right place. Watch this space for more news.