Climate change gases could be stored beneath North SeaNews // June 24, 2005
Carbon capture and storage could be up and running within a decade and is central to a new £40m package for emerging low-carbon technologies designed to stimulate demonstration projects for cleaner electricity generation from coal and gas as well as forhydrogen and fuel cells.
Speaking at the Royal Institution, and in the run up to next month's Gleneagles G8 Summit, at which the Prime Minister will put climate change centre stage, the Minister said: "Reaching our ambitious target of cutting carbon emissions by 60% by 2050 means action now to support emerging technologies that will enable us to burn coal and gas more cleanly. At the same time, with major expansion of coal fired power generation expected in China and India, we want to put the UK at the forefront of what could be a valuable new export opportunity."
"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 plant by up to 85 per cent, merit significant investment now. We must, of course, maintain the push toward renewables and energy efficiency that deliver cuts in emissions here and now. But cleaning up our use of fossil fuels, developing the vast potential of hydrogen and fuel cells, and keeping UK industry on the front foot is a vital long term objective."
The Carbon Abatement Technology Strategy is worth £25 million. It will advance all forms of carbon abatement technologies, including improving the efficiency and co-firing existing power plant with low carbon alternatives such as biomass, but the demonstration of carbon capture and storage is the most radical of the options and sets the new strategy apart from the previous Clean Coal Technology programme.
A Hydrogen Strategy worth a further £15 million was also announced. This includes demonstration programmes for hydrogen and fuel cells and the establishment of a Hydrogen Coordination Unit and represents a step change in the Government's commitment to hydrogen energy. Previously disparate efforts on hydrogen and fuel cells R&D will be brought together for the first time within an overall strategy. It will help to ensure that the UK's participation in international initiatives such as the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy is fully effective and benefits both the UK and our international partners.