UK CCS pilot wins EU grant

The White Rose carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Yorkshire is set to share €300 million of European funds, according to MEP Chris Davies

The pioneering project to demonstrate CCS technology at power-plant scale has been selected for a grant under the European NER300 scheme, Davies has revealed.

NER300 offers funding for innovative renewable energy, energy grid integration and CCS projects, but in its first round of grants in 2012 it did not back any CCS pilots. The European commission said at the time that member states had failed to provide sufficient financial guarantees for the majority of CCS projects put forward to receive funding.

A second tranche of funding was opened last year, and commission officials have now confirmed to Davies that the White Rose project is being considered for NER300 support and that the UK can expect confirmation of the grant in June.

“This is a huge win for Britain that could secure millions of pounds of EU funding to support the country’s first carbon capture power station, and perhaps the first in Europe,” said Davies, who was responsible for steering the CCS Directive through the European parliament in 2008.

“If we are serious about cutting our CO2 emissions at the lowest possible cost then carbon capture must have a role to play. This is a perfect example of how being in the EU is good for Britain and helps us to lead in the global fight against climate change.”

The White Rose project, a partnership between engineering company Alstom, energy firm Drax and gas supplier BOC, aims to use an oxyfuel CCS process to capture emissions from a new 304 MW coal-fired power station at the Drax site in North Yorkshire.

In December 2013, the UK government awarded the project cash from Decc’s £1 billion CCS commercialisation programme to enter the front-end engineering design stage. White Rose is sharing £100 million with the Peterhead CCS project, a joint venture between Shell and SSE to retrofit a post-combustion capture installation at an existing gas turbine power station in Aberdeenshire.

News of the EU support for UK CCS came as the energy department announced it was awarding more than £425,000 to three UK companies to demonstrate how reeds and rushes from wetlands can be used as a sustainable biofuel.

The firms, AMW IBERS, Natural Synergies and AB Systems, have been granted between £92,000 and £187,500 to test their project designs in three wetland areas in Somerset, Suffolk and Inverness.

“The ability to turn plant material – that would otherwise have been burned or left to decompose – into a sustainable energy source is an important part of the move towards a low carbon economy,” commented energy minister Greg Barker.

Author: 

Sarah-Jayne Russell was the deputy editor of the environmentalist from March 2011 until June 2014.

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