There are 2 elements to the Acorn project – carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen. Acorn CCS is a low-cost, low-risk, carbon capture and storage project that provides CO2 mitigation infrastructure essential for meeting the Scottish and UK Government Net Zero targets.
Acorn CCS is designed to be built quickly, taking advantage of existing oil and gas infrastructure and a well understood offshore CO2 storage site which has the first UK CO2 appraisal and storage licence to be awarded by the Oil and Gas Authority.
Through the Acorn Hydrogen project, North Sea natural gas would be reformed into clean hydrogen, with CO2 emissions safely mitigated through the Acorn CCS infrastructure. Hydrogen would be used in transport applications, and in the gas grid to decarbonise heating in our homes and industries.
Acorn CCS has been designate a European Project of Common Interest (PCI) and together with Acorn Hydrogen, is a very important catalyst for clean growth in the north east of the UK and beyond:
- A major carbon capture and storage hub with hydrogen production at St Fergus
- An economic opportunity for the deep-water port at Peterhead for potential CO2 imports
- A repurposed onshore pipeline to deal with Scotland’s Central Belt emissions
- An international CO2 storage hub in the Central North Sea that unlocks CO2 transportation and storage solutions for other carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) clusters across the UK and potentially Europe.
The project is led by Pale Blue Dot Energy, with funding and support from industry partners (Chrysaor, Shell and Total) the UK and Scottish Governments, and the European Union.
With the continued support of Governments and industry, Acorn CCS could be operating by 2024.
Acorn CCS was specifically designed to tackle one of the acknowledged major blockers to CCUS deployment in the UK – the high capital costs involved in getting CCUS started.
Situating Acorn CCS in the north east coast of Scotland was a strategic decision, to allow the project to make best use of the UK’s built and natural assets:
- Access to extremely valuable offshore gas pipelines that are suitable for reuse for CO2 transport and still have long operational life expectancy.
- Access to world class, well understood geology for CO2 storage – the high confidence around these CO2 stores is due to a wealth of data from the previously active oil and gas industry in this area, but also the publicly available results of two previous UK Government-supported FEED studies and an Energy Technology Institute’s assessment of the suitability of the area for CO2
- The ability to initiate CO2 capture at the St Fergus gas terminal, an existing industrial site where around 35% of all the natural gas used in the UK currently comes onshore.
Acorn CCS takes full advantage of these opportunities to reuse infrastructure and build on existing knowledge. The first phase of the project makes use of some of the existing CO2 emissions at the St Fergus gas terminal (around 340,000 tonnes), in order to commission a very large scale CO2 transport and storage infrastructure that can support much larger future volumes.
- Using a combination of UK Government (CCUS Innovation Programme), European Union and Industry match funding, Acorn CCS is currently progressing the detailed engineering for this first phase of the project in the hope of reaching a final investment decision in late 2021.
- Pale Blue Dot Energy has been awarded the Oil and Gas Authority’s first CO2 appraisal and storage license and Crown Estate Scotland’s first lease option for CO2 storage for the Acorn CO2 Storage Site.
- The Acorn infrastructure initiative “CO2 Sapling” has been included again on the European Commission’s fourth list of Projects of Common Interest (PCI) for implementing cross-border energy infrastructure in the European Union. More information on CO2 SAPLING can be found here.
- In June 2018, Acorn CCS became the first CCUS project in Europe to have been awarded funding support from the European Commission’s Connecting Europe Facilities (CEF) fund. Acorn received a second round of CEF funding at the beginning of 2019.
- Acorn CCS has also received invaluable support from the Scottish Government and through the ERA-NET ACT funded studies to develop the ACT Acorn programme – a close collaboration between eight European partner organisations, designed to accelerate CCS deployment at Acorn and across Europe. All the results from the ACT Acorn advanced feasibility studies are publicly available on the ACT Acorn website along with a suite of communication and explanatory materials. The Acorn YouTube Channel showcases some of this material.
To express your interest for the use of the Acorn CCS infrastructure, please visit the following page on our website.
Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.
For further information, please get in touch.