Acorn CO2 Storage Site Receives Carbon Capture Storage Licence

The team at Pale Blue Dot Energy are delighted to have received formal notification from the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) that they are the first recipients of a carbon dioxide (CO2) appraisal and storage licence since the OGA was established as an independent regulator and the licensing authority for offshore carbon dioxide storage in the UK.

Government and Industry join forces to support Acorn CCS investment

The UK and Scottish Governments, along with project developer Pale Blue Dot Energy and oil and gas major Total, have today announced they will provide important match funding of the European Commission’s Connecting Europe Facilities fund, to progress feasibility work on the UK’s Acorn CCS project.

The announcement was made today at the UK Government’s International CCUS summit where global energy leaders were invited to Edinburgh to explore the critical need to advance carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) deployment worldwide in order to have a chance of meeting CO2 emission reduction targets.

Acorn is a low-cost, low-risk CCUS catalyst project, that makes best use of legacy oil and gas infrastructure and excellent CO2 storage, to bring down the cost of delivering very large-scale CO2 transport and storage solutions to the UK and potentially Europe.

Already recognised by the European Commission as a European Project of Common Interest, this year Acorn CCS was the only CO2 transport project in Europe to be successfully awarded CEF funding to develop all the CO2 transport options for this important carbon capture and storage (CCS) initiative.

Alan James, Managing Director of Pale Blue Dot Energy, the project leader of Acorn CCS said:

This match funding of the European Commission’s CEF award allows us to fully explore all the exciting CO2 transport options open to Acorn – from repurposing on and offshore gas pipelines, to developing Peterhead Harbour for CO2 import and export.

“This is a critical and exciting step towards building the UK’s first large-scale CO2 transport and storage infrastructure and we are thrilled to have such strong government and industry support for the work we are doing.”

Claire Perry, UK Energy & Clean Growth Minister, said:

“Cutting edge technology to capture carbon will cut emissions while creating new jobs and clean growth – a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy. 

“This innovative project from Pale Blue Dot represents a major milestone in efforts to commercialise this technology and comes as leaders meet at a world-first summit in Edinburgh to accelerate efforts to roll out CCUS globally.”

Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands at the Scottish Government said:

“This is a very important step forward for the Acorn Project and Scotland. Scotland’s key CCUS resource is our vast potential for the storage of carbon dioxide (CO2), and the Scottish Government is strongly committed to the development and implementation of CCUS technologies.

“We will continue to promote Scottish CCUS opportunities and capitalise on future funding to ensure that Scotland remains at the forefront of the technology’s development; indeed, this could not be more important as the development of CCUS technology is something recognised by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as being essential to the mix of technologies the global community needs in order to avoid the most damaging effects of climate change.”

Marie-Noelle Semeria, Senior Vice President, Group Chief Technology Officer at Total said:

“Total is delighted to invest and support the Acorn CCUS project. Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage is going to play an essential role in achieving carbon neutrality in the second half of the century without curbing economic and social growth. Total is committed to invest 10% of its annual R&D investment into CCUS and to contribute to major projects around the world that will help assess technologies and make CCUS an economic solution. Today, we take another important step forward with our investment in the UK-based Acorn project, which seeks to turn technologies behind CCUS into a viable business model.”

Ms Beatrice Coda, Head of CEF Energy at the European Innovation & Networks Agency of the European Commission said:

INEA welcomes the kick-off of the feasibility study for the Acorn CO2 SAPLING Transport Infrastructure EU co-funded Action, which will contribute to the development of the “CO2 SAPLING Transport and Infrastructure Project” PCI and aid in the deployment of a European CO2 transportation infrastructure network. This is the first CEF Energy supported Action in the context of establishing a strategic and trans-European CO2 transportation infrastructure around the North Sea.

PBD_Acorns on the rocks

Acorn: one year on

Last year, at All-Energy 2017, we were delighted to announce that the Acorn project had secured European support from the ‘Advancing CCS Technologies’ (ACT) funding round, part of the ERA-NET programme. Acorn is a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project at St Fergus in north east Scotland, based on a phased development of industrial emissions and the production of hydrogen, which re-uses existing infrastructure, and has a wide portfolio of build out options to enable decarbonisation. The ACT funding is supporting the feasibility studies, which are currently underway by the ACT Acorn consortium – Pale Blue Dot Energy, the Bellona Foundation, Heriot-Watt University, Radboud University, Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage, the University of Aberdeen, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Liverpool.

Now, one year on, we are at All-Energy 2018 and Acorn has progressed. In the feasibility phase, the ACT Acorn project is 50% complete and the reports completed to date can be accessed from the project website. On 20th June, the ACT Acorn consortium will be hosting a webinar, ‘Acorn 2025: A pathway to decarbonising the UK’, which will provide the vision pathway for the project and demonstrate the critical value of the ACT-funded research. To register, click here.

ACT Acorn kick off meeting
ACT Acorn kick off meeting day 2, 27th September 2017. Photo credit: Charlie Hartley

In September 2017, the Scottish Government also announced their support for Acorn in their Programme for Government. In early 2018, the Acorn CCS infrastructure project, CO2 SAPLING, formally secured European support as a Project of Common Interest (PCI) and is now starting to move into pre-FEED activity, which will also be jointly funded by the public and private sectors. On top of this, we have been meeting with local politicians to raise awareness of Acorn and are developing industrial partnerships to drive the Acorn project forward.

Acorn is a way of starting small, creating optionality and being able to grow quickly at the right time. It is an exemplar of a low cost, low risk, option-rich approach that can be used in other places around the world.