Policy actions  1 of 5

Carbon capture, utilisation and storage

Carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) is a system that captures the carbon dioxide generated by large-scale energy intensive processes, such as cement and steel production, chemical processing, hydrogen production and power generation, thereby preventing it from entering the atmosphere and contributing to climate change.

The captured carbon dioxide is sequestered deep underground for safe and permanent storage. In some applications, the captured carbon dioxide can be recycled and used to manufacture useful products, thus giving it economic value.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s fifth assessment report states that globally it would cost 138% more to restrict the rise in global temperatures to no more than 2 degrees celsius without carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Potential for CCUS in Scotland

We support the development of CCUS as a whole-system decarbonisation system, with the flexibility to adapt over time to play a central role across the decarbonisation strategies of sectors such as heat, industry and power.

Scotland’s  industrial clusters and largest sources of carbon dioxide in North East and Central Scotland are linked by a network of pipelines to depleted and well-mapped oil and gas fields in the North Sea. These depleted gas fields and aquifers offer vast carbon dioxide storage potential, providing Scotland with a competitive advantage in CCUS.

CCUS in the Energy Strategy

In our Energy Strategy we have committed to:

  • work with industry to assess opportunities for small-scale CCUS demonstration and carbon dioxide utilisation projects in Scotland across a range of sources including the application of CCUS within industrial processes
  • explore the opportunity to combine bioenergy production and CCUS, with a view to maximising the benefits for the energy system as a whole
  • maintain pressure on the UK Government to align its CCUS strategy with Scottish energy priorities
  • support the commercialisation of CCUS through securing a demonstrator project, building on the conclusions of the Scottish and UK Government funded research into CCUS
  • work with industry and the Oil and Gas Authority to ensure the retention of existing critical infrastructure, including key oil and gas pipelines suitable for use with CCUS

To ensure Scottish interests are voiced and considered, we are working closely with the UK Government as members of their UK CCUS Cost Reduction Taskforce and we attend the UK’s Ministerial-led CCUS Council which is tasked with taking forward the deployment of CCUS in the UK. 

We are also a full member of the Global CCS Institute.

CCUS projects in Scotland

We are supporting a number of CCUS projects in Scotland, including:

ACT Acorn

Acorn proposes to use the legacy oil and gas circumstances in North East Scotland as the stepping stone to initiate CCUS in the UK.

The ACT Acorn project will seek to re-purpose the carbon capture facilities of an existing gas sweetening plant at St Fergus, targeting industrial carbon dioxide from gas processing activities and using existing offshore pipeline infrastructure to transport carbon dioxide to well-understood offshore carbon storage opportunities in the Central North Sea for sub-surface injection and permanent storage of carbon dioxide. 

We have contributed funding towards this project’s feasibility study. 

Align CCUS

We are partners in the Align CCUS project, which is a research proposal submitted to ACT Eranet by a collective of research industry, government and NGO bodies across the UK, the Netherlands, Romania, Norway, and Germany.

Elegancy CCS

We are also partners in the Elegancy CCS project, a research proposal submitted to ACT Eranet by a collective of research, industry, and government bodies from the UK, Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. It focuses on fast-track energy system decarbonisation by CCS and hydrogen, exploiting the synergies between two low-carbon technologies.