Top 3 Hurdles the UK Must Overcome to Meet Its 2030 CCS Target

It’s time to get serious about carbon capture and storage. There are significant barriers to overcome before the U.K.'s 10 MtCO2 per year target starts to look achievable. Aquaterra Energy identifies the three hurdles that must be overcome—and soon.

(Source: Aquaterra Energy)

Ten megatons of CO2 per year—that’s the government’s stated aim for U.K. carbon capture and storage (CCS) activity by 2030. Ten megatons. That’s not much less than the total 2020 emissions of a country like Zimbabwe (or a company like YouTube).

Some people will see that number and think it’s not enough. Others will see it and think it is unrealistically high. But pretty much everyone will agree that we are a long way from reaching that target by the close of this decade.

We must though. Negative emissions are widely believed to be necessary for meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, but the recent wildfires that have ravaged countries across the globe illustrate the risks of relying on purely nature-based solutions to do so. At some point we need to think seriously about directly capturing and storing carbon itself, and the 2030 target doesn’t leave much time to do so.

Fortunately, there has been progress. The U.K. government has launched Phase 2 of its carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) plan, having identified two offshore clusters in Phase 1. Though there has been consternation at the decision to relegate the Scottish Acorn Cluster to reserve status, bp's East Coast cluster and Eni's Hynet look like positive steps forward for this nascent industry. 

However, there are significant barriers to overcome before that 10 MtCO2 per year target starts to look achievable.

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