Acorn nurtured by Scottish Government as Carbon Capture cluster projects aim for UK net zero by 2050

Mike Tholen, OGUK Sustainability Director. Photo © Chris Lomas Photography

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OGUK today reiterated how key Acorn and many more future carbon capture and storage (CCS) cluster projects are to the UK’s ability to achieve its target of net zero emissions by 2050.

Following the Scottish Government’s announcement of £80 million in support towards Acorn – the name of the proposed Scottish CCS cluster project – the trade body representing the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry said the combination of carbon capture and hydrogen technologies are essential to ensuring the UK drives down its emissions, whilst providing the power needed for homes and workplaces.

Acorn was classed as a ‘reserve’ project for the Track 1 carbon capture cluster projects given the go-ahead for deployment in the mid-2020s by the UK Government last October. The Track 1 clusters confirmed back then were Hynet, based in the north west of England, and the East Coast cluster, made up of Zerocarbon Humber and Net Zero Teesside.

There are several other carbon capture cluster projects currently in development and scheduled to be put forward for Track 2 of the Government’s plan, including Acorn (North East Scotland), V Net Zero (also based in Humberside), the Delphynus cluster in South Humber, as well as one based in the Southampton area.

In total, they could help the UK capture up to 100 million tonnes of carbon per year to decarbonise sectors, including heavy freight and marine transport, as well as steel, chemical and cement manufacturing. The Climate Change Committee, has said technologies such as carbon capture and storage and hydrogen are critical in helping the UK get to net zero.

CCS and hydrogen are two of the focus areas of the transformational North Sea Transition Deal signed by the UK Government and OGUK in March 2021.

OGUK Sustainability Director Mike Tholen said: “In accelerating these carbon capture projects, the UK is laying a key part of the infrastructure for its net zero future. It is a crucial first step but scale is essential if the UK is to make itself carbon neutral by 2050.

“We look forward to Acorn and other carbon capture projects joining Hynet, and the East Coast cluster in ensuring we can generate sufficient energy to keep the country functioning, with homes heated and schools and hospitals powered, but in a way that helps us meet our climate goals and Paris Agreement commitments.”

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