Carbon capture and storage (CCS)
CCS is the only way we can reduce carbon dioxide emissions and keep fossil fuels (coal and gas) in the UK’s electricity supply mix. Fossil fuels are an important part of the electricity mix (and will remain so for some time to come) because they let us balance the intermittency of wind and the inflexibility of nuclear.
If developed at scale CCS could:
- allow the safe removal and permanent storage of carbon dioxide emissions from coal and gas power stations
- remove and permanently store emissions from large industrial sources such as steel or cement factories
The technologies used in CCS (capture, transport and storage) aren’t particularly new or unique. They have been used for many years individually (notably in the oil and chemical sectors) but there are no projects that use all 3 together at commercial scale to capture and store carbon dioxide from a power station.
To bring down costs and allow CCS to be more widely used, the full chain of capture, transport and storage needs to be built and operated on a commercial scale at power stations that are already generating electricity.
What we are doing
We are working with industry to create a cost-competitive CCS industry in the 2020s. On 7 August 2014, we published “Next Steps in CCS: Policy Scoping Document”, which summarised the policies and actions that the government has taken to become a world leader in Carbon Capture and Storage. This document also sought views and evidence on a possible Phase 2 of CCS deployment. A summary of the responses is published alongside the scoping document.
Our support for the development of CCS includes:
- a £1 billion Commercialisation Competition to support practical experience in the design, construction and operation of commercial-scale CCS
- a £125 million, 4-year co-ordinated research, development and innovation programme
- reform of the UK electricity market so CCS will be able to compete with other low-carbon energy sources
We are also:
- working with industry through the Cost Reduction Task Force to identify where we can reduce costs of the technology
- working with industry to develop the supply chain, create storage and assist the development of CCS infrastructure
- providing a regulatory regime for CCS
- sharing the knowledge and experience we learn from projects in the UK (including that from the £1bn Commercialisation Competition) and around the world, to help reduce costs as quickly as possible
- taking a leading role internationally in initiatives that promote CCS such as the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum 5th CSLF Ministerial Meeting
Read more about our CCS strategy in the UK CCS roadmap and associated documents.
You’ll find more information about how CCS works at:
- UK CCS Storage Association
- EU Zero Emission Platform
- Global CCS Institute
- Scottish CCS
- International Energy Agency
- Energy Technologies Institute
DECC has developed the 2050 Calculator to allow audiences to explore the fundamental question of how the UK can meet its energy needs whilst reducing emissions. Fossil fuels currently provide around 60% of our electricity generation; power stations burning fossil fuels that have been fitted with CCS could provide secure low-carbon energy as up to 90% of the carbon dioxide emissions are captured. Why not try out the different ways of securing a low carbon future for the UK by creating your own pathway?