Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: Carbon capture and storage

This research area covers the capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced, for example, by power stations and energy-intensive industry and its secure long-term storage.

Partners involved:
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

The scope and what we're doing

This research area looks at the capture of CO2 produced, for example, by power stations and energy-intensive industries, and its secure long-term storage.

It includes air capture, transportation of CO2, permanent storage and utilisation options, and the integration of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies into current energy systems. Novel next-generation capture technologies are a major element.

Research in this area should be related to the reduction of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. This excludes the utilisation of captured carbon into chemicals, as this is outside the remit of this research area.

We are open to interdisciplinary research that seeks to address current energy challenges. We still expect to fund discovery research, but are supportive of challenge-focused research proposals.

We anticipate a development in CCS towards:

  • bioenergy and CCS (BECCS)
  • hydrogen production
  • the decarbonisation challenge.

Energy programme

The Energy programme has previously recognised the significance of CCS research in the energy landscape and has therefore invested in the UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre (UKCCSRC).

This will provide focus and co-ordination for underpinning CCS research and networking opportunities for the research community and stakeholders, as well as to develop CCS capacity within the UK.

Preparing for investment

We will continue to support the CCS community, as the requirement of CCS has become essential to 2050 net zero targets and to prepare the community for incoming investment and translation of research within CCS and carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS).

Collaboration

The programme will continue to support UKCCSRC and the CCS community in collaborating with:

  • industry
  • government – through the CCUS Council
  • non-governmental organisations
  • other energy stakeholders.

Working with other research councils

We will provide evidence for developing and implementing an effective CCS strategy for efficient and significant impact. This includes working with the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to consider a socio-economic, political and environmental approach when addressing technical issues surrounding cost reduction, risk reduction and integrating carbon capture using a whole-systems approach.

There is an expectation for researchers to engage across research council remits to understand the perception of CCS when developing technology and when assessing appropriate biomass feedstocks.

Fellowships

The programme will ensure capacity and capability are available for the future of CCS by training and knowledge transfer, through early career and established career fellowships. The CCS community should make use of skills and best practices from the oil and gas community in preparation for the positive shift in the landscape.

Why we're doing it

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a crucial technology to mitigate against emissions of greenhouse gas removal, decarbonisation of electricity, industry and production of low carbon hydrogen for heating and transport. CCS is an evolving area of research that is expected to play a significant role in helping the UK meet its energy requirements and environmental targets at least cost.

In this context, CCS is considered an area of critical importance to meet the UK’s climate targets at a reasonable cost, while also meeting increasing energy demands. Furthermore, reports have identified a requirement for development of sustainable bioenergy and carbon capture and storage solutions (BECCS) to meet net zero emissions.

The publication of the government’s Clean Growth Strategy has further influenced official documents and reports that have increased support of CCS by way of investment from:

  • the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
  • a carbon capture and usage demonstrator programme
  • a carbon capture, usage and storage innovation programme
  • the second phase of the international Accelerating CCS Technologies (ACT) initiative.

The programme recognises the multidisciplinary nature of this area and encourages the UKCCSRC, the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Carbon Capture and Storage and Cleaner Fossil Energy and Centre for Doctoral Training in Resilient Decarbonised Fuel Energy Systems to work closely to build and maintain capacity.

UK capacity is further strengthened by collaborations with the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to ensure consideration of a whole-energy system approach when addressing short, medium and long-term strategies to accelerate deployment and integration of CCS into the energy system.

The CCS research area naturally has close links with the following research areas:

The NERC-led Greenhouse gas removal programme and the CO2 Chem Network funded by the Physical sciences theme are notable links to the CCS research area.

Links with industry are clearly present and are likely to increase with recent and coming innovation and strategic investments into CCS.

Countries including the US, Canada, Australia, China and Norway are keen to engage with the UK regarding CCS developments. This indicates the quality of the UK’s unique research outputs in this field and its international standing.

In particular, the Pilot-scale Advanced Capture Technology (PACT) facilities hosted by the University of Sheffield have drawn particular attention from the wider international community and are a key resource for CCS research.

EPSRC and NERC, alongside BEIS, have contributed to investment in the second phase of the international Accelerating CCS Technologies (ACT) initiative, which has the ambition of accelerating and maturing carbon capture, usage and storage technology.

Past projects, outcomes and impact

Visualising our portfolio (VoP) is a tool for users to visually interact with the EPSRC portfolio and data relationships. Find out more about research area connections and funding for Carbon capture and storage.

Find previously funded projects on Grants on the Web.

Who to contact

Contact the Energy team

Email: energy@epsrc.ukri.org

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