Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse will lead the high-level meeting that has been called to commit NECCUS to drive forward the country’s decarbonisation programme and capture carbon emissions from major industrial emitters, first from Scotland and later from across the UK and store it safely in rock formations deep under the North Sea.
NECCUS has backing from major global energy companies as well as scientific institutions and Scottish Enterprise.
The carbon reduction technology, commonly known as CCS, is now being built and developed at numerous sites around the world and is acknowledged to be an essential component in the battle to tackle climate change.
Scotland’s project will take this tried and tested technique further by creating hydrogen which can be used as an alternative to high carbon fuels such as coal, oil and gas for heat and power. Hydrogen is increasingly being used in the transportation sector such as Aberdeen’s new fleet of hydrogen buses, where the only emission is water vapour.
CCUS coupled with hydrogen production alongside renewable energies like wind and solar, reforestation - as well as more sustainable production of food and consumer goods - will be an essential component of Scotland’s carbon emission reduction target five years before the rest of the UK. It is also key to the UK’s clean industrial growth challenge, which earlier this year put carbon emission reduction as one of five ‘grand challenges’ that need to be tackled and require state investment.
The first phase of CCUS will see engineering work begin in 2023 at the St Fergus gas terminal, 35 miles north of Aberdeen. By 2025, the backers say, they will be ready to take carbon dioxide from other major emitters from across the UK and Europe - transporting the gas to the site through redeveloped pipelines and specially designed ships. In the same time-frame hydrogen will be produced from natural gas that comes ashore at St Fergus, before being piped to customers across Scotland, further reducing CO2 emissions.
Speaking ahead of the meeting Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: "I am delighted to see the NECCUS alliance taking shape. Only by working together can we meet the targets we have set ourselves and which the people of Scotland deserve. We are determined to show that it’s entirely possible to have a thriving economy, where new jobs are created, existing jobs are safe-guarded and a carbon-zero environment is achieved. The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring these go hand in hand."
NECCUS CEO Mike Smith said: "We’ve made great progress with wind, solar and other renewable technologies over the last 10 years. But the need to decarbonise our economy is urgent so we must build on the good start the UK has made by addressing the hard to decarbonise sectors like heat, heavy industry, transport, and chemicals. The only way we can achieve that is with the deployment of CCUS. NECCUS, with its unrivalled support from all sectors of industry, academia and government is now set to deliver on doing just that."