The study, commissioned by regional development agency Yorkshire Forward, proposes an infrastructure network that would connect power plants to storage facilities in the depleted gas fields off the adjacent coastline in the south of the North Sea. The network would link the largest sources in the region and enable other emitters to transport and store their CO2.
Didier Pfleger, chief operating officer of Amec's Power and Process division, said: "This regional network approach would be a first in the UK and our study shows it can work. If it goes ahead, the Yorkshire and Humber area can really show how to make material progress in reducing CO2 emissions."
The Yorkshire and Humber region produces around 90 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, the majority from single point industrial or power generation sources. The region also has a coastline adjacent to the rapidly depleting gas reservoirs of the Southern North Sea.This unique coincidence of high levels of CO2 emissions and proximity to storage sites means that the development of a low cost CO2 transport network would position the region to be the first and potentially lowest cost user of these depleting gas fields for carbon storage.
Amec project director Alastair Rennie added: "The report details scenarios under which the network would transport between 24 to 54 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2030 rising to about 60 million tonnes by 2040 - a significant proportion of the UK emissions."
At today's price, the predicted cost of the infrastructure is £2 billion.
Technical and economic issues in the development of transportation and storage infrastructure play a key element in determining investment decisions in CCS projects. CCS is one approach that is considered by the Stern Review, the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Energy Agency as essential to provide a lower carbon future.
The process of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) begins when CO2 is produced by an industrial process such as burning coal or natural gas. The CO2 produced is first separated, then normally compressed into a liquid and transported by pipeline to a suitable storage or sequestration site where the CO2 can be permanently stored. The transport system encompasses compressors, pumps, pipeline, onshore and an offshore pipeline to deliver the CO2 to the storage site.