LONDON (Reuters) - Britain plans to help develop the country’s first large-scale project to capture, store and use carbon dioxide emissions by the mid-2020s, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said on Wednesday.
Carbon capture, storage and use (CCSU) involves the capture of emissions from power plants and industry to allow them to be compressed and stored to be used for industrial applications such as making drinks fizzy.
The technology is also likely to be needed to help limit a rise in global temperatures at 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to a recent U.N. report.
“The UK’s first carbon capture usage and storage project will be up and running by the mid-2020s under government plans unveiled today,” BEIS said in a statement.
Under the plans, Britain will commit to setting out more details next year on how to develop the country’s first large scale CCSU project and invest 315 million pounds ($402 million)in decarbonizing industrial sites.
“The UK is setting a world-leading ambition for developing and deploying carbon capture and storage technology to cut emissions,” Britain’s Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry will say later on Wednesday at a CCSU conference in Edinburgh, according to the BEIS statement.
British power company Drax earlier this week announced a pilot CCSU scheme at its biomass power plant in North Yorkshire but Britain has yet to develop a large-scale, economically viable project.
Britain had previously viewed carbon capture and storage as a vital tool to help it meet its legally binding target to cut emissions by 80 percent on 1990 levels by 2050.
In 2012 the government launched a 1 billion pound competition to help fund a large-scale project to capture CO2 emissions from a gas or coal-fired power plant and store them underground.
Despite several interested companies such as Shell and SSE, it then made a shock decision in 2015 to pull funding from the scheme, leaving the projects in limbo.
There are fewer than 20 large-scale CCSU projects in operation globally, but many more will be needed to meet the challenge of climate change, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
“Without CCUS as part of the solution, reaching our international climate goals is practically impossible,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol said in a separate statement, issued ahead of the Edinburgh conference.
The Paris climate agreement, adopted by almost 200 nations in 2015, set a goal of limiting warming to “well below” a rise of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times while “pursuing efforts” for the tougher goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
($1 = 0.7837 pounds)
Reporting By Susanna Twidale; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise