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UK Government unveils ambitious Net Zero plan including Carbon Capture

By October 20, 2021 No Comments

As we rapidly approach COP26 (31.10.2021 – 12.11.2021), the UK Government has announced its Net Zero strategy, in which it unveiled plans for how the UK will secure 440,000 well-paid jobs & unlock £90 billion in investment in 2030 on its path to ending its contribution to climate change by 2050. (1)

Building on the original 10 point plan, the Net Zero strategy focuses on how British businesses & consumers will be supported in making the transition to using clean energy & green technology. The strategy also focuses on how Britain will lower it’s reliance on imported fossil fuel, by investing in sustainable clean energy in the UK. To date, the UK has decarbonised faster than any other G7 country.

As part of the new & additional funding announced in the strategy (released 19.10.2021) the UK Government have pledged:

  • £350 million of up to £1 billion commitment to support the electrification of UK vehicles & supply chains & another £620 million for targeted electric vehicle grants and infrastructure.
  • Kick-start the commercialisation of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) made from sustainable materials such as everyday household waste, flue gases from industry, carbon captured from the atmosphere & excess electricity.
  • £140 million Industrial & Hydrogen Revenue Support scheme to accelerate industrial carbon capture & hydrogen
  • Two carbon capture clusters – Hynet Cluster in North West England & North Wales & the East Coast Cluster in Teesside & the Humber.
  • £3.9 billion of new funding for decarbonising heat & buildings, including the new £450 million 3-year Boiler Upgrade Scheme.
  • £124 million boost to the Nature for Climate Fund helping to restore approximately 280,000 hectares of peat in England by 2050 & treble woodland creation in England to meet the commitments to create at least 30,000 hectares of woodland per year across the UK.
  • £120 million towards the development of nuclear projects through the Future Nuclear Enabling Fund. (1)

This ambitious strategy with it’s millions of pounds of investment, certainly shows how the UK Government are committed to it’s Net Zero programme & it’s part in slowing athropogenic climate change. At COP26 the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to encourage other world leaders to follow the UK’s example & in doing so, ensure their pledges for Net Zero are met.

Carbon Capture has long been hailed as a last resort to addressing the challenges set by anthropogenic climate change as it is still comparatively expensive. However, as part of the Net Zero strategy, the UK Government is now investing in two carbon capture clusters in North West England, North Wales & the East Coast.

What is Carbon Capture?

Carbon capture usage & storage is a low carbon technology which captures Co2 emissions from industry & the burning of fossil fuels. Carbon is transported by pipeline & or ship to permanent underground storage. These underground storage facilities ensure that the carbon is stored naturally & does not enter the atmosphere, where it would contribute to anthropogenic climate change. (2)

How does C-Capture extract CO2 from the atmosphere?

One of the original UK pilot projects C-Capture, a spin off technology from Leeds University, have developed a chemical-based system to remove carbon from industrial sources.

Drax (the UK’s largest power station) supported by C-Capture, have established a production facility using a proprietary solvent developed by C-Capture & have developed the technology to isolate the carbon dioxide from the flue gases released when biomass is used to generate electricity.

The data gathered from the original trials, is now being used to facilitate a full-scale plant, with a target of 10,000 tonnes of CO2 per day captured from one of Drax’s four biomass fired boilers. (3)

What do the CCC say?

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) is an independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008.

Their purpose is to advise the UK & devolved governments on emissions targets & to report to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions & preparing for & adapting to the impacts of climate change. (4)

The CCC have cited that having met the carbon budgets up to & including 2017, the UK is set to meet the carbon budget period of 2018-2022, but it is not currently on target to meet the fourth & fifth period covering out to 2032.

Crucially, these budgets were set against the previous target of an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050. The new Net Zero target (at least 100% reduction by 2050) means that progress will need to accelerate. (5)

As COP26 approaches, the UK’s ambitious Net Zero strategy forms an additional part of the 10 point plan already in progress to reduce the UK’s emissions & get the UK to Net Zero.

Boris Johnson the UK Prime Minister is quoted as saying “The UK’s path to ending our contribution to climate change will be paved with well-paid jobs, billions in investment and thriving green industries – powering our green industrial revolution across the country.

By moving first and taking bold action, we will build a defining competitive edge in electric vehicles, offshore wind, carbon capture technology and more, whilst supporting people and businesses along the way.” (1)

Written & cited by Katy-Jane Mason for & on behalf of Dolphin N2