Climate committee chief emphasises Acorn’s strategic role

Chris Stark, chief executive of the UK Committee on Climate Change, at the ACT Acorn final event, January 2019. Photo: Indira Mann

Chris Stark, chief executive of the UK Committee on Climate Change has urged the UK to move on from “false dawns” for carbon capture and storage (CCS) and pursue strategic projects, such as Acorn, to help address climate change.

His comments were made as part of a keynote speech at the ACT Acorn final event held in Westminster in late January, where project representatives shared results from the international research collaboration aimed at delivering a real-life CCS project.

Mr Stark said: “There have been false dawns [with CCS] but they are in the past and we need to think about how we move on from that and do something constructive. And that’s where Acorn and others like it are so important. They are a practical assessment of something that can be done.”

He added: “It opens the door to real investment in this sector if we pursue this project. And we have an extremely strategic installation that opens the door to a host of other things. Carbon capture and storage is essential for the things we know we need to do to address climate change.”

The keynote speech was delivered towards the end of the final event for the project, aimed at sharing results from five key areas of research; namely, just transition, infrastructure reuse, unlocking underground CO2 storage, life cycle assessment and options for building out from the initial Acorn CCS project.

Researchers from Pale Blue Dot Energy, who led the project, The Bellona Foundation, Heriot-Watt University, Radboud University, Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage, the University of Aberdeen, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Liverpool summarised their key findings to an audience of politicians, policymakers, industry representatives and investors.

Delegates took part in two lively question and answer sessions and were invited to a short networking session at the end of the event.

The ACT Acorn project, which was funded by Europe’s ERA-NET Accelerating CCS Technologies programme, concludes at the end of this month, with its findings feeding into full design studies for the main Acorn project, which could see CCS fully operating in north east Scotland as early as 2023.

Watch Chris Stark’s keynote speech and other talks by the project partners here, where you can also download project infographics and all available project reports