The aim of the Acorn project is to deliver a low-cost carbon capture and storage (CCS) system in north east Scotland by 2023. This project, ACT Acorn, builds upon existing research, such as an appraisal of potential CO2 storage sites and options to re-use oil and gas assets, to move the Acorn project from proof-of-concept towards design studies.
The project is centred on the St Fergus Gas Terminal north of Aberdeen, which is connected to a series of offshore pipelines, three of which could be redeployed. St Fergus is also connected to the UK National Gas Grid and a dedicated pipeline to the Central Belt, where the Caledonia Clean Energy plant is being considered near Edinburgh.
The project will consider a step-by-step approach to minimise initial investment. It will start with CO2 capture and storage from the gas terminal, and then explore options for build-out to other large-scale sources of emissions in the region and from inbound shipping tankers.
The main work will focus on re-using existing infrastructure, not only for the implementation of Acorn in the UK but also to develop policy recommendations for the preservation of important infrastructure around the wider North Sea region.
Critical to the overall success of the project is scientific research aimed at informing some of the gaps in the research and development landscape, including maximising storage efficiency. Geological models, geomechanical experiments and dynamic flow modelling will provide the scientific evidence to design the most efficient storage solution possible. A costed storage development plan and full business case will be developed with identification of potential finance and delivery partners.
The ACT Acorn study will explore a variety of build-out options from the St Fergus CCS hub to create a truly regional CCS network in Scotland, influence similar developments in other North Sea regions and lead the way for CCS development at mature oil and gas fields worldwide.
At the end of this ERA-NET ACT funded study, Acorn will be ready to enter front-end engineering and design (known as FEED studies) prior to an investment decision and, ultimately, construction.
With the right set of circumstances, Acorn could be operating by the early 2020s, helping the UK meet its climate targets and providing a valuable blueprint for the decarbonisation of regions dependent on the fossil fuel industry and its products.
Pale Blue Dot Energy is leading the development for the Acorn CCS Project. More information