ACT Acorn: a vital link in the chain

Steve Murphy, second from left, with other members of the ACT Acorn Consortium at the University of Liverpool's rock deformation labs, January 2018. Photo: Tim Dumenil

At the close of ACT Acorn, it is a good time to take a moment to reflect on what impact the ACT Acorn project has had on the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the UK.

The ERA-NET Accelerating CCS Technologies (ACT) programme has been a truly transformational step in what we plan will be the realisation of a practical and functioning CCS infrastructure project for Europe, the UK and Scotland. The funding from this channel allowed the project to make significant progress with feasibility engineering, including infrastructure reuse and appraising the geological CO2 storage sites. The research also explored the role of CCS in a just transition, and the CO2 life-cycle impact of constructing and operating a CCS plant.

The findings from ACT Acorn in combination with some additional transport feasibility studies being undertaken by Pale Blue Dot Energy mean that the Acorn CCS project should be ready to enter front-end engineering and design ā€“ known as FEED studies ā€“ prior to an investment decision and, ultimately, construction.

Acorn CCS is now well placed to be an operating project by 2023, firmly realising an option for the UK to deliver CCS at scale in the 2030s and supporting many industrial clusters around the North Sea in their need to significantly decarbonise.

At the end of 2017, the transport infrastructure element of the Acorn project, CO2 SAPLING, was adopted by the EU as a Project of Common Interest. This allowed us to apply for support through the Connecting Europe Facility. The Acorn project was the first CO2 transport project in Europe to be successfully awarded funding through this method. CO2 SAPLING and ACT Acorn have allowed us to complete the feasibility engineering for the Acorn CCS project.

ACT Acorn has been supported by highly capable and understanding research partners with a matched passion for decarbonisation to whom we are grateful. Our diverse consortium also allowed us to explore themes not regularly undertaken as part of a CCS project feasibility research, namely, societal acceptance and life-cycle assessment.

On behalf of the consortium, Iā€™d like to thank everyone who gave up their time to participate in the Just Transition focus groups and the Site Selection workshops. We are also grateful to everyone who has shown interest in the project, either by subscribing to our newsletter and joining our webinar last June or attending our final event in Westminster last month. [Watch videos and download outputs]

Acorn CCS is far from finished, so please follow us on Twitter @AcornCCS and LinkedIn to stay up-to-date.