What is Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage?
Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) is the process of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2), and permanently storing it deep underground or making use of it so it cannot enter the atmosphere. While CCUS is yet to happen at scale in the UK, captured carbon is likely to come from a range of sources, including power plants, industrial facilities, biomass (see Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage [BECCS] in UK Biomass Strategy), through low carbon hydrogen production and potentially direct air capture.
How important is CCUS?
The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has described carbon capture and storage as a ‘necessity, not an option’ for achieving net zero and UK government has committed to capturing a vast 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent a year by 2030.
What is the role of the fuels sector?
The fuels sector, which includes the UK’s fuel refining, storage, transport and forecourts infrastructure, will be crucial to delivering the UK government’s plans because:
- the sector brings knowledge of standards for the design, construction and operation of CCUS facilities from existing projects overseas
- the carbon capture technologies needed are similar to existing processes on refinery sites
- our members have the necessary understanding of UK geology
- member companies can be the anchor first customer for CCUS sites, to help fund their start-up and make them viable for other companies to use
Fuels Industry UK members are active in at least six clusters with CCUS at their core
Read more about CCUS clusters here:
What government needs to do to help the sector deliver CCUS
For companies to invest in CCUS, investment conditions need to be attractive relative to other countries. This could be done by:
- including the refining sector in its further consultation on the design of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) in 2024, to ensure importers face the same carbon costs as UK refiners
- UK government providing a package of financial support for decarbonisation projects that matches those offered to projects in competitor countries, despite recent UK government announcements on CCUS business models
- creating a more stable policy and fiscal environment that gives investors confidence.
- the North Sea Transition Authority and other agencies helping development of this new business by providing more clarity around the ownership of land and seabed assets, which have become barriers to securing suitable CCUS sites for projects, although we recognise recent work on the potential introduction of a potential carbon storage levy.
- delivering a review of shipping CCUS to storage sites. Not all carbon sources neighbour storage sites, so this needs to be brought forward so that areas further from the CCUS sites can use this method to deliver carbon reductions.
Read more about what Fuels Industry UK has to say about CCUS here: