The government has relaunched a competition for firms to develop carbon capture and storage technology to attract firms to establish the UK as a leading CCS player.
The previous competition collapsed last October due to the costs of advancing the technology for the last remaining contender Scottish Power, at Longannet in Fife. But the government says the new £1bn prize competition will relax the rules on the types of power plants that can be considered for development, in an industry which has been predicted to be worth £6.5bn to the UK economy by 2030, while sustaining 100,000 jobs.
While the failed scheme only allowed for firms to compete with designs for post combustion treatment on coal fired stations, the new venture is open for precombustion projects on gas powered stations.
The announcement comes amid disarray in the UK’s plans for low carbon power after energy giants E.ON and RWE withdrew from the running in the government’s new nuclear development plans.
CCS has been proven on small sites and is the process whereby captured carbon is taken from power stations and then stored underground, either in exhausted oil fields such as those in the north sea, or saline aquifers.
As well as being used on domestic power plants, CCS also offers the opportunity for British firms to become consultants on vast numbers of overseas plants, particularly in rapidly developing regions such as the BRIC countries.