Power plant launches first large-scale pilot of anti-pollution gas capture idea

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THE UK’S first large-scale pilot of a new technology which could one day transform high-polluting industries into environmental pioneers has been launched at a power station in Yorkshire.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne was at Ferrybridge power station in West Yorkshire yesterday for the opening of a £21m carbon capture facility, believed to be the largest of its kind in Europe.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is an emerging technology whereby carbon dioxide emissions are captured from large industrial plants such as power stations or steelworks before they are released, and then buried in storage wells below the ground.

Planners hope to one day build a huge pipeline taking CO2 from all Yorkshire’s key polluters but first the technology must be proven.

The two-year trial at Ferrybridge – run by power station owner SSE, in conjunction with energy firms Doosan and Vattenfall – will aim to capture 100 tonnes of CO2 per day from the flues of the coal-fired power station. The results will be analysed by academics from universities including Leeds and Sheffield to monitor success and assess how the processes involved can be made more efficient.

The Government has set aside £1bn to part-fund four full-scale CCS projects over the next few years and has contributed £6m towards the Ferrybridge trial.

Mr Huhne said: “This flagship test programme represents an important milestone in the UK’s plans to develop CCS and provides a critical bridge to meeting out long-term aim of competitive CCS deployment by the 2020s.”

Yorkshire is seen as an ideal place to trial CCS and at least two of the four full-scale schemes could be based in this region.

Mr Huhne confirmed the Government’s pledge to spend £1bn on CCS projects, despite suggestions this week that the money might now be spent elsewhere.

“That £1bn is protected and is there,” he said. “We are now finalising the details of the (funding) competition, and will soon hold an industry day to update people on our current thinking.”