‘Crucial milestone’ in bid to build vast CO2 pipe

A project to lay a huge underground pipeline across Yorkshire collecting CO2 from a new £3bn “clean coal” power station and other major industrial polluters moves a step closer today with the publication of detailed plans by the National Grid.

A series of large gas pumping and compression stations and other mechanical installations will be built at key points along the route in south and east Yorkshire to push carbon dioxide many miles across the region and out into the North Sea, where it will be buried in storage wells beneath the seabed.

The pipeline is ostensibly part of the £3bn Don Valley Power Project which developers hope will see the UK’s first power station using carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology built at Hatfield, near Doncaster, if sufficient capital can be brought in to support the scheme.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Regional planners eventually want to see other heavy industrial sites link their chimney flues up to the pipeline and store CO2 emissions safely underground.

It is hoped an integrated Yorkshire-wide network would secure the long-term future of heavy industry in the region as the UK slowly moves towards a low-carbon society.

Dr Stephen Brown, director of strategy at Leeds-based consultancy CO2Sense, said: “This is a crucial milestone in achieving consent for an important project which could deliver jobs, investment and major carbon emissions reduction to the region. We’re pleased to see National Grid actively seeking the opinions of a wide range of people, including the public and businesses, to make sure the pipeline is designed and constructed in a way that meets the needs of communities.”

A public consultation will be launched today asking local people for their views before a crucial planning application is submitted early next year. If successful, construction work would begin on the pipeline in 2015.

National Grid CCS design manager Russell Cooper said: “The consultation events are another opportunity for the local community to find out more about CCS projects in Yorkshire and comment on the plans.

“We want to know what people think, and we want the local communities to be part of the building of the opportunities and CCS technology in Yorkshire.”

The plans published today show that the main CO2 compressor station would be sited midway between Hatfield and Drax power station at Selby, which also hopes to use CCS to slash its own carbon emissions and may link directly into the new National Grid pipeline.

Alongside Tata Steel and Ferrybridge Power Station, Drax is one of several major polluters across Yorkshire that meet regularly to discuss building a shared region-wide CCS scheme.

Mr Cooper said: “The Yorkshire and Humber region is an ideal location for a CCS project due to its high concentration of power stations and large industrial plants that release a large amount of carbon dioxide.

“Most of these facilities are located relatively close together and so could potentially be connected to a single CCS pipeline network, capturing tens of millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.”

CCS remains a fledgling technology but is seen as key for industrial nations as they look to slash emissions quickly without impacting on productivity.

Yorkshire hopes to become a world leader in CCS by trialling it across the region over the next decade and then exporting it to other nations around the world.

There are three proposed CCS projects in Yorkshire – Hatfield, Drax and a third “clean coal” power station at Killingholme – bidding for a share of the several billions of pounds being made available by the Government and the EU.

A final decision on which schemes have been successful is due from both before the end of the year.