A deal has been struck for Peterhead to decarbonise a major new fuel plant in England as Aberdeenshire bids to become a frontrunner in a crucial emissions-busting technology.
Peterhead Port has signed an agreement to ship CO2 from a hydrogen production facility in the Thames Estuary, which will then be stored underground via the Acorn Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project at St Fergus.
“Project Cavendish”, a collaboration between major players including Shell, Arup and National Grid Ventures, will be based on Kent’s Isle of Grain, nearby to gas and electricity networks, power stations and a liquid natural gas facility.
Peterhead Port has now joined the “Scottish Cluster”, a group of heavy emitters which seek to use Acorn as a means of cutting carbon emissions.
The port is assessing the potential for a dedicated CO2 reception terminal in order to ship in the carbon, which would then be stored in depleted gas reservoirs in the North Sea through Acorn.
Nick Cooper, CEO of Storegga, the firm behind Acorn CCS, said: “The signing of the MoU’s with Project Cavendish and the Peterhead Port Authority demonstrates how the Scottish Cluster can decarbonise not only Scottish emitters but those throughout the UK and Europe.
“The Acorn Project is strategically located in Aberdeenshire to make best use of legacy oil and gas infrastructure and Scotland’s excellent offshore geology for CO2 storage.
“This, combined with access to the deep-water port of Peterhead which offers significant CO2 import capabilities, means that the Scottish Cluster is able to support the urgent decarbonisation of industrial clusters across the UK, with the cluster conservatively expected to be managing more than 60% of the UK Government’s overall CO2 capture and storage by 2030.”
The deals come ahead of a hotly-anticipated competition announcement later this month on the first two CCS “clusters” to be selected for development across the UK.
Business leaders including Sir Ian Wood have also recently voiced their support for the Acorn project’s success.
Several major players including Harbour Energy and ExxonMobil have backed the Acorn project as well as Shell, which is backing both Acorn and Project Cavendish.
Other major projects across England are in the running, including V Net Zero in the Humber which earlier this week was awarded a carbon storage licence by the Oil and Gas Authority.
On the Project Cavendish partnership, Scottish net zero secretary Michael Matheson said: “This Memorandum of Understanding demonstrates how Acorn will also support the UK and parts of Europe in their decarbonisation journeys and it is fantastic to see Peterhead Port committing to invest in carbon capture infrastructure as the Scottish Cluster continues to demonstrate how vital a role it will play in energy’s just transition to net zero.”