Imperial College London

Government plan on Carbon Capture Usage and Storage shaped by Imperial academic


Professor Geoffrey Maitland

A new government action plan for mitigating climate change is based on the work of the Carbon Capture Usage and Storage Cost Challenge Taskforce.

Cover of Delivering clean growth: CCUS Cost Challenge Taskforce report As world leaders meet in Katowice, Poland to discuss how they are achieving the climate change targets outlined in the 2015 Paris Agreement, the Government has published a plan to deploy Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) in the UK. The work is heavily based on a report from the Carbon Capture Usage and Storage Cost Challenge Taskforce, on which Professor Geoffrey Maitland of the Department of Chemical Engineering played a crucial role.

 “I believe that CCUS will a key part in decarbonising our modern society so we can meet the international 1.5°C target,” says Professor Maitland, “CCUS is not about continuing to use fossil fuels instead of renewables; there are many industrial processes that need the technology, like concrete production or steel-making, as well as large-scale production of hydrogen for decarbonised heating and transport, in addition to using it on power stations while we fully transition to renewable electricity.”

In my opinion this is an important statement of intent from the Government ... The UK should be seen to be leading the way with CCUS Professor Geoffrey Maitland

The strategy laid out by the Government in the report demonstrates how the country will develop and roll-out CCUS technologies at scale. One particularly ambitious aspect of the work is to commission the UK’s first ever commercial CCUS facility by the mid-2020s.

Much of the plan is based on recommendations from the Government’s own CCUS Cost Challenge Taskforce. The group was setup to inform and propose a strategic plan for supporting the development of CCUS. It published its report in July of this year with a series of recommendations to meet UK’s Clean Growth Strategy.

 “In my opinion this is an important statement of intent from the Government,” says Professor Maitland, “The UK should be seen to be leading the way with CCUS and if all of our accepted recommendations are implemented along with the other wide ranging commitments, we could be standard-bearers in the sector.”

Alongside the commercial CCUS facility the government has also committed to investing up to £335 million in demonstration projects and helping to decarbonise a wide range of industries

Professor Maitland is optimistic about the future but also thinks the Government should be less cautious. “This is a long way from the cancelled CCS competition back in 2015,” he said, “But I think we need to be encouraging businesses, possibly through tax incentives, to deploy CCUS technologies quickly whilst the cost of the technology is being brought down by building multiple plants at scale rather than expecting costs to drop based on a single project.”


Neasan O'Neill

Neasan O'Neill
Faculty of Engineering

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