Carbon capture and storage

The capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced, for example, by power stations and energy-intensive industry and its secure long-term storage. This research area includes air capture, transportation of CO2, permanent storage and utilisation options, and the integration of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies into current energy systems. Novel next-generation capture technologies are a major element. Research in this area should be related to the reduction of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. This excludes the utilisation of captured carbon into chemicals, as this is outside the remit of this Research Area.

We are open to interdisciplinary research that seeks to address the current Energy Challenges. We still expect to fund discovery research but are supportive of challenge focused research proposals.

We anticipate a development in CCS towards Bioenergy and CCS (BECCS), Hydrogen production and the decarbonisation challenge.

The Energy Programme has previously recognised the significance of CCS research in the energy landscape and has therefore invested in the UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre (UKCCSRC) to provide focus and co-ordination for underpinning CCS research and networking opportunities for the research community and stakeholders, as well as to develop CCS capacity within the UK.

The Energy Programme expects to:

  • Continue supporting UKCCSRC and CCS community in collaborating with industry, Government (CCUS Council), non-governmental organisations and other energy stakeholders.
  • Continue to support the CCS community as the requirement of CCS has become essential to 2050 Net Zero targets and to prepare the community for incoming investment and translation of research within CCS and Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS).
  • Provide evidence for developing and delivering an effective CCS strategy for efficient and significant impact. This includes working with the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC) to consider a socio-economic, political and environmental approach when addressing technical issues surrounding cost reduction, risk reduction and integrating carbon capture using a whole-systems approach. There is an expectation for researchers to engage across to Research Councils remits to understand the perception of CCS when developing technology, when assessing appropriate Biomass feedstocks.
  • Ensure capacity and capability are available for the future of CCS by training and knowledge transfer via early-career and established-career fellowships. The CCS community should utilise skills and best practises from the oil and gas community in preparation for the positive shift in the landscape.
Highlights:

CCS is a crucial technology to mitigate against emissions of Greenhouse Gas Removal, decarbonisation of electricity, industry and production of low carbon hydrogen for heating and transport. CCS is an evolving area of research that is expected to play a significant role in helping the UK meet its energy requirements and environmental targets at least cost (Evidence source 6-13). The Research Area features in a number of official documents, including energy reports and roadmaps that feed into future UK energy strategies (Evidence source 1-6).

In this context, CCS is considered an area of critical importance to meet the UK's climate targets at a reasonable cost, while also meeting increasing energy demands. (Evidence source 1,2,4,5). Furthermore, reports have identified a requirement for development of sustainable BECCS solutions to meet net zero emissions (evidence source 7-9, 12). The publication of the Clean Growth Strategy has further influenced official documents and  reports that have increased support of CCS by way of investment from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS); a CCU demonstrator programme, CCUS innovation programme and the second phase of Accelerating CCS Technology (ACT) (Evidence Source 7-11).

The Energy Programme recognises the multidisciplinary nature of this area and encourages the UKCCSRC, the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Carbon Capture and Storage and Cleaner Fossil Energy and Centre for Doctoral Training in Resilient Decarbonised Fuel Energy Systems to work closely to build and maintain capacity. UK capacity is further strengthened by collaborations with NERC, ESRC and the BBSRC to ensure consideration of a whole-energy-system approach when addressing short, medium and long-term strategies to accelerate deployment and integration of CCS into the energy system.

The CCS Research Area naturally has close links with the Fossil Fuel Power Generation, Bioenergy, Hydrogen and Alternative Vectors, Materials for Energy Application and Catalysis research areas. The NERC-led Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) programme and the CO2 Chem Network funded by the Physical Sciences Theme are notable links to the CCS Research Area. Links with industry are clearly present and are likely to increase with recent and coming innovation and strategic investments into CCS (evidence source 10-11,13).

Countries including the US, Canada, Australia, China and Norway are keen to engage with the UK regarding CCS developments; this indicates the quality of the UK's unique research outputs in this field and its international standing. In particular, the Pilot-scale Advanced Capture Technology (PACT) facilities hosted by the University of Sheffield have drawn particular attention from the wider international community and are a key resource for CCS research. EPSRC and NERC, alongside BEIS, have contributed to investment in second phase of Accelerating CCS Technologies (ACT), which has the ambition of accelerating and maturing CCUS technology (Evidence Source 11).

Particularly aligns with Resilient and Productive Nation Outcomes and the following specific Ambitions:

R1: Achieve energy security and efficiency

Developments in CCS are considered to have a potentially significant impact on reducing UK greenhouse gas emissions, allowing the UK flexibility in continuing to use fossil fuels if required.

R2: Ensure a reliable infrastructure which underpins the UK economy

By designing and developing technologies that can be retrospectively fitted to existing fossil fuel power plants, the UK can continue using fossil fuel power (as required) and, at the same time, work towards environmental targets.

R5: Build new tools to adapt to and mitigate climate change

The concept of CCS and surrounding technologies aims to alleviate the negative effects of using fossil fuel resources.

P1: Introduce the next generation of innovative and disruptive technologies

By continuing CCS research, the cost of CCS technologies will decrease. This is expected to have a significant impact on policy, whereby a demonstrator programme will be initiated that has great potential to lead to innovative and disruptive products.

P3: Establish a new place for industry that is built upon a 'make it local, make it bespoke' approach

Deployment and implementation of CCS will ensure that there are affordable solutions to meet energy demand and enrich local communities. CCS research has the potential to refresh and positively disrupt the energy sector.

  1. The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), Carbon Capture and Storage: Building the UK Carbon Capture and Storage Sector by 2030 - Scenarios and Actions (PDF), (2015).
  2. Committee on Climate Change (CCC), Meeting Carbon Budgets: 2016 Progress Report to Parliament (PDF), (2016).
  3. Energy Research Partnership (ERP), Managing Flexibility Whilst Decarbonising the GB Electricity System (PDF), (2015).
  4. HM Treasury, Sustainability in the Spending Review (PDF), (2016).
  5. Parliamentary Advisory Group on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) - Lowest Cost Decarbonisation for the UK: The Critical Role of CCS, (2016).
  6. UKERC, The costs and impacts of intermittency – 2016 update, (2017)
  7. Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering, Greenhouse Gas Removal, (2017)
  8. BEIS, The Clean Growth Strategy, (2018).
  9. BEIS, Industrial Strategy, (2018).
  10. BEIS, The UK carbon capture usage and storage deployment pathway: an action plan, 2018
  11. BEIS, Accelerating CCS Technologies, (2018)
  12. Committee on Climate Change, Net Zero: UK’s contribution to stopping global warming, (2019).
  13. BEIS, Energy Needs Innovation Assessment, (2019)

Research area connections

This diagram shows the top 10 connections between Research Areas within the EPSRC research portfolio. The depth of the segment relates to value of grants and the width of the segment relates to the number of grants shared by those two Research Areas. Please click to see the related Research Area rationale.

Visualising our Portfolio (VoP)
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EPSRC support by research area in Carbon capture and storage (GoW)
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Contact Details

In the following table, contact information relevant to the page. The first column is for visual reference only. Data is in the right column.

Name: Elizabeth Bent
Job title: Portfolio Manager
Department: Energy
Organisation: EPSRC
Telephone: 01793 444426