Pump CO2 Into Rocks, Report Urges

Pump CO2 Into Rocks, Report Urges
September 12 11:17 2016 Print This Article

(BBC) – The costs of tackling climate change can be slashed if a network of pipes is built to store waste carbon dioxide under the North Sea, a report says.

The technology – carbon capture and storage (CCS) – involves pumping CO2 emissions from power stations into rock formations.

It is expensive, but parliamentary advisors say the costs can be halved.

Savings can be achieved if the system to deliver the London Olympics is copied, they tell ministers.

The climate change minister Nick Hurd told BBC News he would welcome new ideas for promoting CCS.

The technology is regarded by many experts as an essential weapon in the battle against climate change as it allows the use of fossil fuels to continue until electricity storage for renewables improves.

But last November the government scrapped an industry competition to promote it, citing the £1bn cost.

Now the Parliamentary Advisory Group on CCS says a CO2 pipeline network created by the equivalent of a stand-alone Olympic delivery agency would solve the problem.

It says the publicly-owned network could reduce the UK’s bill for cutting CO2 emissions by billions of pounds a year – but only if the government takes a lead by creating the vast network of pipes that will be needed.

The report’s chairman, the geologist and former Shell chairman Lord Oxburgh, told BBC News: “There are some things that are best left to the private sector – but CCS on industry isn’t one of them.

“The network of pipes taking CO2 from industrial plant into the North Sea would be far beyond the commercial reach of individual companies. This needs government action.”

CCS uses a chemical process to strip CO2 emissions from the exhaust gases of industrial plant and power stations. The gas is then pushed through pipes before being pumped under pressure into rocks – to be stored (hopefully) for ever. The North Sea is ideal with its many depleted gas fields.

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