Costain, the smart infrastructure solutions company, has won the next phase of work providing technical consultancy services to Pale Blue Dot Energy to deliver what could be the UK’s first carbon capture and storage (CCS) project and part of helping the energy and transport industries meet the Scottish and UK Government net-zero carbon emissions targets.
The Acorn CCS project is a low-cost, scalable carbon capture and storage scheme that will not only enable the cost-efficient capture and storage of current carbon emissions from the onshore gas facilities at the St Fergus terminal in Scotland, but is also a key enabler for the Acorn Hydrogen project where North Sea natural gas will be reformed into clean hydrogen for blending into the gas grid to decarbonise heating in homes and industries throughout the UK and potential use for other applications such as decarbonised transport.
The system is also designed to be an enabler of other capture and storage projects including the provision of CO2 shipping facilities in Peterhead Port and repurposing the existing Feeder 10 pipeline to enable capture of CO2 from Central Scotland. The current phase of the project is led by Pale Blue Dot Energy Ltd, supported by study partners Shell, Total and Chrysaor and part-funded through BEIS and INEA as a European Project of Common Interest.
Acorn is designed to be built quickly, taking advantage of existing oil and gas infrastructure and a well understood offshore CO2 storage site which has the first UK CO2 appraisal and storage licence to be awarded by the Oil and Gas Authority. The reuse of existing high capacity on and offshore pipelines will save up to £750 million on the overall Acorn project. The St Fergus gas terminal receives around 35% of all UK natural gas and provides direct access to the UK gas grid. In addition to this, St Fergus is located close to a high concentration of offshore CO2 storage sites making it an ideal hydrogen production and CCS hub.
Costain is providing concept design and front-end engineering design support, including onshore gas flue gas collection, CO2 capture integration, CO2 compression and conditioning located at St Fergus and offshore subsea systems design including the repurposing of the existing Goldeneye pipeline and a new CCS hub located near the Goldeneye Field. Costain will draw on its operational expertise and deep process industry knowledge gained over 70 years of overseeing the design and build, technology selection and optimisation for large-scale gas processing and separation facilities including CO2 and hydrogen separation in petrochemical, refinery and ammonia production applications.
Rob Phillips, energy sector director, Costain, said: “Hydrogen and CCS play a fundamental role in decarbonising gas for domestic and industrial heating, powering industry and large-scale transport. Large-scale and relatively cost-effective carbon capture at the source of production is key to unlocking this potential and is one of the many low carbon solutions Costain is progressing as part of leading the decarbonisation of the UK footprint and driving clean growth across the UK.
“This contract builds on work Costain has previously delivered on the scheme and extends our relationship with Pale Blue Dot Energy. The Acorn CCS project and other hydrogen initiatives we are involved with such as the North West Hydrogen Alliance and pioneering the deblending of hydrogen, will help enable CO2 capture and hydrogen production in the immediate term and pave the way for a hydrogen economy, bringing the UK much closer to a sustainable energy future.”
Russ Gilbert, project director, Acorn CCS, said: “Acorn is a critical project for realising the UK and Scotland’s Net Zero commitments. We are working extremely hard alongside our study partners: Chrysaor, Shell, and Total, to deliver the different phases of this project to a timeline that is fully aligned with the Government’s emission reduction targets and should achieve the first injection of CO2 into the Acorn store by 2024. In order to achieve this, we need to work with high-performing organisations that understand the importance of this work. Costain is one such organisation which has played a key role in helping us get the project to this stage due to their deep understanding of the existing oil and gas infrastructure, its re-use for CO2 service, associated technical processes and their experience in managing and delivering complex work programmes.”
Click here to read an article by our carbon capture expert Adrian Finn, detailing ways to capture carbon cost-effectively and recently published in Carbon Capture Journal.