UK government opens £ 64million funding competition for carbon capture innovations


The UK government today (December 7) opened a new funding pot for innovators developing direct air capture (DAC) technologies and other greenhouse gas removal systems.

As part of the ten-point plan, the UK government plans to deliver 10 million tonnes of man-made carbon dioxide per year by the end of the decade.

The Direct Air Capture and Greenhouse Gas Removal program was first announced in June 2020, and today the second phase of the funding program is open for applications. Applicants are invited to bid for a share of £ 64million in grants.

Only projects that were selected during the first phase of the program will be eligible for phase two. The objective of this second phase is to bring the projects beyond the design and feasibility studies, which will have been supported in the first phase, to demonstration. The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) estimates that at least one of the supported projects will reach commercial operations by 2025.

A total of 24 projects were successful under the first phase of the program and there is a mix of artificial technologies in the cohort. They include bioenergy collocated with carbon capture and storage; DAC networks powered by nuclear energy and passive lime carbonation.

Funding for the program is provided through the government’s £ 1bn Net Zero Innovation Fund, first announced in the March budget.

The UK Climate Change Committee (CCC) recommends that the country prepare to capture 22 million tonnes of CO2e per year using man-made and nature-based methods by 2030, in order to meet its sixth commitment on carbon budget. The Committee warned this summer that current BEIS plans are expected to deliver just 10 million tonnes of catch per year by the end of the decade. Several influential investors and NGOs also recommend stronger action.

Artificial technologies are a “non-optional” component of the UK’s transition to net-zero, the CCC said, but several green groups warn they should not be positioned as a “silver bullet” – or a excuse for continuing high carbon practices or de-prioritizing nature-based solutions.

For context, global emissions in 2020 were 42 gigatonnes. Currently, artificial carbon removal solutions are estimated to capture only 38.5 million metric tonnes of CO2e per year; less than a thousandth of the world total. Although rapid expansion of capacity is expected, it is of course not guaranteed.

Financing energy efficiency

The eighth round of funding from the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund is also launched this week at BEIS, which provides grants to SMEs developing and developing new technologies that can improve energy efficiency and help organizations produce themselves. low carbon electricity and heat.

Initially, funding of £ 11million was planned for this phase, but BEIS brings the total to £ 30million. He said in a statement that the funding increase was made to accommodate “a large number of exceptional and high-quality applications.”

A total of 54 projects have been selected to receive a share of the funding this time around. They include Aerofoil, which applies technologies used in Formula 1 racing to improve the energy efficiency of supermarket refrigerators; Cedeco, which has developed a low-carbon alternative to grout for the foundations of offshore wind farms, and Guru Systems, which optimizes district heating networks for greater efficiency.

BEIS said in a statement that the strong use of the Fund by businesses “demonstrates the government’s willingness to support new ideas and encourage entrepreneurship, especially small businesses, to strengthen the UK in as a world leader in green innovation “.

Sarah george


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