Announcing our next funding phase: the UKCCSRC Network+!

We’re thrilled to announce that the Centre has received funding from the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), as part of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Energy Programme, to continue its work until September 2025, in the form of a new Network+ programme.

The UK is seeing an unprecedented rise in CCS activity, with deployment planned to go from currently nothing to 10 million tonnes of CO2 captured and stored per year by 2030, followed by two decades with average growth of 10-15% per year to deliver around 100 MtCO2/yr by 2050 to underpin the UK’s net-zero target. Networking by the UK CCS Research Centre, as an inclusive and open virtual national hub, has helped to start now-mainstream UK initiatives on industrial decarbonisation (2012) and CCS clusters (2016) and has continued to grow with innovative online activities such as its virtual conferenceseveral web seriesCCUS for Net Zero seminars plus upcoming regular web events, and focused support throughout the COVID epidemic. The new grant will deliver seamless continuity and expansion of these services to a UK CCS community (currently with over 600 academic members (including Early Career Researchers) and over 1,000 wider network links) that has to expand and diversify rapidly to deliver the 2030 targets, and will also help to develop UK capacity to meet the equally-great challenges of the following decades.

The new grant brings in new Co-Investigators Dr Ben Wetenhall (Newcastle University) and Dr Jen Roberts (University of Strathclyde – Deputy Director & ECR Champion) alongside Dr Kyra Sedransk Campbell (University of Sheffield – EDI Champion), Dr Clair Gough (University of Manchester), Dr David Reiner (University of Cambridge), Professor Paul Fennell (Imperial College London), Professor Richard Marsh (Cardiff University), and Professor Stuart Haszeldine (University of Edinburgh). Principal Investigator Professor Jon Gibbins (University of Sheffield) will continue as Director.

The UKCCSRC’s overall aim with its new funding is to maintain a UK scientific lead in CCS, behind only the much larger USA and China, that the existence of an inclusive EPSRC-supported CCS network since 2009 has helped to establish, and to ensure that this lead is translated into wealth creation and commercial advantages for the UK via strong and focused networking with a successful CCS industry sector.

The UKCCSRC Network+ will be essential to support a broadening of the UK research base to include a much wider range of scientific disciplines, matching the increasingly complex research challenges of deployment. The UKCCSRC Network+ will also play a key part in building new high-tech CCS industries, with scope for extensive learning-by-doing once the first UK CCS plants are in service and CO2 transport and storage infrastructure is in place for new projects to use.

People, principles and planning are the keys to successful networking. The UKCCSRC 2022 delivery team brings a diverse set of talents and backgrounds, a rigorous ethos of inclusivity, openness, scientific excellence, hard work and friendly engagement, and includes solid experience, over many years, of how to plan and deliver a networking programme, with activities and services that are educational, in the broadest sense, and also enjoyable and exciting.

The Network+ programme will help the UK get the most value from its world-leading CCS, and wider, academic community by linking research producers and research users, with four main tasks:

  1. To support the rapid growth planned in UK deployment across the full range of CCS activities required for delivering net-zero (i.e. capture from all sources and all forms of secure, long-term storage, and the full range of states of commercial readiness) using the best science available.
  2. To develop the new science to underpin future improvements and cost reduction in areas of CCS where the UK has a strategic need or advantage and help translate this into a wealth-creating UK industry sector.
  3. To grow the capacity in people, infrastructure and institutions to meet the sustained long-term expansion required in CCS out to 2050 and beyond.
  4. To devise and deliver open-access fast-track research projects.

EPSRC Deputy Director for Cross-Council Programmes Dr Lucy Martin said: “Carbon capture and storage was identified as a pre-requisite for achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions in the UK by the Committee for Climate Change Net Zero report as it will enable us to capture, store and utilise greenhouse emissions from essential processes that cannot be decarbonised and potentially save the UK tens of billions of pounds over the next two decades.

“The UK Carbon Capture and Storage Centre has already delivered significant impact across technology and policy development, and this further funding will allow the Network+ to build on this success and help the UK achieve its net zero target by 2050.”

Jeremy Carey, UKCCSRC Board Chair said: “The UKCCSRC Network+ will build on its existing networks to create a diverse and vibrant ecosystem of CCS stakeholders. Enabling people to connect, exchange ideas and share successes will help accelerate CCS toward commercial deployment as a key pillar of the UK’s net-zero trajectory.”

Dr Bryony Livesey, Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge Director, said: “The UKCCSRC has an excellent track record of building networks and sharing knowledge around the CCS community, both in the UK and internationally. Knowledge sharing is of crucial importance to achieving cost-effective decarbonisation and so I am delighted to know that the UKCCSRC Network+ will be in place to continue to support all the stakeholders in the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge during this important phase of project development.”

Thank you to EPSRC and UKRI, and well done to all involved in the proposal. We’re so pleased to be able to continue our work at such a critical time for CCS.

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