This blog was co-authored by Alexandros Argyris and Yoga Wienda Pratama.
The main session of the UKCCSRC Spring 2019 Conference in Cardiff was opened by an update from BEIS and EPSRC. An update from BEIS was presented by Brian Allison, Assistant Head CCUS R&D, Innovation and International Engagement, who talked about the UK Government action plan on the development of carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS). He said that this action is not only within the UK but also includes multi-lateral collaboration between the UK and other countries. The action plan is aimed to enable the first CCUS facility deployment in the UK in the mid-2020s, to fulfil the UK’s ambition to have CCUS being deployed at scale during the 2030s as an option to meet the decarbonisation targets. In his presentation, Brian emphasised the UK’s vision to ultimately become a global leader of CCUS.
To achieve those goals, the plan includes the BEIS Energy Innovation Programme that is now being continued where up to £ 100 million of funding has been allocated to support industry and innovation on CCUS cost reduction to allow the technology’s deployment in the UK. In addition to that, the action also includes an agenda to address cross-border transport of CO2 which is vital to globally accelerate CCUS development.
Brian also mentioned the current ongoing initiative the UK is participating in, Accelerating CCS Technologies (ACT). The initiative consists of eleven countries that are working together to accelerate CCUS through not only technical R&Ds but also social acceptance comprehension of CCUS deployment.
Following Brian’s presentation, Lizzy Bent, who is the Energy Program Portfolio manager for EPSRC, took over to give the audience a full presentation of EPSRC’s research goals. The presentation started with the role of EPSRC as a member of the UKRI family. As informed, the Research Council’s energy program in terms of energy, focuses on enhancing security of supply, reduced emissions and reducing cost.
We were very interested in the proposed decarbonization budget, which was the biggest compared to the other sectors with £170M. It is of high importance to see that this is becoming the No.1 priority in terms of research and that the concern is finally risen. Very important also is that all programs will be done in partnership with industry and the UK Research & Innovation team.
Later on, Lizzy presented the main axis the EPSRC focuses on in terms of their projects which are: balancing capability, building leadership and accelerating impact. We found it quite interesting that EPSRC maintains high funding in most energy-related programs but in many of them it increases balancing. More specifically, for research field ‘Carbon Capture and Storage’ it has 20 grants with a value of 20.9M. During her speech she was very encouraging to mobilize researchers to submit their proposals to EPSRC and what is the right process to do that.
As a conclusion, it is very important to see EPSRC focusing on research relevant to environmental issues and to see that Carbon Capture and Storage is one of the main governing research areas.