UKCCSRC Spring 2024 Conference – Welcome and Opening Keynote (ECR Meeting Fund)

Kofo Awodun (Brunel University London), Azibayam Amabogha (University of Glasgow), Meisam Ansarpour (University of Wolverhampton) & Sunera Athauda (Cranfield University) share their takeaways from the Welcome and Opening Keynote talk at the UKCCSRC Spring 2024 Conference.

Jon Gibbins (UKCCSRC Director and Professor at the University of Sheffield) welcomed attendees, highlighting the significance of the conference for Early Career Researchers (ECRs) to network and collaborate on decarbonization efforts. He introduced the UKCCSRC Flexible Funding 2024 and encouraged researchers to leverage the opportunities presented at the conference.

Figure 1 – Jon Gibbins (UKCCSRC Director) welcoming all attendees to the 2024 Spring Conference

After this, he went ahead to introduce the keynote speaker – Nicola O’Dowd.

Nicola O’Dowd is a Senior Policy Advisor at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) leading the Power CCUS project within Track-1 of the Cluster Sequencing Programme. She joined the programme at the time of assessment of the initial capture project submissions, and has followed the development through to this latest critical stage of the programme. She transitioned into this sector following a successful career as a geoscientist within the seismic industry.

Nicola delivered the keynote speech on “CCUS Policy in the UK,” emphasizing the necessity of Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) for climate preservation. She outlined projects for 2024, including the HyNet Project and the East Coast Cluster Project. She shared DESNZ’s CCUS vision with attendees, which encompasses 4 things:

  • Decarbonising for future generations – Aligning to a carbon budget compliant CO2 abatement pathway
  • Global leader – Exporting the UK supply chain to help other countries build CCUS, as well as using UK CO2 stores to sequester other countries’ emissions
  • Creating growth and supporting levelling up – Creating low carbon inward investment opportunities through support for a UK CCUS sector
  • Building a self-sustaining CCUS sector – Increasing private sector confidence in a growing CCUS market that leads to a reduction in government support

Figure 2 – Nicola O’Dowd giving the keynote address

This vision is expected to be executed in three phases. Nicola introduced the “CCUS Vision: Three Phase Model” consisting of:

  1. Market Creation Phase (now until 2030)
  2. Market Transition Phase (2030 – 2035)
  3. Self-sustaining Market Phase (2035 onwards)

She stated that 2023 was a landmark year for DESNZ with the passing of the Energy Act, and highlighted the 2024 expectations including:

  • Concluding on the Final Investment Decisions for Track 1 Projects
  • Expression of interest, submission and subsequent launch of Track 1 expansion for HyNet
  • Assessment of store readiness for Track 1 expansion in the East Coast Cluster
  • Engaging with Acorn and Viking directly on next steps
  • Working to develop a plan for the delivery outlined in the CCUS vision

She concluded by urging ambition and perseverance in driving CCUS initiatives forward, saying, “We need to continue to dream big, to be ambitious and to drive forward”.