Spring Conference 2022 ECR blog series #3- highlights from Plenary session 1: UK ongoing capacity initiatives (blog 1)

As part of our Spring Conference ECR blog series, Michael High, Imperial College London shares his experience of Plenary Session 1: UK ongoing capacity initiatives.

Plenary session 1: UK ongoing capacity initiatives

The session was opened Gerard Davies from EPSRC. I was impressed to see how different parts of the CCS chain cut across different UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) research councils. When looking at CCS in the way I could understand how cross-council collaboration of researchers in different fields is needed to accelerate the deployment of CCS. The new five-year UKRI strategy, “transforming tomorrow together”, set a good tone for the beginning of the conference.

Jen Roberts who recently joined UKCCSRC as Deputy Director and ECR lead highlighted what the centre has achieved since 2017. UKCCSRC has made a profound impact through research papers, network building, knowledge exchange, and policy in the UK and globally. As an ECR, Jen’s focus on equality, diversity and inclusion during their talk was welcomed and is surely a good sign of things to come.

Next to present was Mercedes Maroto-Valer of the UK Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC) launched last year. Mercedes showed a breakdown of the emissions at each cluster by industry type. I had not appreciated the true diversity of the UK clusters. IDRIC has already made an impact and has been mentioned in several key government reports on industrial decarbonisation. It is exciting to what impact their recently funded projects will make on the UK CCS landscape.

The need for public acceptance and to influence public perception was cited in many of the conference sessions I attended. Mathieu Lucquiaud spoke about a free online course they developed with the University of Edinburgh and open online course platform EdX. Many of the course users had completed tertiary education but a significant amount had high school education as their highest level of education – a group we need to target and educate on CCS. There is still a lot of work to be done to engage and inform the public but I’m optimistic about the future of public acceptance if the CCS community works together to show the safety, need, and carbon credentials of CCS.

Ruth Herbert of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CSSA) closed the session by outlining the steps that need to be taken in order to accelerate the deployment of CCS to meet net-zero targets. From their talk, it was clear that the next five years are critical for the success of CCS in the UK. Ruth injected an atmosphere of ambition into the room and gave the impression that the UK CCS community is fired up and ready to deliver.

I would like to thank the UKCCSRC for supporting my attendance at the UKCCSRC Conference.

EdX course: https://www.edx.org/course/climate-change-carbon-capture-and-storage

CCSA CCUS Delivery Plan 2035: https://www.ccsassociation.org/all-news/ccsa-news/ccsa-calls-for-increased-ccus-roll-out-to-empower-uks-industrial-regions/