The renewed UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre (UKCCSRC) provides key fundamental research and coordination activities to help the UK to meet future energy targets. Building on the success of the current UKCCSRC, the new centre grant, starting in 2017, supports a whole-systems based research programme and is an inclusive national hub to set CCS research strategies, coordinate research delivery, promote community cohesion, and act as vehicle for industrial and stakeholder involvement.
The new Centre is led by the University of Sheffield, with partners the British Geological Survey, University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh, University of Nottingham and Imperial College and additional investigators from Cardiff University, Cranfield University, University of Manchester, University of Strathclyde and University College London. An experienced Director and Centre Manager are supported by three Deputy Director research leads and the wider co-investigator team. Governance is through a Board appointed by the EPSRC.
The Centre operates a Scientific Council to link all UK research activities and an Independent Advisory Panel comprising stakeholders from Government, regulators, industry and trade associations. The CCS Network links together all with an interest in CCS. Comprehensive stakeholder engagement and the whole systems insights from the Centre’s research will play a key role in developing the short, medium and long term strategies needed to accelerate the deployment of CCS in the UK.
International research links will be extended through collaborations with other world-leading CCS centres, participation in international initiatives (including CSLF, IEAGHG, GCCSI, UNECE) and an Associate Membership programme for leading researchers. The UKCCSRC will lead on coordinating international CCS strategy and activities, raising the UK’s profile and ability to compete internationally.
Postgraduate training and Early Career Researcher support are delivered in close partnership with the CCS CDT at Nottingham. The new centre also supports data and knowledge transfer and promotes shared facilities.
The core research programme has three linked themes: storage, capture and systems. On storage, the recent Oxburgh Report highlighted work on residual storage uncertainties and transfer of long-term liability. Understanding of pressure increase and efficient use of reservoir pore-space are cross-cutting UK research priorities. Research topics include pressure migration and plume migration within storage reservoirs with impacts for geomechanical security, plume stability and site monitorability.
The capture theme focuses on next generation CO2 capture technologies and processes including high and low temperature solids-based cycles and links closely to the systems work. Detailed modelling of each process investigated together with results from other work on BECCS (using the PACT facilities), integrated electricity and hydrogen production from natural gas and supercritical CO2 cycles is used to produce data for integration into overall UK systems studies.
Work on UK-wide systems includes linking demand for heat and power, energy markets, industrial demand, CO2 transport infrastructure, and CO2 storage and greenhouse gas removal technologies (GGRs, particularly BECCS). The overall objective is to provide inputs into existing UK-wide energy system modelling and Integrated Assessment Models. We also examine ‘social license to operate’ for fossil-fired CCS as well as BECCS.
Building on the core research programme and a supplementary £1.5M flexible funds for open research calls, the Centre will act as a mechanism for the research community to coordinate applications for additional funding for fundamental research from the Research Councils and other sources. The Centre will also support initiatives to take the outputs of research forward in collaboration with applied research funding agencies and industry.