The UK government is awarding £54 million to 15 projects to develop technologies that remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere. The money will help projects further develop their greenhouse gas removal technologies, which include a machine that can pull carbon dioxide out of the air, a plant to convert household waste into hydrogen for use in the transport industry, and a system to remove carbon dioxide from seawater.
The funding comes under Phase 2 of the Direct Air Capture and Greenhouse Gas Removal technologies competition.
The competition is worth a total of £60 million (US$72 million). In phase one, 23 winners received a share of £5.6 million (US$6.7 million). Of those, 15 have progressed to phase two and will receive a share of the £54.4 million, taking their projects through to the demonstration phase, and towards the successful commercialization of their technologies.
The program provides support for four main types of greenhouse gas removal:
Direct Air Carbon Capture (DACC) - DACC technology uses chemical reactions to capture carbon dioxide from the air as it passes through the system. The carbon dioxide can then be permanently stored or used in various products or applications.
Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) – captures and stores carbon from organic materials, converting it into useful energy such as heat, electricity, liquid or gas fuels.
Biochar - This is a form of charcoal produced when organic matter is burned without oxygen. The biochar is rich in carbon and can be used as a fertilizer.
Seawater - The oceans naturally absorb carbon dioxide but because of a large increase in carbon dioxide emissions from our activities the oceans absorb more than previously. The result is that the oceans are becoming more acidic. Seawater GGR technology can remove CO2 from seawater directly to help restore this natural balance.
The Phase 2 projects are:
Advanced Biofuel Solutions Ltd., “Biohydrogen Greenhouse Gas Removal Demonstration”. The project will construct, commission and operate a demonstration plant that will take a synthesis gas produced from household waste and convert it into low carbon hydrogen for use in road transport while capturing carbon dioxide from the process for use in industry. Project funding: £4,750,429.16.
Black Bull Biochar Ltd., “The Biochar Platform”. This project seeks to pilot a business-to-business (B2B) platform that creates the first fully integrated biochar system in the world, enabling the sustainable scale up of biochar as a GGR technology. Starting with biochar, we see a future where suppliers and users of Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) technologies are connected through our easy-to-use online platform that allows them to buy, sell and verify the impacts of their GGR solution. This will transform the GGR market at pace, delivering over 50,000 t of carbon removal by 2030. Project Funding: £2,997,622.15.
Cambridge Carbon Capture Ltd., “Direct Air CO2 Capture and Mineralization (DACMIN)”. The Direct Air CO2 Capture and Mineralization (DACMIN) project aims to deliver a pilot plant capturing 100 tonnes per year of CO2 directly from the air using Cambridge Carbon Capture Ltd. CO2LOC technology. The project will successfully construct, operate, test, refine and evaluate the CO2LOC processes and technologies and provide data to support a computer model of a full-scale plant designed to deliver 50kt CO2 capture per annum. Project Funding: £2,999,964.00.
CO2CirculAir B.V., “SMART-DAC”. The novel SMART-DAC technology is a natural wind driven process that captures CO2 directly from air using membrane gas absorption with a liquid absorbent and regeneration of the absorbent by electrodialysis. CO2CirculAir’s a smart-buffer system assures a continuous 24h/d CO2 absorption and enables the use of low-cost electricity for regeneration at moments of surplus or by direct use of electricity from solar cells or wind turbines. Innovative SMART-DAC features are: 1) A natural wind driven (zero energy costs) fully continuous 24/7 absorption process 2) The use of chemically stable, non-volatile and not noxious absorbent 3) No use of heat, only electricity and 4) scale-up by numbers, not by size. Project Funding: £2,941,301.44.
Coal Products Limited (CPL), “Bio-waste to biochar (B to B) via Hydrothermal Carbonization and Post-Carbonization”. Biochar can potentially make a major contribution to the UK target for Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) of 35M tonnes of carbon (MtC) p.a. by 2050. However, there are some significant challenges to overcome, particularly the availability of feedstocks where supply of virgin wood could be limited. Biowaste, particularly anaerobic digestate, has significant potential to extend the range of feedstocks for biochar production. This pilot will establish the feasibility of the “Biowaste to Biochar”(B to B) approach and optimize process design and operation for large-scale biochar production. Project Funding: £4,997,822.00.
Ince Bio Power Limited, “Ince Bioenergy Carbon Capture & Storage (INBECCS) - Phase 2”. The Ince Bioenergy Carbon Capture & Storage (INBECCS) Project (Phase 2) will design and deliver a 10 tonne per day (tpd) carbon capture pilot plant safely and cost effectively at the heart of the HyNet North West industrial cluster. It aims to pioneer the first commercial scale carbon capture on a biomass waste gasification facility in an area of the UK which is aligned to the UK government policy for Net Zero carbon status by 2050, the Industrial Clusters Mission and the North West Cluster Plan. The pilot plant will be located at the Protos Energy Park near Ellesmere Port. Project Funding: £4,992,408.30.
KEW Projects Ltd, “CCH₂: Carbon Capture and Hydrogen”. The project will demonstrate a modular, cost effective BECCSH2 system capable of delivering 50ktCO2/year of GGR during 2025-2030 and scaling to a potential 24 MtCO2/year in the subsequent decade. The CCH2 demonstration will combine two major units (TRL6) into an innovative and fully integrated BECCS hydrogen system. Project Funding: £4,998,409.19.
Lapwing Energy Limited, “Reverse Coal”. Reverse Coal is an engineered natural solution to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and bury it back into the geological reserve in the form of a carbon rich char, akin to coal. Reverse Coal is a disruptive system change that can be scaled to remove in excess of 1Mt of CO2 a year, supporting the UK in delivering its Net Zero strategy. Lowland peat is rewet preventing CO2 emissions from the oxidation of peat, wetland trees and reeds are planted to produce sustainable biomass that captures CO2 from the atmosphere. The woody biomass is heated to produce energy and solid carbon. The carbon is then buried in deposits which can be easily monitored and verified to confirm long term carbon sequestration. Finally, the energy released from the process is used in indoor agriculture producing year-round fresh produce which the UK is currently less than 60% self-sufficient in.
The pilot will be on The Lapwing Estate based in the heart of the historic Midlands coal fields. This new model will not only deliver carbon sequestration, it will also prevent further emissions from drained peatland, enhance biodiversity, create natural flood protection, improve water quality, enhance food security, decarbonize agriculture and create skilled jobs as part of the Government’s levelling up agenda. Project Funding: £2,999,822.60.
Mission Zero Technologies Ltd, “Project DRIVE (Direct Removal through Innovative Valorization of Emissions)”. Project DRIVE is led by Mission Zero Technologies alongside Optimus Plus (Aberdeen) and O.C.O Technology to build, deliver, and operate a 120 tCO2/year DAC pilot plant based on Mission Zero’s IP. With an energy efficient, heat free, and continually operable DAC system, Mission Zero’s DAC technology has the potential to reduce the costs and energy consumption of DAC by 3-5 times compared to today’s levels and brings CO2-to-value applications that also permanently lock away carbon, like O.C.O Technology’s manufactured limestone (M-LS) production, into greater focus. This pilot plant is the first key step in realising that potential. Project Funding: £2,997,822.16.
NNB Generation Company (SZC) Limited, “DAC powered by Nuclear Power Plant”. Sizewell C, together with its partners, University of Nottingham, Strata Technology, Atkins and Doosan Babcock, is developing and constructing an innovative heat-powered DAC demonstrator plant that could in the future be scaled up and integrated with the Sizewell C power plant.
Heat from a nuclear power plant is the cheapest form of low-carbon heat (according to a recent study by Columbia University) and the unique heat-powered DAC design will offer increased efficiency and less reliance on electricity compared to existing DAC technology. A future scaled-up implementation could contribute substantially towards the decarbonization of difficult-to-decarbonize sectors and help the UK achieve its Net-Zero ambitions. For example, a larger DAC plant integrated with Sizewell C could utilise c.400MWth of heat from the power plant to capture 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year which is enough to almost offset the UK’s entire emissions from railway transport. Project Funding: £3,000,000.00.
Ricardo UK Ltd, “BIOCCUS”. This project aims to design, build and test an innovative biomass pyrolysis based cogeneration system with biochar production and carbon capture, utilization and storage (BIOCCUS) to enable highly significant, practical and scalable GGR systems to help progression towards net zero carbon. The BIOCCUS system uses forestry waste to create biochar, CO2, electricity and heat. Project Funding: £2,986,349.43.
Rolls-Royce plc, “ENCORE (ENvironmental CO2 REmover) Phase 2”. Rolls Royce plc and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) (Australia) are combining world leading capabilities to enable the widespread, low-cost removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The ENCORE system uses a low regeneration temperature, highly durable and non-toxic absorption liquid technology, coupled with engineering expertise, to provide a highly efficient and flexible product. Project Funding: £2,812,704.12.
SAC Commercial, “GreenShed”. GreenShed addresses the need for the livestock farming sector to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions whilst improving productivity, by developing an integrated low carbon, circular, cattle and vertical farming system, which captures methane (Global Warming Potential (GWP) 26 times greater than carbon dioxide (CO2) over 100 years) from housed cattle and utilises its combustion outputs (heat, power, CO2) to yield low carbon produce (meat, vegetables/fruits) and optimise resource efficiency. If implemented across the sector this could equate to 50% GHG reduction from these systems. No system currently captures and scrubs methane from housed cattle, and utilises outputs from its combustion (heat, power, CO2). Project Funding: £2,934,428.75.
Severn Wye Energy Agency, “Mersey Biochar”. The Mersey Biochar project, led by Severn Wye and Pure Leapfrog, two charities with a drive to deliver community scale zero carbon energy solutions, combines innovative and existing technologies to create a carbon negative, community scale, flexible power and heat process. The vision is for small scale biochar processing facilities to be connected onto communal and district heat networks, decarbonizing heat and providing flexible dispatchable power into the grid from the projects innovative energy storage system. The process not only removes carbon from atmosphere, but critically it tackles the two of the biggest challenges in the energy transition, the decarbonization of heat and the provision of zero carbon peak demand energy. This is achieved by using biochar pyrolysis technology designed by Pyrocore, to turn underutilized biomass feedstocks from local and sustainable sources into biochar, capturing carbon in a stable structure which is then sequestered for generations. The pilot site location will be in Warrington. Project Funding: £4,994,312.28.
University of Exeter, “SeaCURE”. The SeaCURE system makes use of the natural behavior of the carbon cycle - the ‘sucking’ of CO2 from the atmosphere in response to the atmosphere-ocean CO2 gradient generated by rising atmospheric CO2 levels. SeaCURE massively accelerates this process by stripping >90% of the CO2 out of the seawater so that the CO2 gradient between air and seawater is enhanced, and the amount of CO2 removed from the atmosphere is dramatically increased. This approach offers enormous benefits over direct removal of CO2 from air, primarily because of the much higher CO2 concentration in seawater than in air and the availability of the vast surface area of the ocean to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. Project Funding: £2,999,848.34.