A pioneering north-east project for tackling carbon emissions received a huge funding boost today.
The UK Government announced the award of £4.8 million for Acorn, a carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) project at St Fergus gas plant near Peterhead.
Aberdeenshire firm Pale Blue Dot, which runs Acorn, said the award showed Westminster was serious about meeting its low carbon objectives.
A total of £26m was spread across nine UK projects to “accelerate the rollout” of carbon capture technology as the country strives for net zero emissions by 2050.
The cash injection from the UK, combined with EU funds, will be used to pay for detailed design work on Acorn.
That stage should last about 18 months and provide all the information required to make a final investment decision on the scheme.
It would use existing oil and gas infrastructure to store carbon dioxide underground in depleted North Sea fields, reducing pollution and helping tackle climate change.
Bosses at Pale Blue Dot believe they can have Acorn up and running by 2023-24.
Steve Murphy, the company’s finance director, said: “We are delighted. This is a real signal that the UK Government is trying to do something concrete to meet its Clean Growth Strategy objectives by putting money into a project that is tangible.
“Acorn is not a study or a research project, it is real. It can be up and running in four years.
“We are excited for the project and the business and for the UK being able to mitigate and reduce emissions.”
Energy and Clean Growth Minister Chris Skidmore said: “The funding the government is awarding today puts the UK at the forefront of the rollout of this technology and demonstrates how our Clean Growth Strategy is delivering for all parts of the country.”
Scottish Conservative MP for Banff and Buchan, David Duguid, said: “This money is a resounding vote of confidence of this UK Government in CCUS, and development of the technology across all parts of the country.
“The UK has the will and potential to become the world leader in carbon capture as part of its aim to reach net zero by 2050.”