Shell and National Grid join Scottish Power CCS consortium

Shell and National Grid have joined Scottish Power's carbon capture and storage (CCS) consortium, which aims to develop Britain's first commercial CCS system at Longannet coal-fired power station by 2014.

The companies join Norwegian CO2 removal specialist Aker Clean Carbon which is part of the consortium.

A prototype CCS system developed by Aker Clean carbon is already in operation at Longanet in Fife, Scotland. The prototype unit was commissioned in May 2009. The system weighs 30 tonnes and covers an area of 85 sq mtrs. It will be able to process 1,000 of exhaust gas per hour from Longannet.

Shell is involved in a number demonstration projects to capture and geologically store carbon dioxide. National Grid, the owner and operator of the UK's gas-pipeline stystem has expertise in high-pressure pipelines.

According to Scottish Power chief executive, Nick Horler, for the consortium the two companies represent a perfect fit as it strives reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 90 per cent from its power plant at Longannet. He added that the fact that a company of the size and scope of shell had chosen to join its Carbon-Capture consortium is a considerable coup and a significant boost to the company's efforts.

CCS received a boost earlier this year when Alistair Darling, chancellor of the exchequer, announced in his April budget that Britain would fund up to four CCS projects. The consortium is in the process of bidding for government funding.

John Gallagher, Shell technical vice president said, the company believed CCS is a technology that will be vital to tackling climate change and it is essential that a 'learn by doing' approach was developed to reduce costs, accelerate technology to ultimately make CCS commercially viable.

He added that the company did not underestimate the challenges involved and that significant technical and economic hurdles will need to be cleared by working together across industry, government and society to find solutions that work.

In a separate development, Shell said it would build a hydrodesulphurisation plant at its Pernis Refinery in the Netherlands. The plant which is expected to come on stream in the second half of 2011, will ramp up cleaner, low-sulphur fuels production at the 400,000-barrels-per-day refinery.