Supporting Innovation in Carbon Capture and Utilisation

Optimat has recently concluded a study for Scottish Enterprise to support Scotland’s ambitions to develop an innovative carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) sector. 

In 2017 Scotland emitted around 50 million tonnes of greenhouse gases.  Carbon dioxide (CO2) makes up the majority of this and can be converted into products such as commodity chemicals, biofuels, construction materials, foodstuffs for human consumption and feed for animals.  It can, in some situations, simply be supplied as a gas for use in industrial processes. 

Potential Applications for Captured CO2
US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory

CCU Graphic 

Traditional chemical routes can produce a number of these products but often require large amounts of energy.  Newer, industrial biotechnology (IB) approaches offer a potentially more attractive solution as they require less energy but need to be validated at commercial scale. 

This study identified companies and research organisations in Scotland that are actively developing CCU technologies as well as larger CO2 emitters with an interest in implementing these.  An Action Plan to support relevant innovation was produced which highlighted a number of initiatives that could be used to overcome obstacles to the adoption of CCU technologies, including:

  • Initial networking through the Northern Connection project’s Living Lab to identify early opportunities for collaboration between Scottish and European partners
  • Feasibility studies to understand the optimum approach and potential solutions for those emitters with a desire to adopt CCU technologies
  • Demonstration facility to evaluate different technology solutions in real-world scenarios, increasing confidence in emitters that these will work and not adversely affect their operations
  • Innovation competition to deliver specific solutions, with well-defined outcomes, to a required demand
  • Sector innovation network to provide leadership and a focal point for CCU in Scotland and help inform future policy

Grangemouth, as the hub of chemical manufacturing in Scotland, is central to these opportunities.  The Falkirk and Grangemouth Growth Deal includes support for a demonstration facility as well as creating the right environment for developers and users of CCU technologies to flourish.

The full report can be downloaded from Scottish Enterprise's Evaluations Online website.  

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