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Tue July 07 2020

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Costain chosen for carbon capture project

2 Mar Costain has won technical consultancy work for what could be the UK’s first carbon capture and storage (CCS) project.

It has been selected by Pale Blue Dot to accelerate the Acorn CCS project.

Costain energy sector director Rob Phillips said: “Hydrogen and CCS play a fundamental role in decarbonising gas for domestic and industrial heating, powering industry and large-scale transport. Large-scale and relatively cost-effective carbon capture at the source of production is key to unlocking this potential and is one of the many low carbon solutions Costain is progressing as part of leading the decarbonisation of the UK footprint and driving clean growth across the UK.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the name given to a combination of technologies that captures and stores carbon dioxide deep underground, preventing its release into the atmosphere. Acorn CCS is aimed at enabling the cost-efficient capture and storage of current carbon emissions from the onshore gas facilities at the St Fergus terminal in Scotland. It is also seen as a key enabler for the Acorn Hydrogen project, where North Sea natural gas will be reformed into clean hydrogen for blending into the gas grid to decarbonise heating in homes and industries throughout the UK. Other potential applications of the Acorn Hydrogen project include transport. The Acorn CCS system is also designed to be an enabler of other capture and storage projects.

The current phase of the project is led by Pale Blue Dot Energy, supported by study partners Shell, Total and Chrysaor and part-funded through BEIS and INEA as a European Project of Common Interest.

Acorn is designed to be built quickly, taking advantage of existing oil and gas infrastructure and an offshore CO2 storage site.

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The St Fergus gas terminal receives around 35% of all UK natural gas and provides direct access to the UK gas grid. In addition to this, St Fergus is located close to a high concentration of offshore CO2 storage sites, which Costain says makes it an ideal hydrogen production and CCS hub.

Costain is providing concept design and front-end engineering design support.

Phillips added: “This contract builds on work Costain has previously delivered on the scheme and extends our relationship with Pale Blue Dot Energy. The Acorn CCS project and other hydrogen initiatives we are involved with such as the North West Hydrogen Alliance and pioneering the deblending of hydrogen, will help enable CO2 capture and hydrogen production in the immediate term and pave the way for a hydrogen economy, bringing the UK much closer to a sustainable energy future.”

Russ Gilbert, project director, Acorn CCS, said: “Acorn is a critical project for realising the UK and Scotland’s Net Zero commitments. We are working extremely hard alongside our study partners: Chrysaor, Shell and Total, to deliver the different phases of this project to a timeline that is fully aligned with the Government’s emission reduction targets and should achieve first injection of CO2 into the Acorn store by 2024. In order to achieve this, we need to work with high-performing organisations that understand the importance of this work. Costain is one such organisation which has played a key role in helping us get the project to this stage due to their deep understanding of the existing oil and gas infrastructure, its re-use for CO2 service, associated technical processes and their experience in managing and delivering complex work programmes.”

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