Control room at China Resources Power's Haifeng project
A collaboration between China and the UK has this week made significant progress in developing large-scale carbon capture for coal power plants and other applications with the launch of a £25 million (230 million yuan) demonstration project in China’s manufacturing heartland of Guangdong.

The Haifeng Testing Platform Engineering Study, launched at the opening ceremony of UK-China Low Carbon Week, is the first carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration project in South China. It will seek to identify the most effective technology for large-scale carbon capture at China Resources Power’s new Haifeng coal-fired power plant in Guangdong. The project will now enter a detailed design and construction stage and will begin operation in 2017.

The project is being led by the UK-China (Guangdong) CCUS Centre (the Centre), of which SCCS is a founding partner, and is intended to link CO₂ capture from the Haifeng plant with offshore storage sites within the Pearl River Mouth Basin.

The engineering feasibility study produced by the Centre resulted from close collaboration between scientists and engineers from China, the UK, Australia, the US and Europe with funding support from China Resources Power, Guangdong provincial government and the UK government.  

This ongoing project demonstates a commitment to developing CCS not just for a major electricity producer in South China but for other large emitters across the country. It is just over two years since the initiative was conceived, and the pace of delivery is in marked contrast to efforts to get large-scale CCS off the ground in the UK and Europe.

Mr Lan Chen, the Centre director, said:

The Centre hopes through working with experts from China, UK, US, and other nations, Guangdong will gradually build up the first full-chain large-scale offshore CO₂ capture and storage project in China. The Haifeng testing platform project is a priority work in the Centre, and we will deliver the project with high quality engineering work embedded with innovative ideas contributed by brilliant scientists around the world.

Prof Stuart Haszeldine, SCCS Director, said:

One reason that this Chinese project has been so successful and so rapid is the support received from UK CCS projects in terms of knowledge sharing alongside support offered by SCCS and the University of Edinburgh. Scottish and UK governments are to be congratulated on their vision in helping this to happen.

We should be careful, however, that if UK support for CCS languishes and we fail to build projects at home, then China and other nations will be able to gain help from the US, Canada or Norway, where CCS is already making great strides. And this will be to the detriment of low-carbon business here in the UK.

The UK’s Energy Secretary this week made a commitment to achieving net zero carbon by 2050 within the UK economy, so the pace of low-carbon delivery will need to increase dramatically. The deployment of CCS has been flagged up by multiple analysts as the least cost route to zero carbon across the economy.

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