SCCS joins political leaders at second strategic conference

Top-level backing for a UK-China consortium, which aims to stimulate progress on carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technologies, sounded a positive note at the start of a strategic gathering in Guangzhou, China, on Thursday 15 May.

Dr Xi Liang of SCCS and UK-China CCUS Centre chaired the conference

UK Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker, and Shaohua Xu, Vice Governor of Guangdong province, welcomed more than 100 attendees to the second meeting of the UK-China CCUS Centre – a consortium of Chinese companies and Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS) researchers from the University of Edinburgh.

Guangdong has emerged as a leader in low-carbon development in China, and the president of Guangdong Electric Power Design Institute (GEDI), Bixiong Luo, also addressed delegates, as the 2nd Guangdong International CCUS Conference got under way. The event attracted CCUS experts from across China as well as the UK, Europe, North America and Australia.

The consortium is taking forward plans for a CCUS project, which will retrofit a capture facility at the newly built Haifeng power plant in Guangdong province. The captured carbon dioxide (CO₂) will be piped offshore for storage in a saline aquifer or depleted gas or oilfield, or it could be stored through enhanced oil recovery operations (CO₂-EOR). A series of test facilities will also be built at Haifeng to help test and validate capture equipment and reagents produced by different manufacturers.

The event marks a significant step forward for the CCUS grouping, which has been created by Dr Xi Liang and Dr Jia Li of the University of Edinburgh, supported by SCCS and approved by the UK CCS Research Centre. The initiative has received financial support from the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Scottish Enterprise. Unlike many European CCS enterprises, progress has been rapid – even in Chinese terms.

The CCUS meeting was attended by overseas experts – all members of or advisors to the UK-China CCUS Centre

The initial Memorandum of Understanding was signed last September in London, when a high-level Ministerial Chinese delegation was welcomed by Energy Minister Baker. An inaugural meeting of the UK-China CCUS Centre was held in Guangzhou in December 2013. The centre gave its first report on the Haifeng CCUS project at last week’s conference, a clear sign that momentum has continued since the consortium was formed.

Further reports under way will examine the possibilities for large-scale storage offshore in the Pearl River Mouth Basin, and the potential additional value offered by CO₂-EOR. Other developments include the provision of a dedicated office space at GEDI, and the establishment of an advisory group of around 20 businesses and organisations. Design work on the Haifeng CCUS project will also continue, and this is expected to provide opportunities for SCCS researchers to be involved in research, analysis and providing advice.

Guangdong: a pioneering province

Guangdong province handles around one quarter of China’s exports, through ports such as Guangzhou, Macau, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. The province is one of China’s top four in terms of GDP, and is the most important for manufacturing. It has proved it can respond rapidly to opportunity through high quality, low-cost industrial design and build, together with the ability to drive down the cost of component manufacture. This is considered highly relevant for developing and deploying CCS.

Guangdong is also the only province in China, which has volunteered to become both a low-carbon leader and participate in piloting provincial carbon trading markets. Allocation of emissions permits is now under way, with a small number set to be auctioned.

Fact-finding visit to manufacturing heartland

The day before the conference Prof Stuart Haszeldine, SCCS Director, led a delegation of CCS experts from Scotland, England, Norway and Australia to Dongguan city in the manufacturing heartland of Guangdong province. Mayor Yuan Baocheng hosted a formal reception to discuss future co-operation on low-carbon technology projects, while Deputy Mayor, Lu Xiulu, hosted a workshop to explore specific actions on CCUS projects.

Subsequently, Mayor Baocheng has offered to support a Low-carbon and Sustainability Innovation Centre in Dongguan and will provide advice to SCCS and UKCCSRC on how to make further progress. The environment department of the city will also support a new proposal in CCS.

The UK-China CCUS Centre welcomes enquiries from business and industry regarding membership, strategy development and partnerships for future reports. For further information, email Dr Philippa Parmiter, SCCS Project Manager

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