Energy: A technology competition that could save the planet

A A A

It's the technology that may do more than any other to save the planet - and Britain may be first to bring it on stream, Gordon Brown announced.

The Chancellor said the Government would launch a competition to build the world's first power station to use full-scale carbon capture and storage - known as CCS - a way of minimising the emissions of carbon dioxide, from fossil fuel burning, that are helping to cause climate change.

The technology involves trapping waste CO2 from power stations, liquefying it for transport and then pumping it into depleted North Sea oil and gas fields, deep in the seabed, where it would remain out of contact with the atmosphere. It is thought this could reduce carbon emissions from a given plant by up to 90 per cent.

Various bits of the technology have been tried and proven - the Norwegian company Statoil has successfully stored CO2 under the North Sea - but so far, no one has built an integrated plant which produces electricity, captures its emissions, transports them to a storage site and successfully sequesters them under the seabed. The competition is to build such a working plant, and the winner (or winners), to be announced next year, would be able to count on considerable government funding assistance.

Details were later given by the Trade and Industry Secretary, Alistair Darling, who has ultimate responsibility for energy. "Carbon capture and storage has massive potential to allow us to meet our energy needs at the same time as cutting carbon emissions. It opens up huge possibility, not just for Britain but also for the world," he said.

"Rapid deployment of CCS technology in growth economies such as China and India will be vital. This competition gives innovative UK industries the opportunity to become the leading exporters of CCS technology for the low carbon age."

Mr Brown unveiled several new green tax measures in his Budget. He announced that the climate change levy, which encourages energy saving by major industrial electricity users, would rise in line with inflation from April 2008.

He also announced rises in two more environmental taxes - the landfill tax, which is paid on waste going to rubbish dumps, and the aggregates levy, which is paid on sand, gravel and crushed rock.

Is CCS the world's only hope?

CCS has become the great hope of politicians and environmentalists wrestling with the threat of global warming. It is seen as the only solution to a phenomenon that will give climate change an enormous boost - the economic explosion in developing countries, led by China, powered by electricity produced in coal-fired plants. Over the next two decades China will build 600 coal-fired power stations, and by then it will have become the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter. The Chinese are going to build these plants; only by fitting CCS technology to them could their emissions be mitigated. One senior British politician said recently: "If China does not take up CCS, we are all done for."

News
people

Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando

Sport
Kim Sears is reported to have directed abuse at Berdych
tennis
News
news

Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck

News
Gywneth Paltrow proposed that women seek out a special herbal steam-treatment service
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Arts and Entertainment
tv

First full-length look is finally here

Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
Tax now accounts for ‘nearly 80%’ of the price of a bottle of whisky
news

Arts and Entertainment
Peppa Pig wearing her golden boots
film

"Oink! Oink! Hee hee hee!" First interview with the big-screen star

Life and Style
tech

Biohacking group hopes technology will lead people to think about even more dystopian uses

Arts and Entertainment
film
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Film director Martin Scorsese
film
News
news

The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Continuous Improvement Manager

£41500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...

Recruitment Genius: Data Entry Administrator

£10670 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: Regional Gas Installation Manager - South East England

£36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Regional Gas Installation Manager is r...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service and Breakdown Engineer - South East

£29000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Service and Brea...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee