A consortium led by Sizewell C has been awarded £250,000 by the government to develop plans for Direct Air Capture (DAC) which could be powered by the new nuclear power station proposed for Suffolk
The funds have been provided under the Government’s Net Zero Innovation Portfolio which supports the development of low-carbon technologies.
Engineers and carbon capture experts at the University of Nottingham, Strata Technology, Atkins, and Doosan Babcock are working with Sizewell C on a design study for a unique DAC system which runs on low carbon heat.
Direct Air Capture involves removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere which is then stored so that it cannot contribute to climate change.
Some Carbon Dioxide (CO2) can also be ‘recycled’ for other purposes such as conversion into synthetic fuels.
The DAC system being proposed by the consortium will be more efficient than other models as it will require little to no electricity and will be able to use heat at a wide range of temperatures.
Nuclear is the cheapest way to produce low carbon heat and its use could significantly drive down the cost of this new technology.
Proposals for the pilot project were submitted by the consortium as part of the Government’s Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) competition, which is aimed at accelerating the development of carbon capture systems.
GGR technologies are crucial for helping the UK achieve net-zero emissions as they will help to offset the CO2 produced by industries that are difficult to decarbonise, like agriculture and aviation.
All engineering and design activities for the pilot will be carried out in the UK to develop a British DAC technology.
Sizewell C is already developing plans for hydrogen production to lower carbon emissions during construction of the power station and to provide fuel for local transport and industry.
Building back from the pandemic
Sizewell C’s finance director, Julia Pyke, said: “Finding a way to bring down the cost of direct air capture is important to our transition to net-zero, and powering DAC with heat from Sizewell C has the potential to make the power station carbon negative.
“This has exciting potential for our fight against climate change and shows how nuclear can bring even more value to our energy system.”
Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “We are determined to tackle climate change and make it a win-win for both our planet and our economy.
“Just 6 months ago, the Prime Minister set out a clear 10 Point Plan for creating and supporting up to 250,000 British jobs as we level up and build back greener from the pandemic.”
Strata Technology’s managing director, Roger Kimber, added: “I am delighted that Strata can bring its extensive knowledge and experience of carbon capture and pilot scale process development to the consortium, and our team of engineers are excited to be developing a technically and commercially viable solution for direct air capture with our partners.”