Multi-million pound boost for carbon capture research

A leading energy research centre led by the University of Sheffield has secured funding of £6.1 million from the UK government to develop its work for a further five years.

The UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre (UKCCSRC) leads and coordinates a programme of research on all aspects of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in support of science and UK government efforts to address energy issues and climate change with the help of 250 UK-based CCS academics.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has given £6.1 million of funding for the centre. An additional £1.5 million is also expected from partner institutions.

The University of Sheffield leads the carbon capture and storage centre which includes ten other partner institutions. Based in Sheffield, the funding will allow the centre to deliver a core research programme as well as providing finance for additional collaborative projects. 

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a low carbon technology which captures carbon dioxide (CO2) that is emitted from the burning of coal, gas or biomass for energy generation, or from manufacturing processes. The carbon dioxide is then pumped deep underground where it is permanently stored and unable to re-enter the atmosphere.

A report published last month by the International Energy Agency and the International Renewable Energy Agency ahead of the G20 meeting, again emphasised the importance of Carbon Capture and Storage in reducing global emissions from heavy industry as well as from energy generation. 

Professor Jon Gibbins, Director of the UKCCSRC and Professor of Power Plant Engineering and Carbon Capture from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sheffield, said: “The continued investment in the centre demonstrates the importance of the technology going forward in the UK.

“Our centre benefits from the expertise of leading academics from Sheffield and the ten other partner institutions, as well as knowledge from industry and government.

“This new funding will allow us to build on the progress we have made and strengthen our research with new funding calls and support for early career researchers.  This will help ensure that our industries and consumers are able to see the benefits of CCS in the 2020s.”

Professor Mike Hounslow, Vice-President and Head of the Faculty of Engineering, said:  “Carbon Capture and Storage is an important area of energy research in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Sheffield. We are immensely proud of our leading academics who continue to further global understanding of this area.

“I am pleased that the work of the UKCCSRC has been secured for a further five years and that Sheffield and its institutional partners will continue to work together with industry and government to develop CCS technology in the UK.”

The centre operates as a virtual network where academics, industry, regulators and others in the sector collaborate to analyse problems, devise and carry out world-leading research, and share delivery, thus maximising impact.

A key priority is supporting the UK economy by driving an integrated research programme and building research capacity that is focused on maximising the contribution of CCS to a low-carbon energy system for the UK.

The overall goal for the next phase of the UKCCSRC is to help ensure that CCS will play an effective role in reducing net CO2 emissions while securing affordable and controllable electricity supplies, low carbon heat and competitive industries for the UK.

Research into Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage is an important strand of the University of Sheffield’s energy focus, led by the Energy 2050 institute.

Matthew Billson, Programme Director of Energy 2050, said: “All the major climate analysts agree that CCS is one of, if not the most, valuable technology in our fight against climate change.

“I am very pleased that the work of the UKCCSRC continues to be funded for another five years. The University of Sheffield takes a lead role in this work and combined hosting of the national CCS testing facilities also based here in Sheffield.”

The ten partner institutions are: the British Geological Survey, Imperial College London, the University of Cambridge, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Nottingham, Cardiff University, Cranfield University, the University of Manchester, the University of Strathclyde and University College London.

The UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre (UKCCSRC) leads and coordinates a programme of underpinning research on all aspects of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in support of basic science and UK government efforts on energy and climate change.

The Centre brings together the UK’s world-class CCS academics from more than 40 UK universities and research institutes and provides a national focal point for CCS research and development.

Over 250 Early Career Researchers participate in an active capacity development ECR programme. The UKCCSRC welcomes experienced industry and overseas Associate members and links to all CCS stakeholders through its CCS Community Network.

The UKCCSRC is a prominent representative for UK CCS activities on the world stage, acting to support Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Foreign Office on a number of occasions and linking to UK industry and CCS projects. The UKCCSRC ‘brand’ is now internationally recognised and the concept of an inclusive national centre is being adopted by other countries (e.g. Norway, with NCCS).

Energy 2050

One of the UK’s largest energy research institutes based at the University of Sheffield, our institute focuses on energy innovation and knowledge exchange and brings together more than 120 academics, and 250 PhD students. We go beyond traditional research boundaries by delivering innovations to power producers and major consumers with technology providers, focused on competitiveness and the de-risking of large scale investment in new technologies both in the UK and internationally.

The University of Sheffield

With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2016 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.