As proposed by the Committee for Climate Change, in 2050 11% of our power should be generated by nuclear, 58% by intermittent renewables (wind and solar), 22% by combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), 6% by bioenergy with CCS, and 3% by others. While the UK is certainly making progress, there needs to be much more focus on carbon capture to offset the impact of land, sea and air travel, as well as heavy industry and our reliance on the internet and data streaming (if you’re reading this article on your phone, you’ve produced around 50g of carbon). The UK needs the capacity to capture 176 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, which will take between 60 and 70 CCS facilities. Currently the UK captures 0 million tonnes of carbon. Large-scale carbon capture projects are in planning and funding stages, but a fully-fledged CCS industry doesn’t exist yet – even though 40% of a 2050 energy system will depend on it. Another element that requires a CCS industry is the production of hydrogen, which has been proposed for future heating and transport systems – namely rail, freight and long-distance vehicles. Hydrogen is produced by steam methane reforming (not low carbon and requires CCS) and electrolysis (currently twice as expensive). To meet these proposed demands, the UK must increase hydrogen generation by tenfold and repurpose existing natural gas infrastructure to carry the gas safely and efficiently. Projects such as HyNet are one step of many to producing and using hydrogen on a large scale.
Infrastructure Intelligence 8th June 2020 read more »