Scottish Cluster set to support Thames Estuary decarbonisation by shipping CO2 emissions through Peterhead Port

  • The Acorn Project which provides the backbone CO2 transport and storage infrastructure for the Scottish Cluster, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) with Project Cavendish (a collaboration between Arup, VPI, National Grid Ventures, Shell, SSE Thermal and Uniper).
  • Project Cavendish aims to establish a 700MW low carbon hydrogen production facility based in the Thames Estuary and is looking to use the Acorn CO2 transport and storage system by early 2027, to manage the CO2 emissions from this important new energy project. 
  • To enable this cross-UK partnership, Peterhead Port, Europe’s largest fishing port has also joined the Scottish Cluster, signing an MoU with the Acorn Project to support the feasibility and early design work, for a dedicated CO2 handling terminal at the port by 2026.

In the latest expansion of the Scottish Cluster of decarbonisation projects, an agreement with Project Cavendish, could see 700MW of energy generation in South East England decarbonised through the Acorn CO2 transport and storage system that is core to the Scottish Cluster.

The MoU signed with Peterhead Port Authority will help facilitate this critical cross-border collaboration, opening up the Acorn CO2 transport and storage system to support industrial emitters across the UK without ready access to large, flexible and well-understood local storage facilities. Work is underway at the deep-water Peterhead Port to explore the development of a dedicated CO2 reception terminal to enable CO2 shipments to be quickly, safely, and efficiently transferred to the Acorn Transport & Storage network for permanent geological storage deep under the North Sea seabed.

Project Cavendish is a large scale, low carbon hydrogen production project, aiming to be operational by 2027. Based on Kent’s Isle of Grain, in the Thames Estuary, the hydrogen production facility would be in close proximity to gas and electricity networks, power stations and a liquid natural gas (“LNG”) facility. The CO2 created while generating hydrogen from natural gas could be collected and sent by ship to Peterhead Port to access the Scottish Cluster’s Acorn CO2 transport and storage solution.

These MoUs build on the recent agreements with the owners of the SEGAL and FUKA gas terminals at St Fergus, the SSE Thermal and Equinor team behind the Peterhead Carbon Capture Power Plant, and the INEOS/ Petroineos plans to send a large portion of Scotland’s industrial CO2 emissions into the Acorn CO2 transport and storage system by 2026/ 27.

Nick Cooper, CEO Storegga said: “The signing of the MoU’s with Project Cavendish and the Peterhead Port Authority demonstrates how the Scottish Cluster can decarbonise not only Scottish emitters but those throughout the UK and Europe. The Acorn Project is strategically located in Aberdeenshire to make best use of legacy oil and gas infrastructure and Scotland’s excellent offshore geology for CO2 storage. This, combined with access to the deep-water port of Peterhead which offers significant CO2 import capabilities, means that the Scottish Cluster is able to support the urgent decarbonisation of industrial clusters across the UK, with the Cluster conservatively expected to be managing more than 60% of the UK Government’s overall CO2 capture and storage by 2030.”

David Duguid, Member of Parliament for Banff and Buchan said of the announcement: “This announcement demonstrates the momentum behind the Scottish Cluster, and the integral role the Acorn CCS project will play in storing carbon emissions captured across the UK. By storing CO2 emissions captured by industry-leading new energy projects such as Project Cavendish, the Scottish Cluster is enabling the whole of the UK to transition to net zero.”

Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport said: “I am delighted to see the Scottish Cluster take this next step forward in its proposals to support decarbonisation in Scotland, and across the UK and Europe. Scotland has set world-leading statutory targets to reach net-zero by 2045 and the Acorn CCS project is mission critical in achieving this by helping industrial emitters decarbonise. This Memorandum of Understanding demonstrates how Acorn will also support the UK and parts of Europe in their decarbonisation journeys and it is fantastic to see Peterhead Port committing to invest in carbon capture infrastructure as the Scottish Cluster continues to demonstrate how vital a role it will play in energy’s just transition to net zero.” 

Simon Brebner, Chief Executive of the Peterhead Port Authority said: “We’re delighted to have joined the Scottish Cluster and look forward to the feasibility and early design work on a dedicated CO2 handling facility within the port. Our proximity to the assets that are intended to be deployed for COstorage and our cross-sectoral expertise makes the port the ideal location for development in this vitally important area.”

Paul Bogers, VP Hydrogen at Shell, on behalf of Project Cavendish, said: “Shell is advancing hydrogen projects up and down the UK, both to produce the gas and to store the associated emissions.

“We and our partners in Project Cavendish are looking to produce hydrogen in the Thames Estuary to serve customers in the South East of England. This MoU with Acorn CCS is a key step that enables us to explore transporting the associated carbon emissions and storing them off the coast of Aberdeen. It is an example of how companies and regions can work together to move the UK closer to its net zero target.”

For more info on the Scottish Cluster contact:

Monique Perks / Tom Huddart / Billy Clegg (Camarco) or 020 3757 4980

Notes to Editors:

About the Scottish Cluster:

The Scottish Cluster unites our communities, industries, and businesses to deliver CCS, hydrogen, and other low carbon technologies, to support Scotland, the UK and Europe to meet their net zero goals. Once it is operational, the Acorn Project will provide the critical backbone infrastructure for the Scottish Cluster. As the most advanced and versatile CO2 transport and storage (“T&S”) project in the UK today, the Project wants to be part of BEIS’ Track-1 sequencing programme.

The Scottish Cluster will enable carbon capture deployment across a diverse set of emitters with a robust and resilient multi-option CO2 transport and storage system. Investment decisions could commence in early 2023, leading to commissioning from 2025 and enabling the capture of 6.2 Mtpa of CO2 by 2030. This represents more than 60% of the ambition set out in the Government’s Ten Point Plan. The Scottish Cluster plans for a significant expansion after 2030, driven largely by CO2 shipping customers and the expansion of the local Direct Air Capture (“DAC”) and hydrogen projects. From the mid-2030’s the Cluster expects to be storing around 23Mtpa of CO2.  / @ScottishCluster / #BacktheScottishCluster

About Peterhead Port:

Situated on the most North Easterly tip of Scotland, Peterhead is a deep-water port with more than 50 years’ experience successfully handling the offshore oil and gas sectors, coupled with a diverse and capable supply chain to support marine operations. The port infrastructure includes a jetty designed for large bulk oil tankers, delivering the feedstock for electricity generation at Peterhead Power Station.

With the conversion of the station to gas (which is delivered by pipe from St Fergus) this jetty can be repurposed for handling both bulk CO2 imports and Hydrogen exports. This will allow shipping to commence at a more cost and time efficient basis than would have been the case for a ‘cold start’, saving up to £50m upfront investment and three years for consenting and construction. The jetty is supported by associated infrastructure, pipe routes and nearby land suitable for development, and so we are confident that Peterhead Port will play a strategically important role in the emerging energy transition plans to decarbonise the Scottish economy and support these developing sectors. As the sector evolves and to take maximum advantage of the opportunities available for national and international trade, it is very likely that a second berth will be required in the port within a few years to handle the volumes of potential CO2 and Hydrogen shipments – requiring a further investment of up to £30m.

About Project Cavendish:

Project Cavendish is a large scale, low carbon hydrogen production project, aiming to be operational in 2027. Based on Kent’s, Isle of Grain, the hydrogen production facility will be in close proximity to gas and electricity networks, power stations and an LNG (liquid natural gas) facility. It’s expected to help meet London and the South East’s large demand for energy for power, heating and transport.

This project has recently signed an agreement with the Scottish Cluster to utilise the potential of the Acorn Project’s CCS storage by 2027. By 2030 Project Cavendish is aiming to produce 1.75 gigawatts of hydrogen and capturing 3m tonnes of CO2 a year to be stored offshore.