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Acorn unlocks the
carbon capture and storage and hydrogen infrastructure essential for meeting our
Net Zero targets.

Both the Scottish and UK Governments have made legally binding commitments to reach Net Zero by 2045 and 2050 respectively.
That may seem like a long way off, but given the scale of the challenge, most experts agree that we have already left it perilously late if we are to successfully tackle climate change by bringing down the CO2 emissions that are causing it.

What is Net Zero?

The phrase Net Zero means the point when our emissions are equal to or less than the amount that is naturally absorbed by the environment.  This term is used because it takes account of the fact that it’s highly unlikely we will be able to eradicate CO2 emissions completely. So we’ll have to perform a balancing act.

On the one hand we’ll need to do everything we can to reduce the carbon dioxide that we do emit. Making emissions as low as possible using technology like carbon capture and storage and different sources of energy such as wind, solar and hydrogen.

And on the other, we can take measures to make sure the natural world absorbs as much CO2 as possible. This can include tree planting, preserving and enhancing our bogs, even the oceans can absorb and store carbon dioxide – they are all called natural ‘carbon sinks’.
The current levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are so high that we need both of these strategies to be working side by side – so that on balance we reach an overall position of Net Zero CO2 emissions – if we are to tackle the climate emergency.

Net Zero then, is a practical approach which means we can still use the products we rely on every day, but we aren’t damaging the environment or putting jobs and livelihoods at risk by doing so.

Pale Blue Dot was set up to bring technical solutions to the challenge of climate change. We wholeheartedly support harnessing the power of nature – be that by planting more trees or using renewable energy wherever possible, but there’s no single solution to the problem we are all facing. That’s why our focus is on making the forms of energy we will still need to use, cleaner and less harmful to the environment. 

Acorn CCS is the first of many projects we are exploring to help tackle this problem. 

“Carbon capture and storage is a necessity not an option for enabling the UK as a whole to reach Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”

Chris Stark, CEO of the Committee on Climate Change 
Councillor Jim Gifford, Council Leader, Aberdeenshire Council

Aberdeenshire is home to some key energy assets including St Fergus gas terminal. We are wholly supportive of the Acorn Project because it will not only create jobs, skills and opportunities for the region, but will radically reduce carbon emissions attributable to industry.

 Jean Morrison, Chair of Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG)

“We recognise that carbon capture and storage is an important part of the energy mix that will help the UK to meet Net Zero commitments. Acorn will help the region capitalise on the skills and natural resources we have in the North East of Scotland.”

Dr. Jan-Justus Andreas, UK Lead, The Bellona Foundation

“Our analysis is clear, urgent investment in CCS infrastructure projects can not only help to put the UK on the path to achieving our Net Zero targets, but it can also be a cornerstone for sustainable economic recovery. Investment in this kind of enabling infrastructure will not just help safeguard and create jobs, it can lay the foundations for future climate resilience and helps smooth the transition to a new low carbon and environmentally and socially just economy.”

Jamie Stewart, Deputy Director, Centre for Energy Policy, School of Government and Public Policy, University of Strathclyde​
“There’s real value in CCS, not just from the jobs that it directly creates, but because of the way it can support traditional, but carbon intensive industries to be a serious part of the energy transition – thereby protecting those jobs as well. This is important because it means we won’t just shut down industries, and then continue to import the products from elsewhere which might not have such stringent CO2 emissions controls. ​”
Prof. Stuart Haszeldine, University of Edinburgh, Professor of Carbon Capture and Storage  

“This Acorn Project uses Scotland’s natural geology, and North Sea engineering skills, to help decrease climate change. Collecting carbon dioxide will make industry cleaner. Transporting carbon dioxide far offshore into deep geological storage puts the carbon safely back where it came from – deep underground. This is one of the safest sites in Britain, and is a big step on the road to Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions.”

How this region can deliver for Net Zero

Credit - Shell

St Fergus provides the most cost-effective way to deliver CCS because of its proximity to the best known geological storage site in the UK, access to a ready-made pipeline infrastructure and a secure industrial site.

CCS carried out here can be scaled-up quickly to provide a solution for a significant portion of the UK’s CO2 storage needs. In time we could even provide CO2 storage solutions for other countries which don’t have access to sub-sea storage sites.

By re-using infrastructure that for the most part is already in place, we can deliver the project in just a few years’ time – and we cannot afford to delay this essential work.

It can capitalise on the skills and experience of the men and women who have delivered a world class oil and gas industry for the last fifty years. Providing new jobs and skills for some and safeguarding jobs for others.

Scotland is determined to ensure a ‘just transition’ away from a reliance on fossil fuels in a way that doesn’t jeopardise jobs and the economy. CCS at St Fergus can open up a whole world of low carbon development opportunities for the region.