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Fossil Fuel Pipes and Reservoirs Could Store Captured Carbon Emissions

 July 23, 2019      

Reservoirs, pipes and platforms once used for the extraction and transport of polluting fossil fuels could instead be used to move and store captured carbon dioxide, helping tackle emissions from industry and energy.

Plans to make it easier to recycle oil and gas infrastructure for use in carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) were included in a raft of government announcements on low-carbon energy today.

Decommissioning has seen roughly 20,000km of pipelines closed, while depleted oil and gas reservoirs have been abandoned. A recent government report said a "small proportion" of infrastructure in the North and East Irish Seas could be re-used for CCUS project storage and transport. Reservoirs are well-mapped and trunk pipelines are often very long and wide, making them both particularly suitable. Wells could be at risk of corrosion, however, and might not be located in ideal places.

Reusing existing fossil fuel infrastructure for CCUS will help tackle emissions from industry and support people to move into the 'green economy' as the country transitions away from fossil fuels, the government said. Recycling installations could drive down costs of construction by over £100m for some CCUS projects.

The government recently invested £26m into nine carbon capture schemes. The largest, at a Tata-owned chemical plant in Cheshire, could capture 40,000 tonnes of carbon every year. Carbon dioxide will reportedly be used to make everything from eye drops to instant noodles. (Institution of Mechanical Engineers)

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