Photo Credit: North Sea Midstream Partners (NSMP)

Acorn Hydrogen & CCS Project

An innovative hydrogen and carbon capture and storage project being developed by Pale Blue Dot Energy

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The project

Acorn is a hydrogen and Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) project in North East Scotland being developed to enable CCS in the UK, by re-using redundant oil and gas infrastructure. The project will capture CO2 emissions at St Fergus and transport it offshore for permanent sequestration deep underground beneath the North Sea. The Acorn CCS project is a low cost, low risk CCS project, designed to be built quickly, taking advantage of existing oil and gas infrastructure and a well understood offshore CO2 storage site. 

Why Aberdeen?

The ideal location
Acorn is located at the St Fergus gas processing terminal – an active industrial site 60km North of Aberdeen where nearly 35% of all the natural gas used in the UK comes onshore. St Fergus is also home to three large offshore pipelines, which, despite being in great condition, are no longer required to bring gas or oil onshore to the UK, so could be re-used to take CO2 offshore to the great storage sites found underneath the Central North Sea. 

Excellent CO2 storage 
The rock formations deep below the seabed off the North East coast of Scotland, offer a large, well-understood CO2 storage resource of international significance, large enough to store CO2 from other regions and countries, as well as from the UK.

Supply chain capability
Aberdeen is a globally recognised centre of excellence for the oil and gas industry, the technology, assets, resources and expertise from which easily translate into hydrogen production, CO2 capture and offshore CO2 storage.

Project Successes

The Acorn project has already achieved several significant milestones. The Acorn feasibility has been funded by the EU and BEIS though the ERA-NET programme (ACT Acorn) and has also received funding from the Scottish Government.

In January 2018 Acorn was listed by the EU as a Project of Common Interest (PCI), making its infrastructure elements eligible for funding under the Connecting Europe Fund (CEF). Industrial partners have also expressed interest in funding the project, subject to clear government policy or specific project support.

The project is nationally recognised as a low-cost way to enable CCS in the UK.

Future Ambitions

Hydrogen production 
The production of hydrogen at St Fergus will enable phased decarbonisation of the gas grid which could eventually lead to a 100% hydrogen gas supply. Initial steps would see a small amount of hydrogen blended into the gas grid with no impact on customers.

As the first landing point for around 35% of all the UK Natural Gas, siting future hydrogen production with CCS at St Fergus is a logical step to allow hydrogen to be blended directly into the existing Gas Grid.

Future decarbonisation and economic growth opportunities include importing CO2 by ship through the nearby Peterhead Deepwater Port to enable storage of CO2 from other regions and countries, and re-purposing an onshore gas pipeline from Central Scotland to St Fergus to enable the decarbonisation of wider Scottish industry.

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