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BLOG: "15 years of SCCS" by Dr Philippa Parmiter, SCCS Programme Manager

With a secretariat based at ECCI, SCCS is the largest Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) research group in the UK. Between them, the partners cover all aspects of CCS research, from capture engineering and geoscience to social perceptions and environmental impact.

In July 2020, SCCS celebrated 15 years in operation. Here we hear from Programme Manager Philippa Parmiter, kicking off the organisation's anniversary blog series. You can read the blog in full on the SCCS website.

Carbon capture and storage has been an important part of Scottish decarbonisation plans for a long time. I was not part of SCCS, then the Scottish Centre for Carbon Storage, when it was set up in 2005 by project lead Professor Adrian Todd of Heriot-Watt University alongside the University of Edinburgh. The partnership undertook ground-breaking storage studies (Opportunities for CO2 Storage around Scotland, Progressing Scotland’s CO2 storage opportunities and CASSEM) funded by industry and Scottish Government. I joined in 2012 as a Business Development Executive after a name change to Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage was prompted by broadening out to include capture, transport and everything that sits around the full CCS chain, such as economics, social perception, policy and environment. There were dark days in 2015 when the UK Government funding for large demonstration projects was halted, but we had already been moving away from the focus of CCS on large power plant and started looking at how CCS applied across the economy. In 2013 I organised two events on industrial decarbonisation, initiated by Prof Stefano Brandani, one in Edinburgh and the other at Ineos, Grangemouth, which were followed over the years by a series of events looking at how to decarbonise specific industry sectors, such as cement.

Now as SCCS Programme Manager, running SCCS and endeavouring to ensure our sustainability, I see our continuing relevance in Scotland. We have been involved in the development of the industry alliance for CCS in Scotland, NECCUS, and the growth of our own partnership with addition of the Universities of Aberdeen and Strathclyde in 2014 and Glasgow in 2020 – watch this space for further additions. Scottish Funding Council core funding ended in 2015, since then we have been grateful for additional funding from Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Funding Council and Scottish Government because of their recognition of the value of CCS Scotland in a just transition for oil and gas, and petrochemical industry jobs; the inward investment potential; and realisation of income from the huge storage capacity in the North Sea, all of which are increasingly important for current discussions around a green recovery. We are now largely funded by projects, undertaking techno-economic and policy analysis, project management, and dissemination and communication activities, in areas such as CO2 capture on oil refineries and energy-to-waste, decarbonised industrial cluster development, characterisation of additional CO2 storage potential, and hydrogen storage. We are especially proud to be part of the secretariat that runs the European knowledge-sharing network for large-scale CCUS projects, the CCUS Projects Network, linking us to industrial decarbonisation across Europe.

The SCCS Secretariat and partners welcomed the announcement in November 2020 of the UK Government Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, stating the intention to capture 10Mt CO2 from industrial emissions by 2030. This aspiration is achievable, as evidenced by existing projects around the world already capturing millions of tonnes of CO2 per year, it just requires the will to take action.

The work to achieve these aspirations is already underway, with phase 1 feasibility projects already completed. The central belt and east coast of Scotland was one of several industrial clusters around the UK that was funded by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to develop industrial cluster decarbonisation plans, in which SCCS participated, along with NECCUS and other industry partners.

After 15 years we continue to provide evidence-based policy advice and communicate CCS research to industry, policy makers and civil society – Happy Birthday to CCS in Scotland.


Get the latest news from SCCS and catch up with the anniversary blog series, featuring each member of the SCCS team.