Teesside companies hope to store carbon under North Sea

Teesside companies (including CPME member Lotte Chemical UK) are joining forces to capture pollution and store it beneath the North Sea.

The Teesside Collective said their proposed Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) network should cut the area's annual carbon emissions by a quarter by 2024.

They also believe the scheme could support 5,900 jobs and lead to 15m tonnes of carbon dioxide being stored a year by the 2030s.

Environmentalists welcomed the move.

Steel producer SSI UK, fertiliser producer GrowHow, polyester resin producer Lotte Chemical UK and hydrogen producer BOC are the four anchor companies behind the plan along with Tees Valley Unlimited

Carbon dioxide, generated through the burning of fossil fuels, would be turned into a liquid and then pumped by a pipeline and stored 1.2m (2km) beneath the sea.

Stuart Haszeldean, Professor of Carbon Capture and Storage at the University of Edinburgh, said the liquid carbon can be stored safely for tens of thousands of years.

He said: "It's crucial because in the UK we have a law that says we will emit 80% less carbon dioxide by 2050.

"Teesside is one of the biggest industrial sites in Europe so it's good they are leading on this."

Simon Bowens, North East campaigner for Friends of the Earth told BBC Tees: "The carbon capture proposals are really welcomed.

"It is very difficult for these companies to decarbonise at the rate we need them to, CCS is the most likely solution to be able to do that effectively."