Education alliance backs pioneering decarbonisation facility

The EAUC is supporting Storegga’s plan to build the first large-scale DAC plant in Europe, where decarbonisation tech could annually remove up to one million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere

A charity helping post-16 education institutions plot a path towards net zero has entered into a memorandum of understanding with decarbonisation developer, Storegga.

The Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education (EAUC) has chosen the company’s proposed large scale direct air capture (DAC) and storage facility, in north-east Scotland, to be part of its portfolio of carbon offsetting options.

Storegga aims for the Aberdeenshire facility – the first large-scale DAC plant in Europe – to be operational by 2026 and claims that it will annually remove between 500,000 and one million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

“Higher education institutions now have the power to reduce their own carbon footprint and also influence the world on best practice,” said Storegga CEO, Nick Cooper. “The technology sucks carbon directly out of the air and permanently stores it, creating a reverse carbon cycle that is considered the gold standard of carbon offsetting.

“This previously under-appreciated technology has elbowed its way on to policy-makers’ agendas. The UK government is considering the necessary regulatory frameworks to make direct air capture a reality and place the UK in a world-leading position on this crucial net zero tool.”

It is important for the education sector to take their carbon responsibilities seriously – Prof John French, EAUC

Scotland, in particular, is said to offer substantial advantages when siting DAC projects, including bountiful renewable energy sources to power the technology, an infrastructure and skilled workforce that can be redeployed from the oil and gas energy sectors, and offshore storage sites where the captured CO2 can be stored below the seabed and the decarbonisation made permanent.

“The community and research elements of this project are particularly welcomed, supporting a just transition away from fossil fuels and reskilling [workers] in heavily oil- and gas-based jobs,” said Professor John French, EAUC deputy chair.

“It is important for the education sector to take their carbon responsibilities seriously, and with more universities and colleges setting ambitious net zero targets we need to ensure we support UK projects that are leading on cutting edge technology.”

Read more: UKRI seeks to ‘eliminate’ carbon footprint

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