New £13M UK Centre for CCS research to be established


The University of Leeds is to benefit from a multi-million pound investment in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) today announced a £13 million investment to establish a UK Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Research Centre. This forms part of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Energy Programme which is led by EPSRC.

EPSRC will invest £10 million over a five-year period, with funding of £3 million from DECC to establish new capital facilities that will support innovative research. DECC is also launching its CCS Commercialisation Programme and Roadmap today which will set out the Government's vision for achieving commercial deployment of CCS in the UK in the 2020s, including investing £125 million in CCS research and development between 2011-2015.

CCS involves capturing CO2 emitted from the burning of fossil fuels in power plants and industrial processes and transporting it to secure geological storage sites, in rocks 1 kilometre or more under the seabed for the UK. CCS technologies are predicted by many to become a major element in the reduction of CO2 emissions which are linked to global warming, climate change and ocean acidification.

The University of Leeds is one of the ten initial founding members of the new CCS Centre which will have its coordination base at the University of Edinburgh. The Centre will bring together over 100 of the UK's world-class CCS academics and provides a national focal point for CCS research and development.  The centre will be a virtual network where academics, industry, regulators and others in the sector can collaborate on analysing problems and undertaking world-leading research. A key priority will be to support the UK economy by driving an integrated research programme that is focused on maximising the contribution of CCS to a low-carbon energy system for the UK.

The new state-of-the-art capture research facilities will allow UK scientists and engineers to uncover the complexities of carbon capture and work with industrial partners and SMEs to develop improved capture technologies.

Establishment of the shared facilities, which are to be based at the Low Carbon Combustion Centre in Beighton, South Yorkshire, is being led jointly by the Universities of Leeds and Sheffield.

The new CCS facilities will include:

  • Pilot scale advanced testing facilities in Yorkshire, with a 1 tonne CO2 per day  amine capture facility
  • A mobile testing unit to allow a range of tests to be conducted on real power station flue gases
  • Advanced oxyfuel fluidised bed and chemical looping pilot facilities

Professor David Delpy, CEO of EPSRC, said: "This centre will act as a catalyst for coordinating CCS research in the UK, improving cooperation between researchers and taking a whole systems approach. It will also be a route for industry and other stakeholders into research, and for knowledge exchange and the exploitation of intellectual property."I am delighted that we have been able to work together with DECC, which is providing capital facilities that will sit alongside the centre."

Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said: "This new Research Centre will support our efforts to reduce the costs of CCS and accelerate its deployment. It further underlines the UK's world-class CCS research."

"These are exciting times for energy researchers here at Leeds," said Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, head of the Energy Technology and Innovation Initiative at the University of Leeds. "We have a world-leading CCS research, development and deployment programme and we are pleased that UK government funding agencies recognize this. The new national facilities that are being set up will also allow us to support SMEs and become a major contributor to the UK CCS demonstration programme."

The UK has a target to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, a significant task that requires systemic changes to every sector of energy generation and use, including in industrial applications.

The RCUK Energy Programme has already established the Sustainable Power Generation (SUPERGEN) programme of world-leading research in areas such as wind and marine, photovoltaic, hydrogen and bioenergy. SUPERGEN is structured in hubs, coordinating large consortia of UK academics, industry and other key stakeholders for innovative research. It is envisaged that the new CCS Research Centre will be supported in a similar way to the SUPERGEN structure, and that it will bring together and integrate existing research projects in CCS.

The 10 founding institutions are: The Universities of Edinburgh, Cambridge, Cranfield, Durham, Leeds, Newcastle, Nottingham and Imperial College London, the British Geological Survey and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory. There will be scope for members from many other institutions to become involved with the Centre during its operation.

The Centre's first goal will be to undertake a process to identify further research needed to accelerate CCS deployment. Once the priority research areas and any challenges to these have been highlighted, the Centre's multidisciplinary teams of leading researchers will work with key UK and international partners on areas where they will have the maximum potential impact. The Centre will also rapidly grow its research scope and membership base and consolidate links with major European and other overseas research centres.

As part of the RCUK Energy Programme, EPSRC is also investing £4.8 million on CCS research specific to natural gas power plants. This new contribution to the Centre's research portfolio will look at challenges across the CCS chain specific to natural gas including next generation/enhanced capture technologies, increased efficiency, systems integration and scale-up.

Further information

Contact the EPSRC Press Office on 01793 444404 or

For interviews with Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian please contact the University of Leeds Press Office, +44 113 343 4031 or email

Notes to editors

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK's main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK.

The UK CCS Research Centre
The UK CCS Research Centre (UKCCSRC) is a virtual hub that brings together leading UK researchers, acting as the two-way interface for government, industry and international collaboration.  The UKCCSRC will innovate, lead and coordinate a programme of underpinning research on all aspects of CCS in support of basic science and UK government efforts on energy and climate change.