Pale Blue Dot Energy (A Storegga Group Company), the project developer behind the Acorn Project, one of the UK’s first carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects, and Carbon Engineering (CE), a leading provider of Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology that captures carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere, are working together to deploy commercial DAC projects in the UK. In September 2020, the companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on the development of facilities that will contribute towards the removal of millions of tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere each year.

One of the locations being considered by the partnership for their first UK DAC plant is in North East Scotland, close to the Acorn CCS project. The proposed DAC facility will deliver permanent carbon dioxide removal by capturing significant volumes of CO2 from the air and then safely and permanently storing it deep below the seabed in an offshore geological storage site. Pale Blue Dot Energy is currently developing the offshore Acorn CO2 Storage Site, which was awarded the first UK CO2 appraisal and storage licence by the Oil and Gas Authority. Acorn is aiming to be operational from the mid-2020s and the first DAC project could be operational approximately two years later.

These types of greenhouse gas removal projects can help accelerate Scottish and UK efforts to reach net zero emissions by compensating for sectors of the economy that are challenging to decarbonise directly, such as aviation, shipping and agriculture. They will also create and sustain a significant number of new local jobs and businesses. The skills and knowledge workers will need to run DAC facilities align with the core competencies of oil and gas workers, creating an opportunity for skills repurposing from the region’s declining oil and gas sector. Like any industrial chemical plant, these projects will create high quality construction and operational jobs across a variety of industries and disciplines, such as electrical, programming, steel, piping, automation, and mechanical.