Virgin Atlantic link to Scottish carbon capture plans boosted by signing of new agreement

Virgin Atlantic could pay a facility in the north east of Scotland to offset its emissions by sucking carbon out of the atmosphere and pumping it offshore.

Storegga and Japan’s Mitsui have signed an agreement to help push forward the development of the UK’s first direct air capture facility, in north-east Scotland.Mitsui is already an investor in Storegga and the new memorandum of understanding marks a “closer working relationship” to realise the first large-scale direct air capture (DAC) facility in Europe.

The direct air capture plan was first announced almost two years ago.

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The proposal is to build it close to the St Fergus gas terminal where the CO2 can be pushed offshore under the seabed using redundant gas pipelines.

Storegga is the lead developer of the Acorn project, which is based at the St Fergus plant, Aberdeenshire.Storegga is the lead developer of the Acorn project, which is based at the St Fergus plant, Aberdeenshire.
Storegga is the lead developer of the Acorn project, which is based at the St Fergus plant, Aberdeenshire.

Once developed, the project will provide a model for deploying the carbon reversal technology elsewhere in the UK and internationally, helping to support global net zero targets.

The facility is seen as a vital component of both meeting the UK and Scotland’s legally binding net zero targets, by 2045 and 2050 respectively, and having the ability to serve international customers. Early customers of the facility will include airline Virgin Atlantic.

The captured CO2 would be transported to the proposed Acorn carbon capture and storage project.

Nick Cooper, chief executive at Storegga, said: “The UK’s decarbonisation knowledge and technology are highly attractive to the world’s leading international infrastructure developers.

“Investor appetite is strong but the path to decarbonisation is complex and will require the best minds from around the world, working together.”

Sanjay Parekh, head of direct air capture at Storegga, added: “We had a huge amount of interest in our business at COP26. The early adopter companies who want to talk to us about buying direct air capture carbon credits are leading businesses around the world with ambitious environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies.

“Businesses with a genuine desire to reduce emissions, avoid flaky offsetting, and have tangible plans to permanently remove CO2.”

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Climate campaigners have criticised the move, insisting the technology is unproven. But supporters say it is critical for industries like aviation where finding alternatives to fossil fuels is challenging and still in the early stage of development.

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Virgin Atlantic turning green after signing up for Scottish air capture facility

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