Understanding the Technological and Economic Drivers of the Development of CCUS Clusters in the United Kingdom

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Chemical & Biological Engineering


The deployment of industrial clusters for decarbonisation is key to the UK's transition to a net zero economy. Since the large scale deployment of CCUS requires the development of significant and expensive infrastructure for both CO2 transport and storage, detailed consideration of policy and economic impacts as well as cost reduction of these elements of the CCUS value chain is key for the viability of a cluster. This exciting project will combine expertise from both economics and engineering to address this challenge, and will benefit from significant input from industrial stakeholders.

This project will seek to develop a novel approach to understand the design and evolution of CCUS clusters in the UK. The design of the required transportation system requires a detailed cost benefit analysis and optimisation of the cluster CO2 transportation network over long time scales, minimising the total costs for CO2 transport and storage, whilst considering potential capacity expansion or contraction over time.

The project will seek to characterise and incorporate individual industrial actors' strategic behaviour within clusters. This will include long-term economic and business models to understand the drivers of firms' investments in the CCUS infrastructure as well as the role of the policy-maker in setting policies to encourage or facilitate the development of the network. This will be used to provide strategic and policy recommendations for the development and evolution of CCUS clusters.

Planned Impact

The proposed Centre will benefit the following groups

1. Students - develop their professional skills, a broad technical and societal knowledge of the sector and a wider appreciation of the role decarbonised fuel systems will play in the UK and internationally. They will develop a strong network of peers who they can draw on in their professional careers. We will continue to offer our training to other Research Council PhD students and cross-fertilise our training with that offered under other CDT programmes, and similar initiatives where that develops mutual benefit. We will further enhance this offering by encouraging industrialists to undertake some of our training as Professional Development ensuring a broadening of the training cohort beyond academe. Students will be very employable due to their knowledge, skills and broad industrial understanding.
2. Industrial partners - Companies identify research priorities that underpin their long-term business goals and can access state of the art facilities within the HEIs involved to support that research. They do not need to pre-define the scope of their work at the outset, so that the Centre can remain responsive to their developing research needs. They may develop new products, services or models and have access to a potential employee cohort, with an advanced skill base. We have already established a track record in our predecessor CDTs, with graduates now acting as research managers and project supervisors within industry
3. Academic partners - accelerating research within the Energy research community in each HEI. We will develop the next generation of researchers and research leaders with a broader perspective than traditional PhD research and create a bedrock of research expertise within each HEI, developing supervisory skills across a broad range of topics and faculties and supporting HEIs' goals of high quality publications leading to research impacts and an informed group of educators within each HEI. .
4. Government and regulators - we will liaise with national and regional regulators and policy makers. We will conduct research directly aligned with the Government's Clean Growth Strategy, Mission Innovation and with the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund's theme Prosper from the Energy Revolution, to help meet emission, energy security and affordability targets and we will seek to inform developing energy policy through new findings and impartial scientific advice. We will help to provide the skills base and future innovators to enable growth in the decarbonised energy sector.
5. Wider society and the publics - developing technologies to reduce carbon emissions and reduce the cost of a transition to a low carbon economy. Need to ascertain the publics' views on the proposed new technologies to ensure we are aligned with their views and that there will be general acceptance of the new technologies. Public engagement will be a two-way conversation where researchers will listen to the views of different publics, acknowledging that there are many publics and not just one uniform group. We will actively engage with public from including schools, our local communities and the 'interested' public, seeking to be honest providers of unbiased technical information in a way that is correct yet accessible.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S022996/1 01/10/2019 31/03/2028
2602261 Studentship EP/S022996/1 01/10/2021 30/09/2025 Ahmed Yousef