Scientists are about to try to make new use of the sucked-out spots under the North Sea we've created by piping out gas to warm our homes, with a new carbon capture and storage project hoping to use existing undersea pipework to pump our unwanted CO2 into long term storage where the gas used to live.
The system is being developed under the nice-sounding brand name of the Acorn Project, which, the backers hope, might capture as much as 200,000 tonnes of CO2 from the St Fergus Gas Terminal north of fossil fuel epicentre Aberdeen, then use existing pipes out to the gas fields to pump the rock full of CO2 created by the onshore gas processing plant. More than £350,000 has been pumped into bank accounts by the UK and Scottish government to help get it off the ground.
There's even the potential to expand the project's footprint by using old gas pipelines on land to ship up CO2 from Scotland's industrial central belt further south, with project leader Alan James saying: "Scotland can use legacy oil and gas assets to deliver environmental benefits, unlocking CO2 transportation and storage solutions for other carbon capture utilisation and storage projects along the east coast of the UK and in future from Europe." [BBC]
Image credit: Shell