A change is as good as a rest, but researchers from the Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS) partnership were kept busy when their bi-monthly networking event recently relocated to the University of Aberdeen for the first time.
The scientists, who are engaged in carbon capture and storage (CCS) research, travelled from SCCS partner institutes across Scotland to join fellow researchers from the University for what proved to be an informative – and lively – meeting. The event began with two industry talks, which set the scene for a visit later in the day to a north-east power station that could host the world's first large-scale CCS project on natural gas.
Alan James of CO2Deepstore, a leading developer of CCS projects, described the long and at times frustrating path towards CCS in the UK, with reference to his company's own involvement in a number of initiatives over the years. It was somewhat fitting to reflect on the UK's progress on CCS the day before Canada stepped into the limelight with the first ever commercial CCS project at a coal-fired power plant.
To dispel any thoughts that the UK had lost momentum on CCS, Carol Thompson from Shell provided the group with an update on the Peterhead CCS Project, north of Aberdeen, which will see CCS technology retrofitted at a gas-fired power plant – potentially the first such project in the world. The captured gas will be piped 100km offshore for storage in the depleted Goldeneye gas field, and learnings from the demonstration project could spur further developments worldwide.
The second half of the meeting featured a less traditional method of knowledge exchange, also aimed at encouraging future research collaborations: research speed-dating. For an hour, around 30 scientists from the SCCS partner universities took part in four rounds of one-to-one conversations.
Reports so far suggest that the session proved both useful and enjoyable.Dr David Vega-Maza, who heads the CCS group at the University, said: "It was tremendous for Aberdeen to host the SCCS networking event for the first time. It was a great opportunity to get some of the brightest minds in the country who are working on CCS into the same room, and I'm sure our colleagues who travelled up for the event found it as exciting and inspiring as I did. We look forward to hosting these gatherings again in the future."
The SCCS partnership holds meetings every two months as a means of supporting knowledge exchange and networking between the partner institutes. These regularly feature speakers from industry or government agencies, who are able to provide researchers with the bigger CCS picture both in the UK and internationally. The University of Aberdeen joined the SCCS partnership in February this year.