Scotland’s net zero infrastructure receives funding

Mar 17 2021

Over £30m of UK Government funding for a suite of initiatives linked to the Acorn carbon capture and storage (CCS) project has been awarded.

The industry match funded initiative, called Scotland’s Net Zero Infrastructure (SNZI) programme, brings together academic and industrial partners to develop a major package of work designed to progress a national low carbon infrastructure. 

They include: 

  • The detailed engineering required to move the Acorn CCS and Hydrogen projects to a final investment decision
  • Developing a new CCS-equipped power station at Peterhead  which would become an early customer for the Acorn infrastructure
  • An assessment of the potential to re-use onshore pipelines to transport CO2 from the central belt of Scotland to the Acorn Project
  • An engineering design programme for a carbon capture system on a gas-fired power station in Grangemouth
  • Development of a “fabrication yard ready” design of a new class of ship which can service the needs of coastal CO2 emitters around the UK for delivery at Peterhead port


The programme of new work and infrastructure reuse will provide a significant boost to the region’s fast-growing low carbon credentials, paving the way for onshore and offshore developments totalling in excess of £3 billion.  It will also map out the longer-term economic impacts, job preservation and creation opportunities as Scotland transitions away from oil and gas to low carbon fuels like hydrogen and CO2 removal technologies such as CCS.

The UK Government award is being made as part of Innovate UK’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund which is focussed on providing money to kick start clean growth projects.

The SNZI programme complements work that is already underway on Scotland’s Net Zero Roadmap project. This funding will help enable the Acorn Project to be operational in the mid-2020s – a critical timeline to meet the UK’s ambitious net zero targets. 

Pale Blue Dot is a Storegga Group company and the lead project developer of the Acorn Project alongside Shell and Chrysaor. Pale Blue Dot will project manage this Scottish Net Zero Infrastructure (SNZI) initiative with industry and academic partners delivering the following specific programmes of work:

  • SSE Thermal is developing a comprehensive decarbonisation programme for Peterhead Power Station
  • National Grid is exploring the potential repurposing of onshore gas pipelines to transport CO2  
  • Petrofac will support offshore pipeline and sub-sea activities to develop the Acorn CCS project
  • LNG9/GB-Tron will be undertaking an engineering design programme for carbon capture technology on a gas power station at Grangemouth 
  • The University of Strathclyde’s Centre for Energy Policy, will investigate the wider economy impacts and opportunities that a CO2 management industry presents for Scotland.
  • NECCUS, the body which brings together more than 40 organisations to bring down CO2 emissions, will provide a key link to other work in Scotland, including the ISCF Cluster Plan and Scotland’s Net Zero Roadmap (SNZR).


Nick Cooper, CEO Pale Blue Dot, said, "Today’s funding for the Scottish Net Zero Infrastructure (SNZI) programme is a further endorsement of the broader Acorn Project and the crucial role it plays in delivering the UK and Scotland’s net zero plans while providing a significant boost to the region’s fast-growing low carbon credentials."

“This funding will support a range of projects to progress Scotland’s low carbon infrastructure including the detailed engineering required to move Acorn CCS and Hydrogen through to final investment decisions. This is an important investment to ensure that this CCS infrastructure is operational by the mid-2020s, with the potential to store 20Mt/yr of CO2 emissions from Scotland, the UK and Europe by the mid-2030s, delivering new economic growth opportunities, creating and sustaining jobs in Scotland and across the UK.”

Scotland Net Zero Roadmap project
UK Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund

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