CARBON capture specialists have said they plan to develop a pioneering plant in Scotland that will remove emissions from the air around it.

Storrega Geotechnologies and Carbon Engineering have started engineering design work for a Direct Air Capture plant they said is ‘targeted’ for North East Scotland. The firms reckon the plant they plan to build will be the first large-scale facility of its kind in Europe.

They expect the proposed plant to be able to permanently remove between 500,000 and one million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually.

The firms have drawn up a shortlist of potential sites in Scotland for the plant, which they think could make a big contribution to the drive to cut emissions and to the economy.

"Once complete, it will be a model for how this clean infrastructure can be deployed across the continent to help achieve critical net zero targets, while also creating thousands of local jobs and businesses," said the firms.

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Storrega chief executive Nick Cooper noted the potential for DAC plants to deal with emissions that are difficult to capture at source. These include emissions from the aviation and shipping sectors.

“The development of a DAC facility in the UK will put our country on the map as being at the forefront of net negative technologies and the technology will enable hard to abate sectors create plans to reach net zero emissions,” said Mr Cooper.

Emissions from other industries can be captured at the plants where they are produced.

Storrega is leading work on the Acorn carbon capture and storage project in North East Scotland. This will involve capturing carbon dioxide emitted from plants across Scotland and transporting it via pipelines for storage in depleted North Sea oil and gas reservoirs.

Storrega and Carbon Engineering noted that locations that are being considered for the DAC facility are close to the Acorn CCS project.

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They said “Scotland offers numerous advantages,” citing abundant renewable energy sources, existing infrastructure that can be redeployed, a skilled workforce from the North Sea oil and gas industry and significant offshore sites where captured atmospheric carbon dioxide could be safely stored deep below the seabed.

Storrega is backed by Australian investment bank Macquarie, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and Japanese industrial giant Mitsui.

Canada-based Carbon Engineering is developing a DAC plant in oil and gas country in the USA.