Photo: Facility on the river Thames; Source: Cory

UK firm to store CO2 in Norwegian North Sea via Northern Lights collaboration

London-based company for recyclable and non-recyclable waste management, Cory, has inked a deal with Northern Lights JV to collaborate on a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project, enabling cross-border marine transportation of carbon between the UK and Norway.

At an event on Friday at the Norwegian Embassy in London, Cory and Northern Lights presented to an audience that included Jonas Gahr Støre, Prime Minister of Norway, Kwasi Kwarteng, UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and Wegger Chr. Strømmen, Norway’s ambassador to the UK.

Cory informed in a statement that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Northern Lights carbon transport and permanent storage project. This deal will enable the two parties to collaborate on the realisation of a CCS project between the UK and Norway.

Børre Jacobsen, Managing Director of Northern Lights JV, commented: “Our partnership with Cory is testament to the development of CCS across Europe. Shipping redefines the concept of access to CO2 storage and Northern Lights is therefore well-positioned to help accelerate the development of CCS. We are looking forward to working with Cory to realise the potential of the CCS market in support of climate targets. This will require technical and commercial innovation – as well as international collaboration.”

Under the terms of the deal, Cory and Northern Lights will explore the opportunity to ship carbon from Cory’s energy from waste operations on the River Thames in London to Northern Lights’ subsea carbon storage facilities in Norway. Aside from strengthening the UK and Norway’s free trade agreement, the partnership could help to create a blueprint for international carbon transportation and storage and the development of a global carbon trading market, according to Cory.

Dougie Sutherland, Chief Executive of Cory, remarked: “This partnership is significant from both a national and international perspective. Through this collaboration with Northern Lights, Cory will use its strategically advantageous position on the River Thames to explore the possibility of cross-border marine transportation of CO2.

“The importance of this agreement is threefold: it could be a step forward for CCS in the UK, a vital part of progressing the country’s net-zero ambitions; it could help to consolidate our trading relationship with Norway, one of the UK’s key energy partners; and it could create an initial template for an international carbon market.”

Back in 2021, Cory revealed plans to develop a major CCS project that could apply CCS technology to – what the company described as – the UK’s largest single-site energy from waste (EfW) operation, with the potential to create the world’s largest single-site EfW decarbonisation project.

Based on Cory’s projections, this could deliver 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 savings per annum by 2030 and provide a significant contribution to reducing the carbon emissions of the several million people Cory services in London and the South East of England. The company explained that this CCS project will aim to install technology to capture more than 90 per cent of the emissions from Cory’s existing EfW facility, and its new, adjacent EfW facility which is expected to be operational by 2026.

In addition, the project intends to use marine shipment to transport liquefied CO2 to an offshore subsea storage site, highlighting the strategic importance of the Thames as existing, natural infrastructure, reducing the need for complex infrastructure to transport CO2 and providing flexibility and confidence as Cory will be able to access operational subsea storage locations.

Northern Lights is a part of Norway’s Longship project for establishing full-scale CO2 capture, transport and storage facilities in line with the country’s international climate agreements. The initial capacity will be 1.5 million tonnes of COper year, however, subject to market demand, the capacity can be increased to over 5 million or more in later stages of development.

“This collaboration between Northern Lights and Cory aims to build on learnings from the Longship project and enable the accelerated deployment of CCS projects across the UK and Europe. Given Cory’s location on the river – with access to various domestic and international carbon storage sites – we must remain open to opportunities as CCS develops in the UK,” added Sutherland.

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre commented: “If CCS is to become an effective climate measure, more countries will have to initiate projects, and we must build a market that extends across national borders. We, therefore, welcome the decision by one of the UK’s largest waste management companies to use our North Sea reservoir.”

When it comes to Northern Lights JV, it is worth noting that it is constantly looking for ways to enhance and improve this project further. To this end, Northern Lights awarded a deal to Global Maritime in March 2022 for the provision of Marine Warranty Surveying (MWS) services.

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Equally owned by Equinor, Shell, and TotalEnergies, Northern Lights JV DA is a registered, incorporated General Partnership with Shared Liability (DA). The development plan for Northern Lights was approved in March 2021 by the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.