Ricardo innovative climate-repairing carbon negative technology to support national energy security

Ricardo innovative climate-repairing carbon negative technology to support national energy security
12 July 2022

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Ricardo’s carbon capture demonstrator plant will use sustainably-sourced forestry waste to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, provide local communities with renewable heat and electricity, and deliver national energy security.


As part of its mission to support the decarbonisation of the global energy sector, Ricardo, a global, strategic environmental and engineering consulting company, has received 3million GBP from the UK Government to design, install and operate a combined heat and power demonstrator plant with a carbon negative footprint which will showcase climate repairing technology. The plant will demonstrate the effectiveness of community scale greenhouse gas removal and clean energy using sustainably-sourced forestry waste. The funding is awarded through the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) under the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
 
Ricardo is leading the consortium delivering the demonstrator plant. The consortium combines an innovative carbon capture system developed by Ricardo with the hot air turbine technology from Bluebox Energy and pyrolysis technology from Woodtek Engineering. The quarter-sized demonstrator plant, which will be located at Holmsted Farm in West Sussex in the UK, will be commissioned and operational in 2023. It will demonstrate not only a highly innovative greenhouse gas removal technology, that in the full-size system can generate renewable heat and electricity for up to 300 local homes and businesses, but also a realistic carbon negative technogy that can significantly contribute to net zero targets.  
 
Tim Curtis, Managing Director, Ricardo Energy and Environment said: “Ricardo is a trusted advisor to governments around the world on climate change policy and the transition to clean energy, and is also well known for its mission to decarbonise the global transport and energy sectors. In partnership with Bluebox Energy and Woodtek Engineering, this project will demonstrate that our innovative and integrated carbon capture system can be used to benefit local communities, bolster the UK’s reputation as a pioneer in negative emission technologies, and provide a sustainable and commercially viable pathway to net-zero while also delivering national energy security.”
 
Ricardo’s project is one of several across the UK which will benefit from a share of over 54 million GBP to develop technologies that remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere. Announcing this investment, UK Government’s Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Hands said: “This 54 million GBP government investment will help establish a greenhouse gas removal industry in the UK, which could be worth billions to our economy, bringing in private investment and supporting the creation of new green jobs.” 
 
The technology works by taking sustainably sourced waste wood from domestic timber production and then processing it in three ways: producing biochar (a product similar to charcoal); generating heat and power; and capturing carbon dioxide from the exhaust. The technology, therefore, captures around 95% of the carbon content in the wood. It also produces commercially marketable carbon products: the biochar can be used by farmers to enrich soil and add to animal feed to reduce ruminant emissions. The industrial-grade carbon dioxide can either be used for making low-carbon concrete or in the food and drinks industry to replace carbon dioxide derived from industrial processes which rely on imported natural gas. A full-size system will remove 16,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year from the atmosphere.
 
Ricardo has been collaborating with Bluebox Energy since June 2020 to deliver innovative technologies that support the transition to a low carbon future. This project is a further boost to Ricardo’s credentials in tackling climate change and meeting national net zero targets. Ricardo is currently actively supporting clients in Europe in innovative carbon capture technologies and has advised the UK Government on the potential of bioenergy with carbon capture in the UK. Ricardo supports clients across a wide range of industries develop their industrial decarbonisation plans on the route to net zero.