Tata Chemicals Europe opened the UK's first industrial scale carbon capture and usage plant today, signalling a key milestone in the race to meet the UK's net zero targets.
The £20 million investment has been completed by UK-based Tata Chemicals Europe, one of Europe's leading producers of sodium carbonate, salt and sodium bicarbonate. The plant captures 40,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year - the equivalent to taking over 20,000 cars off the roads and reduces TCE's carbon emissions by more than 10%. The project will help unlock the future of carbon capture as it demonstrates the viability of the technology to remove carbon dioxide from power plant emissions and to use it in high end manufacturing applications.
In a world-first, carbon dioxide captured from energy generation emissions is being purified to food and pharmaceutical grade and used as a raw material in the manufacture of sodium bicarbonate which will be known as Ecokarb®. This unique and innovative process is patented in the UK with further patents pending in key territories around the world.
The carbon capture plant, which was supported with a £4.2m grant through the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's ("BEIS") Energy Innovation Programme, marks a major step towards sustainable manufacturing which will see TCE make net zero sodium bicarbonate and one of the lowest carbon footprint sodium carbonate products in the world. These are used to make essential items like glass, washing detergents, pharmaceutical products, food, animal feed and in water purification.
"The completion of the carbon capture and utilisation plant enables us to reduce our carbon emissions, whilst securing our supply of high purity carbon dioxide, a critical raw material, helping us to grow the export of our pharmaceutical grade products across the world.
Martin Ashcroft, Managing Director of Tata Chemicals Europe
"With the support of our parent company, Tata Chemicals, and BEIS, we have been able to deliver this hugely innovative project, enabling our UK operations to take a major step in our carbon emissions reduction journey. Since 2000 we've reduced our carbon intensity by 50% and have a clear roadmap to reduce this by 80% by 2030."
Speaking about the opening of the plant, Secretary of State for Business and Energy, Kwasi Kwarteng, said: "This cutting-edge plant, backed by £4.2 million government funding, demonstrates how carbon capture is attracting new private capital into the UK and is boosting new innovation in green technologies.
"We are determined to make the UK a world-leader in carbon capture, which will help us reduce emissions and be a key part of the future of British industry."