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CCS and the wider energy innovation picture - Professor Jim Skea at the UKCCSRC Biannual April 2014


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Presentation given by Professor Jim Skea, RCUK Energy Strategy Fellow, as part of the Plenary Session: CCS in the UK Energy Landscape at the UKCCSRC Biannual Meeting - CCS in the Bigger Picture - in Cambridge, 2-3 April 2014

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CCS and the wider energy innovation picture - Professor Jim Skea at the UKCCSRC Biannual April 2014

  1. 1. CCS and the wider energy innovation picture UKCCSRC Biannual Meeting: CCS in the bigger picture Queens College Cambridge 2-3 April 2014 Jim Skea Research Councils UK Energy Strategy Fellow
  2. 2. Outline • The RCUK Energy Strategy Fellowship • UK public support for energy R&D • Findings and recommendations
  3. 3. 3 Launch Event Kohn Centre The Royal Society London 12 November 2013 Research Councils UK Energy Strategy Fellowship
  4. 4. International Panel for the RCUK Review of Energy Is the energy research funded by the UK government through the RCUK energy programme delivering impact in the UK and worldwide? “Across almost all areas reviewed by us we found interesting, leading edge and world class research. The excellent international reputation of UK research is deservedly earned”.
  5. 5. The buts….. • Impact On the whole, the academic community is very well regarded on the international scene….. in terms of impact on economic benefit, industry development and quality of life, we have concerns that much more can be done. • Skills base There is a good pipeline of doctoral students and post doctoral research associates……the availability of long-term career paths is less than clear. • Targeted programmes/transparency These have produced impressive results…..….. the communication and lack of transparency of process regarding the balance between open ended discovery and targeted strategic programmes.
  6. 6. Tasks of the Energy Strategy Fellow • Develop a “roadmap” of research, skills and training needs across the energy landscape to meet the UK 2050 targets • Identify gaps and misalignments of activities with UK goals • Work closely with the Research Councils and DECC • Organise meetings and workshops • Act impartially and independently • Act as advocate for the Energy Programme
  7. 7. Energy research and training – workshops Fossil Fuels and CCS 8-9 January 2013 with UK CCS Consortium Energy in the Home and Workplace 5-6 February 2013 with DECC (EEDO) Bioenergy 14-15 May 2013 with BSBEC and Bioenergy SUPERGEN Electrochemical Energy Technologies 25-26 June 2013 with RSC Energy Infrastructure 17-18 April 2013 With Ofgem, Smart Grid Forum Transport Energy 11-12 June 2013 with Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, DfT “Light-touch review” Nuclear fission Wind/Wave/Tide Industrial processes “Strategic” Energy strategies and research needs Environmental science, social science and economics Research Councils and the funding landscape
  8. 8. What the Fellowship could and couldn’t do Could do • Long bullet point lists of research problems • Insights into the overall balance of the RCUK portfolio • Insights into better ways of working Couldn’t do • Clear research priorities within specific research domains
  9. 9. Outputs • Synthesis report • Nine topic-specific supporting documents (including Fossil fuels and CCS) • Twelve workshop reports
  10. 10. Outline • The RCUK Energy Strategy Fellowship • UK public support for energy R&D • Findings and recommendations
  11. 11. Energy RD&D spend in the UK
  12. 12. % of GDP spent on energy RD&D Source: IEA
  13. 13. The UK energy innovation landscape Source: Unpublished DECC energy innovation map 2013
  14. 14. Energy innovation spend by body Source: National Audit Office
  15. 15. Outline • The RCUK Energy Strategy Fellowship • UK public support for energy R&D • Findings and recommendations
  16. 16. Findings and recommendations • Resources and portfolios • Joining up the innovation landscape • Infrastructure and data • Champions • CCS-specific recommendations
  17. 17. Resources “Like inverted Micawbers waiting for something to turn down” Winston Churchill on the Treasury “…the research councils and other research and innovation bodies should press for public expenditure settlements that are better aligned with the UK’s wider climate change and energy policy ambitions.”
  18. 18. Hedging your bets: energy projections to 2040 compared
  19. 19. Policy clarity? • The energy research community does not believe that a clear and convincing vision of the UK’s future energy system has been established. • Such a vision could inform the development of strategic roadmaps that point clearly towards research challenges. • Clarity about the direction of energy policy and a consistent vision of the future coupled with a sustained long-term funding structure would also encourage younger researchers into the field…… • ……but the research community’s expectation about policy clarity is almost certainly unrealistic. This underlines the need for a portfolio approach to investments in energy research whose pay- off will be in the longer term.
  20. 20. Joining up: links along the innovation chain • There needs to be a more joined up approach across the innovation landscape with the Research Councils, TSB, ETI, industry, DECC and other government departments acting in concert. • The establishment of the Low Carbon Innovation Coordination Group (LCICG) is welcome but high expectations need to be managed • TSB catalyst centres support projects in priority areas where the UK research base has a leading position and where there is clear commercial potential.
  21. 21. Joining up: transparency and basic/applied research • More clarity about the applied/basic orientation of Research Council support. There are differences in the nature of the science supported within and across the domains of different Research Councils – NERC/EPSRC/BBSRC? • “There is an-going need to communicate the relationship between the research councils’ Royal Charter objectives, their Strategic and Delivery Plans, and the specific choices that are made in supporting research and training activities. The logic behind the research councils’ decision- making is not always understood by the research community”.
  22. 22. • The International Review Panel recommended a single Energy Programme budget…unlikely to happen but examples of shared initiatives (UKERC, Energy Use Energy Demand ) • Interdisciplinarity is acknowledged and supported by the Research Councils…but potential gaps • CCS: strong NERC/EPSRC interests, + relevance of ESRC Joining up: cross-council working
  23. 23. Data: a patchy record • There should be open access to the results of publicly funded research (OECD)….all research councils insist on data management policies • ESRC, NERC and STFC place strong data requirements and support data providers and/or management centres • BBSRC and EPSRC devolve responsibility to they should establish stronger data sharing policies and establish suitable repositories for manifestly ‘common good’ data • EPSRC should identify priorities for curation and sharing; BBSRC already does this
  24. 24. Infrastructure: trials and facilities • Field trials • geological storage of carbon dioxide • unconventional fossil fuel extraction • marine renewable technology trials • bioenergy crop production • energy efficiency interventions • Computational facilities • Experimental facilities • STFC facilities (Diamond, ISIS) under-used • Capital and operating budgets determined separately • ‘capital beneficence’ and ‘operating austerity’
  25. 25. Infrastructure: funding cycles The needs of science not the wants of scientists… • Research Council Strategic Plans should extend beyond budgetary cycles to enable long-term investments in infrastructure, surveys, trials and experiments to be exploited fully. However: • flexibility • should not be seen as establishing firm budgetary commitments • should be reviewed at regular intervals. • Research councils should be prepared to make selective longer-term research investments of 10 years or longer, subject to rigorous stage- gating procedures, where there is clear evidence that scientific benefits cannot be realised on a shorter timescale: • CO2 storage trials • cohort studies in the social sciences • the evaluation of the impacts of policy interventions.
  26. 26. Champions and centres of excellence Strengths • UK Nuclear Universities consortium • UK CCS Research Centre • Bioenergy – BSBEC and Supergen Bioenergy Hub (but “schizophrenic”) • Networks • Marine renewables Emerging • End use energy demand Weaker • PV • Fuels cells and hydrogen
  27. 27. CCS: specific recommendations Near-term challenges • capture retrofit on gas-fired generation • reliability, availability, maintainability and operability (RAMO) • monitoring and control Basic research challenges • small-scale carbon capture • negative emissions technologies (biomass energy with CCS) • membranes, adsorbents and capture looping • air capture • biomimetic CO2 capture
  28. 28. Fossil fuels and CCS are linked • need to re-consider declining support for fossil fuel research, especially in relation to NERC/geological sciences • understanding fluid-rock interactions • characterising complex subsurface systems at large spatial and temporal scales • the impacts of engineered activity on the deep sub-surface
  29. 29. Thank you!