Viridor agrees statement of principles with government for Runcorn

Viridor has formally agreed a statement of principles with the UK government’s department for energy security and net zero (DESNZ) for its Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project at its Runcorn Energy Recovery Facility (ERF).

Viridor’s ERF facilities generate electricity from waste which cannot be easily recycled or reused. With support from the UK government, Viridor will invest over half a billion pounds to capture the carbon which is produced from the Runcorn facility.

The agreement is part of the government’s cluster sequencing programme. Based in the industrial heartlands of the North West of England, HyNet – one of the first clusters of industrial businesses planned to be backed by the Government – brings together “hard-to-abate industrials with ambitious plans to decarbonise through carbon capture and hydrogen”.

The HyNet ecosystem will see carbon captured, transported to Liverpool Bay and then safely stored in depleted oil and gas reservoirs under the seabed. Crucially, this approach will allow industrial businesses, including Viridor, to continue operating post-net zero, protecting jobs and the economy.

Viridor said it will now enter final negotiations with DESNZ to conclude a Waste Industrial Carbon Capture contract, which could secure government support alongside Viridor’s own investment to make the project a reality.

This agreement unlocks the next stage of investment and development in the project, which is set to capture “in excess of 900,000 tonnes of CO2 a year”, “completely offsetting the carbon footprint of the treatment of over a million tonnes of waste per year”.

There are said to be more than 50 EfW facilities in the UK, and Viridor hopes that by successfully getting this project off the ground in Runcorn “could serve as the blueprint for decarbonising a vital sector across the whole country”.

‘Negative emissions’

Viridor claims that this project may also deliver up to 10% of the government’s 2030 negative emissions target. Of the 900,000 tonnes of CO2 captured by the facility, the company said that half of this could generate negative emissions “totalling c. 4.5 million tonnes of CO2 in the first decade of operations”.

Tim Rotheray, chief sustainability officer at Viridor, said: “Today’s announcement is a great next step in our ambitious plans to transform our business, building on our sector leading commitment to be climate positive by unlocking negative emissions from this essential waste management process.

“This project is a testament to what the government and private sector can achieve by working in partnership. Today marks the next stage in this exciting and ambitious journey towards being truly net zero, delivered for and working alongside the communities within which we operate.”


James Eyton, head of carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) for Viridor added: “Our CCS project in Runcorn will generate over 500 green industrial jobs in the UK averaged over the design and construction phase. Then ongoing, there will be 135 full-time jobs across the operation and maintenance of the plant and in the supply chain directly supporting those operations.

“Together with the wider HyNet scheme, the project will attract private investment of c. £3Bn to the local area. It will also decarbonise the heat and power recovered from waste, which we supply to local heavy industry, and help secure the region’s future as a leader in carbon capture and storage, unlocking our green industrial revolution.”

To find out more about net zero, visit the National Letsrecycle.com Conference on 6 June at QEII Centre in London. To book tickets to attend or for more information please click here.

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