Carbon Capture and Storage: Water Treatment

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 24 May 2024.

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Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his planned timetable is to make a decision on whether Planetary Technologies and South West Water will be granted permission to carry out carbon sequestration trials involving adding alkaline minerals to treated waste water being pumped into the sea.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

In March 2023, Planetary Technologies and South West Water asked the Environment Agency to authorise their carbon sequestration trial in St Ives Bay. Varying South West Water’s EPR (Environmental Permitting Regulations) permit would not have been appropriate for a short term trial (less than one month) so the approach would be to issue a Local Enforcement Position. The current EPR permit for the discharge doesn’t cover the proposed dosing activity and only considers the local environmental aspects rather than the wider policy implications and effectiveness of carbon sequestration of adding alkaline material (magnesium hydroxide) into the waste water outfall pipe.

We commissioned the Water Research Centre (WRC) to audit Planetary Technologies’ proposal and we received WRC’s report in February 2024. The report concluded the trial was low risk and made several recommendations to Planetary. Planetary Technologies have now informed us that they wish to delay their formal application for the Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement trial for a period of approximately 6 to 12 months, to allow them time to action the recommendations.

We will consider a new application as and when we receive it.

More information can be found here.

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