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Hydrogen Power

ExxonMobil plans carbon capture hub in southern UK

Project in the Solent area would capture 3 million metric tons of CO2 per year

by Craig Bettenhausen
November 2, 2022 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 100, Issue 39

Two large boats traverse a body of water by the coast.
Credit: Mypix/Wikimedia
Multiple ports along the Solent shipping channel in southern England make the area attractive for manufacturing.

ExxonMobil is planning a carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) hub called the Solent Cluster on the southern coast of England. The oil and gas giant is working with the University of Southampton and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership on the project, which ExxonMobil says will capture roughly 3 million metric tons (t) of carbon dioxide per year when fully operational later this decade. The cluster’s membership also includes a range of biofuel makers, aviation and maritime firms, local governments and chambers of commerce, and even the Premier League Southampton Football Club.

The Solent is a shipping lane connecting mainland UK to the English Channel. In addition to import-export, the area is a major manufacturing center that emits roughly 3.2 million t of CO2 per year, according to the UK government.

Though the group is still working out many details, the Solent Cluster says it expects low-carbon hydrogen to play a central role in the project, both directly as a fuel and as an input for chemicals and liquid fuels production. ExxonMobil already produces hydrogen from natural gas in the area at its Fawley complex.

This is the second decarbonization hub ExxonMobil has announced. In April of 2021, the firm unveiled plans for a 100 million t per year CCUS hub in Houston, Texas. The Solent Cluster will join other carbon reduction infrastructure projects in the waters around the UK, including Storegga’s 5–10 million t Acorn project in Scotland and Ineos’s 1.5–8 million t Greensand projectin Denmark, both of which will store CO2 under the North Sea.



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