UK’s biggest CCU plant opens

Presented as a key milestone in the UK’s race to meet its net zero targets, a new Carbon Capture and Usage (CCU) plant has been opened in Northwich, Cheshire by Tata Chemicals Europe.

Liquid CO2 storage at the new CCU facility.
Liquid CO2 storage at the new CCU facility.

The £20 million plant is set up to capture 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%.

TCE is one of Europe’s leading producers of sodium carbonate, salt and sodium bicarbonate.

It says the project will help unlock the future of carbon capture in the UK 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, CO2 captured from energy generation emissions is being purified to food and pharmaceutical grade and used as a raw material in the manufacture of a sodium bicarbonate product which will be known as Ecokarb®. The process is patented in the UK with further patents pending in key territories around the world.

Ecokarb® will be exported to over 60 countries, generating tens of millions of export revenue every year. Much of the sodium bicarbonate exported will be used in haemodialysis to treat people living with kidney disease.

The carbon capture plant, which was supported with a £4.2m grant through the BEIS Energy Innovation Programme, will see TCE make net zero sodium bicarbonate and one of the lowest carbon footprint sodium carbonate products in the world.

The manufacturer is the only business in the UK to make these products which are used to make essential items in everyday life, from glass, washing detergents and pharmaceuticals to food, animal feed and water purification.