The consortium leading the development of a major carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in the UK has awarded a key contract to engineering firm AMEC.

Scottish Power, Shell and National Grid Carbon are planning the construction of a commercial-scale CCS demonstration at Longannet coal-fired power station in Scotland. The front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract will reinforce AMEC’s position as a leading carbon dioxide (CO2) compression and transportation design consultancy, says the firm.

Under the contract, AMEC will carry out the FEED for the transportation element of the CCS project, which will capture more than 2 million tonnes of CO2 per year from Longannet and transport it for storage under the North Sea.

The project is part of the UK government’s CCS demonstration programme, which specifies that projects should capture emissions from at least 300 MW of capacity and be on line by 2014. The bulk of the project will be funded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

“This is the first project of its type in the UK and Europe on a scheme of this size and is a major step towards combating climate change and ensuring future energy security,” said Clive White, Vice President of AMEC’s Consulting and Engineering business.

“Not only is CCS critical in enabling ongoing use of coal and gas for power generation but it also has the potential to benefit the UK economy by providing a platform for the development of new industries and the creation of high-value jobs.”

AMEC’s study will look at the three elements of the transportation of the CO2: a new pipeline, conversion of Feeder 10 pipeline and the compressor station design at St Fergus, which fall within National Grid’s responsibility to the consortium.

AMEC will evaluate a new gas compressor station, reuse of 250 km of existing natural gas pipeline and 21 km of new pipeline. The study also includes design work, plant selection, environmental impact assessments, health and safety assessments and costing.