A m 20m Cheshire plant is to start capturing carbon dioxide on an industrial scale and be the equivalent of taking over 20,000 cars off the roads.
Northwich-based Tata Chemicals Europe (TCE) officially opened the plant which will capture 40,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.
The company said the new site will reduce its carbon emissions by more than 10%.
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In what has been described as a world-first, carbon dioxide captured from energy generation emissions is being purified to food and pharmaceutical grade and used as a raw material in the manufacture of sodium bicarbonate which will be known as Ecokarb.
Ecokarb will be exported to over 60 countries around the world with much of the sodium bicarbonate exported will be used in haemodialysis to treat people living with kidney disease.
The carbon capture plant was supported with a £ 4.2m grant through the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Energy Innovation Program.
Martin Ashcroft, managing director of Tata Chemicals Europe, said: “The completion of the carbon capture and utilization plant enables us to reduce our carbon emissions, whilst securing our supply of high purity carbon dioxide, a critical raw material, helping us to grow the export of our pharmaceutical grade products across the world.
“With the support of our parent company, Tata Chemicals, and BEIS, we have been able to deliver this hugely innovative project, enabling our UK operations to take a major step in our carbon emissions reduction journey.
“Since 2000 we’ve reduced our carbon intensity by 50% and have a clear roadmap to reduce this by 80% by 2030.”
Speaking at the opening of the plant, Mike Amesbury, MP for Weaver Vale, added: “Manufacturing has been key to this area for over 150 years so it’s great to be part of such a historic moment.
“Even though, today, there are many competing agendas, sustainability is still crucial and we must continue working towards Net Zero.
The investment made by Tata Chemicals Europe in this leading-edge carbon capture plant will not only support the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions here, but it will also pave the way for others to use this technology.
“Tata Chemicals Europe helps support over 1000 jobs so this type of sustainable investment will help secure chemical manufacturing in Cheshire for future generations.”
Secretary of State for Business and Energy Kwasi Kwarteng said: “This cutting-edge plant, backed by £ 4.2m government funding, demonstrates how carbon capture is attracting new private capital into the UK and is boosting new innovation in green technologies.
“We are determined to make the UK a world-leader in carbon capture, which will help us reduce emissions and be a key part of the future of British industry.”