To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement about the research projects undertaken by his Department into fossil fuel decarbonisation schemes since April 1992; and what plans he has to develop fossil fuel decarbonisation demonstration projects.
My Department is taking part with British Coal, and with support from National Power and PowerGen, in a study programme under the auspices of the International Energy Agency—the IEA greenhouse gases research and development programme—to evaluate the feasibility and costs of capture and safe disposal of carbon dioxide from large fossil fuel combustion plant. This began in 1991 and is due for completion in autumn, 1994. A total of thirteen countries, and the European Commission, are cooperating in this programme.In addition, my Department is contributing to a complementary review, by the British Geological Survey and British Coal under the European Community's JOULE II research programme, of the scope for permanent, underground storage of carbon dioxide in Europe. This two-year review began in January 1993.It would be premature to develop demonstration projects ahead of the completion of these initial feasibility studies.