A comprehensive study has concluded with doubts about Britain’s ability to bring about a viable carbon capture and storage industry.

The Energy Research Council report has come out just two weeks after the government launched a £1bn competition to build the first demonstration CCS plant.

It’s a setback to government plants to tackle climate change as there was a reliance that the untested technique would work on a massive scale. CCS is designed to lower the carbon emissions of fossil fuel power stations.

The Guardian reports that the design of the new competition is flawed, and the UK is already falling far behind other countries such as the US in its attempts to commercialise the expensive technique.

Jim Watson, lead author of the report, said: “People assumed that CCS would be straightforward, but it has not been. It is a particularly challenging technology – it’s actually very, very difficult.”

If it cannot be made to work commercially, and at a reasonable cost, then the UK would have to spend much more on renewable energy, nuclear power and other economic transformations, and would face having to make enormous cuts in areas such as emissions from air travel.

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