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Scots greenlight £5 million for aquafeed and fuel from CO₂

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The Scottish Government has established a new fund to help emerging carbon dioxide utilisation technologies come online.

Startups like Deep Branch are capturing carbon dioxide and using it to create sustainable proteins that can be used in aquafeed

The CO₂ Utilisation Challenge Fund will help businesses and organisations develop and commercialise the technology, which involves harnessing and converting CO₂ – the biggest contributor to climate change emissions – and using it to produce valuable products like proteins for aquaculture, synthetic fuels and other applications.

The CO₂ Utilisation Challenge Fund will be administered by Scottish Enterprise and match-funded by industry, meaning over £10 million could be invested in the initiative over its two-year lifetime.

Net Zero and Energy Secretary Michael Matheson said, “the Scottish Government is fully committed to helping Scotland become a net zero economy. The IPCC’s latest reports show that the impacts of climate change are even worse than previously thought and that business as usual is not an option.

“We know that, in order to deliver on our targets, we must develop and grow innovative technologies like carbon capture and utilisation, alongside carbon capture and storage.

“Promising early work around potential uses for captured CO₂ shows that CO₂ utilisation has real potential to help develop a circular economy while providing opportunities for our workforces and economic benefits for a range of different sectors.

“Whilst the UK Government have so far failed to sufficiently back carbon capture and storage in Scotland, the launch of this £5 million fund underlines our commitment to making sure Scotland is at the forefront of new industrial opportunities that will result from a future with carbon capture, utilisation and storage deployment.”

Head of low carbon transition at Scottish Enterprise Andy McDonald, said, “this fund will help ensure we remain at the forefront of the global effort to tackle climate change by supporting innovative Scottish companies with the ambition, capability and expertise to utilise CO₂ and transform it into products with commercial value.

"Carbon utilisation technology has wide-reaching benefits for both Scotland’s low carbon economy and the environment. This fund will boost this dynamic and emerging sector by facilitating the creation of more high-value jobs while also helping Scotland reach its net zero emissions target.”

The aquaculture industry is at the forefront of carbon utilisation technology, leveraging its potential to create single-cell proteins from captured carbon dioxide

The aquaculture industry is at the forefront of carbon utilisation technology, leveraging its potential to create single-cell proteins from captured and processed carbon dioxide. Startups like Deep Branch, a spinout from Nottingham University, is piloting a carbon recycling plant that uses CO₂ emissions from the UK’s largest power plant to grow single-cell proteins that can be included in fish and poultry feed. If the technology is scaled up, it could help the aquaculture industry achieve a circular economy and further reduce its dependence on marine ingredients in aquafeed.

The CO₂ Utilisation Fund is a Programme for Government commitment 2020/21. More details are available on the Scottish Enterprise website. The Net Zero and Energy Secretary announced £80 million of support for the Scottish Cluster carbon cluster project in January 2022.