Greenhouse Gas Removal Demonstrators: Directorate Hub

The Greenhouse Gas Removal Demonstrators programme will assess sustainable routes for large-scale removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, allowing the UK to take a major step towards achieving net-zero emissions, and placing the UK in a leading position to benefit from the £400 billion future global market in greenhouse gas removal.

The funding forms part of the interdisciplinary £31.5 million Strategic Priority Fund (SPF) Wave 2 Greenhouse Gas Removal Demonstrators Programme. The Programme is a UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) initiative involving the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and Innovate UK.

Announcement of Opportunity: Greenhouse Gas Removal Demonstrators Directorate Hub

Closing date: 6 Aug

30 Sep 2019

NERC, on behalf of UKRI are inviting proposals of up to £6.1m (at 80% fEC) for the Directorate Hub of the Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) Wave 2 Greenhouse Gas Removal Demonstrators programme.

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There is overwhelming scientific evidence that the human release of greenhouse gases is changing the Earth’s climate. In 2015, governments from around the world met to agree a framework that would minimise the negative consequences of climate change.

The Paris Agreement sets a goal to limit global average temperature increase to ‘well below 2°C above preindustrial levels’, and to ‘pursue efforts’ to limit it to 1.5°C

The role of rapid emissions reduction in meeting this target is widely understood. But it is increasingly clear that reducing emissions is not enough – we must also actively remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. New technologies have emerged that show promise in removing CO2 from the atmosphere but these are not well understood and mostly unproven at large scale.

The implementation of sustainable GGR solutions is broader than the technical development of different methods. GGR methods differ widely in terms of their potential costs, impacts, environmental and social risks, co-benefits and trade-offs. Further research is required to understand the range of implications of each GGR solution - holistic assessments of their feasibility and acceptability; how they can be designed to take into account novel business operating models; and appropriate governance that takes into account ethics, potential risks and public perceptions; and appropriate governance to ensure both ethical and proportionate operations. Support is then required to help progress the technologies to readiness, to develop appropriate incentives for scaling up, and to strengthen links to a range of business sectors.

The Central objectives of the programme are:

  1. Development of a suite of GGR technologies at demonstrator scale - £22.5m (led by BBSRC) The programme will establish up to 5 demonstrators, of a size and duration that will allow the potential for large-scale emissions removal to be assessed. The demonstrators will include research on comprehensive life cycle analysis, including the full carbon budget, economics and financing, co-benefits and trade-offs, social and cultural implications, and environmental implications. Demonstrators could include, but are not limited to:
    • Direct Air Carbon Capture and Storage (DACCS),
    • Enhanced Terrestrial Weathering
    • Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS)
    • Biochar
    • Large Scale Afforestation
  2. Development of successful GGR solutions – understanding economics, governance, society and ethics (Directorate Hub) -  £6.1m (led by NERC): The Hub will undertake and commission research, working with and across the demonstrators and the broader research community on:
    • how the social, cultural, behavioural, and economic contexts of GGR solutions can inform effective scale-up of the technologies;
    • ethical, sustainable, economic and legal implications of proceeding with GGR solutions nationally and internationally;
    • appropriate monitoring, verification, governance, and regulation;
    • perceptions of risks and options for addressing them, including the role of communication and engagement;
    • business models, financing options and incentives for technological interventions;
    • public engagement and participation in decision-making about GGRs.
  3. Sustainable GGR solutions – supporting technologies to readiness: The Hub, in conjunction with Feasibility studies - £1.5m (led by Innovate UK in year three of the programme: 2023-4).

    Moving from the Demonstrators to implementation will require identification of commercially viable and scalable business-led innovations, which can be developed for national and international markets. This will be delivered by:

    • supporting existing and new incubators and interdisciplinary networks across relevant research and business communities;
    • support for UK business-focussed conferences on GGR to support innovator and early adopters involved in GGR e.g. big businesses trying to be “net zero”, carbon accountancy firms, and trade associations working together;
    • competitions, which will be delivered by Innovate UK, to support Feasibility Studies or Collaborative R&D projects for business-led BECCS projects, and/or internationally-relevant GGR technologies; 
    • collaboration with stakeholders to co-create evidence and outputs that meet users’ needs.


2021 – 2026
February 2021 for 4.5 years (54 months)

Can I apply for a grant?

The BBSRC led Greenhouse Gas Removal Demonstrators and the NERC-led Directorate Hub are currently open.


Up to £6.1 million is available for the Greenhouse Gas Removal Demonstrators Directorate Hub call