PLANS for a new factory on the Ellesmere Port which would capture harmful carbon dioxide emissions and store them under the sea have been officially submitted.

The Carbon Capture Facility is proposed as part of the planned 49.9MW Protos Energy Recovery Facility (ERF), which is currently under construction and will emit flue gases once it begins running at is base near Marsh Lane, Ince.

Captured CO2 would be exported along a pipeline as part of the HyNet scheme, transported to be stored in depleted gas fields under Liverpool Bay.

Should the plans be given the go-ahead, it would be the first development to export carbon dioxide to the HyNet Northwest initiative, and aims to put the borough 'at the forefront of innovation to support net zero by 2045'.

A planning statement submitted to Cheshire West and Chester Council by Turley Planning, as part of the extensive application, says the proposed development would "capture almost all the carbon dioxide emitted from an associated energy from waste facility, reducing the amount of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere."

It is estimated it would prevent up to 380,000 tonnes of CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere annually – the equivalent of taking about 200,000 cars off the road – and capture 95 per cent of emissions from the new plant.

The applicants added the UK "has one of the greatest CO2 storage potentials of any country in the world" in the form of the 'UK Continental Shelf', with potential storage capacity of 78 billion tonnes.

Subject to a range of applications being granted permission, CO2 captured would flow along a new underground pipeline from Ince to Flint, then along the repurposed underground natural gas pipeline to the Point of Ayr Gas terminal at Talacre beach, where it would then connect to a new offshore transportation pipeline to depleted undersea gas fields in Liverpool Bay.

The captured CO2 would be permanently stored in the depleted Hamilton, Hamilton North and Lennox undersea gas fields, with total estimated capacity for 200 million tonnes of CO2.

Protos is a 130-hectare development site which has permission for a number of industrial projects, some of which are currently being built.

Currently operational at the site are a timber recycling plant, a substation and the Ince Bio Power Plant, while the ERF is due to be completed this year. Also being built are a plastics-to-hydrogen facility, while work on building a new PET plastics recycling facility is due to begin this year.

In addition, permission has been granted for the following, but construction work is yet to be confirmed on a bio-substitute natural gas renewable fuels facility and a 'plastics park' comprising of several recycling facilities.

Once complete, the ERF would process up to 500,000 tonnes of non-recyclable UK waste each year.

While planners say there would be trees and hedgerow lost in the construction of the project, proportionally more would be planted as replacements.

The new development would run 24/7 with short-term routine shutdown/maintenance periods when required, and generate seven jobs.

Should the development be given the go-ahead, work on building the carbon capture facility would begin late this year and be operational by the end of 2027.