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Isle of Man Approached on Gas Production, Carbon-Capture Project

The Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea, has been approached to host a trial gas production and carbon-capture project as the island seeks to become a hub for exports of renewable energy.

The development would drill down to unmined coal under the Irish Sea, partially burn it to produce so-called syngas in a process known as gasification and store emitted carbon dioxide back in the seams, Ken Milne, senior manager for the island’s energy policy, said without indentifying the company involved.

“Ideally, we’d like a small-scale trial of the technology to show it works, and then it can scale up,” he said. The gas typically consists of hydrogen, which may be used as fuel, and carbon dioxide that can be captured and stored, Milne said. Digging for the underwater coal may be “directional” from onshore rather than involving drilling at sea, he said.

The island, which requires less than 100 megawatts of power in peak hours for its 81,000 residents, is host to more than 100 clean-technology companies because of its tax rates. It aims to export about 2 gigawatts of offshore wind power, Milne said.

“We really see ourselves being a major exporter of renewable energy, far more than the Isle of Man could ever use,” he said. The island plans to boost its use of energy from renewable sources to 15 percent from 3 percent now, Milne said.

Investors are interested in the Isle of Man as intellectual property they develop may be held on the island, where most companies pay zero income tax, he said in London.

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