National Grid ramps up search for UK CO2 storage site

* Company to drill off coast of northern England

* Says major step in development of CCS network

* Project to assess viability of storing CO2 in porous rock

LONDON, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Britain's National Grid Plc

is to drill off the coast of Yorkshire in northernEngland in an attempt to find a suitable site to store carbondioxide (CO2) emissions, giving a boost to a technology tippedto help the UK meet its climate targets.

"This drilling operation is a major step forward in thedevelopment of a long-term, large-scale CCS (carbon capture andstorage) cluster of transportation networks and storagefacilities in the UK," Jim Ward, National Grid's head of CCS,said on Wednesday.

The UK has a target to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 80percent below 1990 levels by 2050 and the government sees CCS,which collects carbon emissions from power generators and storesthem underground, as a key component to achieving this goal.

National Grid and its partner, the Energy TechnologiesInstitute (ETI), a joint industry and government body, said thedrilling would help assess the viability of storing carbondioxide in a porous rock formation, rather than in a depletedoil or gas reserve, under the sea.

The project would be complementary to other efforts to finda solution to carbon emissions.

Britain has a 1 billion pound ($1.6 billion) competition tohelp fund demonstration projects for CCS technologies, which itsaid has attracted the interest of 16 companies, includingNational Grid, as well as Centrica Plc and SSE Plc.

The government has not specified which projects have beenentered for the competition, but National Grid is working aspart of the consortiums for five CCS projects proposed in theUK, according to its website.

Three of these projects, two of which aim to captureemissions at gas-fired power plants and one at a coal powerstation, are based in Yorkshire.

The winner or winners of the government scheme are expectedto be announced by the end of the year.($1 = 0.6251 British pounds)

(Reporting by Susanna Twidale; Editing by David Holmes)

((susanna.twidale@thomsonreuters.com)(+44)(0)(207 5424753))