Drax Energy launches new £400,000 biomass-based carbon capture pilot project

The Drax Energy team behind the new £400,000 biomass carbon capture project
The Drax Energy team behind the new £400,000 biomass carbon capture project

Drax Energy is to launch a new £400,000 pilot bio-energy CO2 capture project at its power station in Yorkshire – the first of kind in the EU.

The project, which will be undertaken in partnership with Leeds University spin-out company C-Capture, will investigate a new solvent to capture emissions from the biomass flue gas at the Drax power station.

Capturing CO2 from biomass and permanently storing the CO2 – known as bio-energy CCS or BECCS – enables the removal of carbon dioxide that is already in the atmosphere.

The Brit-Govt is currently developing a CCUS Deployment Pathway, which is due to be published by the end of this year. It will be important to ensure that BECCS is part of this pathway alongside the development of CCUS to reduce existing emissions from industry, heat, power and transport.

Two years ago, the then UK finance minister George Osborne dumped a £1 billion industry competition to build a carbon-capture plant at Peterheid power station.

Dr. Luke Warren, Chief Executive of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association commented: “This Drax announcement represents an important step forward in the development of technology that can capture and store carbon dioxide from sustainable bio-energy to deliver negative emissions.

It is clear that negative emissions are likely to be needed if we are to deliver on UK and global climate change goals.”

Will Gardiner, Drax Group chief executive, said: “This pilot is the UK’s first step, but it won’t be the only one at Drax.

“We will soon have four operational biomass units, which provide us with a great opportunity to test different technologies that could allow Drax, the country and the world, to deliver negative emissions and start to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”

“Unlike previous CCS projects Drax has been involved with, this is an early pilot for a new technology. It will examine the potential of a new form of carbon capture, post combustion on biomass, rather than coal.”

British energy minister Claire Perry, MP, commented: “We aim to make the UK a world leader in carbon capture usage and storage, a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy.

“It’s hugely exciting that Drax has chosen to invest in this innovative project, demonstrating how government support for innovation can create an environment where companies can develop new technologies and scale up investment to build the sectors we will need to achieve long term decarbonisation.”

22 May 2018

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