Drax announces plans to become first carbon negative company
10th December 2019 | Commercial Energy
Drax has announced plans to become the first “carbon negative” company through its use of carbon capture and storage technologies. The firm has long been associated with ways to reduce the carbon output of electricity facilities using more traditional fuels as opposed to renewables. Earlier this year Drax Power Station in Yorkshire became the first to use carbon capture technology on burning wood pellets.
Now it hopes to use that combination to become the first carbon negative company by 2030. As the trees used for the wood pellets will have already absorbed carbon dioxide while growing, more carbon will be removed from the atmosphere than is produced throughout the company’s operations Drax claims. But the firm said it needs “an effective negative emissions policy and investment framework” to make the plan workable.
The power station currently produces seven per cent of the UK’s electricity with around 65 per cent of its output through burning biomass. It used to run solely on coal before converting four of its six units to burning wood pellets as the UK moves away from using coal for energy production. But biomass has been controversial with some environmental campaigners, amid concerns about the amount of carbon dioxide burning plant material for power creates and where it is source from.
Chief executive Will Gardiner said, “Drax’s ambition is to be carbon negative by 2030. Having pioneered the use of sustainable biomass, Drax now produces 12 per cent of the UK’s renewable electricity. With the right negative emissions policy, we can do much more, removing millions of tonnes of emissions from the atmosphere each year.
“The UK Government is working on a policy and investment framework to encourage negative emissions technologies, which will enable the UK to be home to the world’s first carbon negative company. This is not just critical to beating the climate crisis, but also to enabling a just transition, protecting jobs and creating new opportunities for clean growth – delivering for the economy as well as for the environment.”
The company has also announced plans to potentially transform one or two of its remaining coal units to gas and build up to 200 megawatts of battery storage onsite.
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