Drax power station says pilot scheme could make it “carbon negative”

21st May 2018 | Commercial Energy

Drax power station, in North Yorkshire, produces 7% of the UK’s electricity and 65% of its output is through burning biomass. The firm announced on Monday that it has joined with Leeds-based project C-Capture in what it says could be the first of several pilot projects aimed at delivering “a rapid, lower cost demonstration of Beccs.”

Beccs has been touted as carbon negative as it uses plants which take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and then store this when it is released as part of the electricity generation process.

Drax said that if this pilot were to lead to a full roll-out, it would achieve what the team behind the tech has called the “holy grail” of power generation. The firm has pointed to 2016 research which suggests that Beccs could deliver around 55 million tonnes of net negative emissions a year in the UK by the 2050s – approximately half the UK’s emissions target.

Carbon Negative

Drax says its biomass conversion has been the “largest decarbonisation project in Europe”. But the company has been criticised by some environmental campaigners who say biomass power generation causes deforestation, damages eco-systems and that claims for reducing atmospheric carbon rely on replanting vegetation which would take decades to replace crops that are lost.

Will Gardiner, CEO, Drax Group, said, “If the world is to achieve the targets agreed in Paris and pursue a cleaner future, negative emissions are a must – and Beccs is a leading technology to help achieve it. 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.”

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said, “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.”

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