Energy Minister takes in carbon capture commissioning at Drax

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 3 Dec 2018

Energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry has visited Drax Power Station’s bioenergy carbon capture and storage pilot plant.

It is the first of its kind in Europe and could enable Drax to become the first carbon negative power station in the world.

BECCS has been identified as an essential technology for achieving global climate targets and the UK government announced new plans for developing CCS at the first ever world summit on CCS held in Edinburgh last week.

Drax has invested £400,000 in its BECCS pilot, which uses technology developed by Leeds University spin out company C-Capture, and is expected to capture a tonne of carbon dioxide a day during the six month project.

If successful and the technology is scaled up, it could enable Drax to achieve negative emissions – meaning the power it produces would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide accumulating in the atmosphere; vital in tackling climate change.

Read more: Drax adds to UK Government's pledge to bring an end to coal power

During her visit, the minister met the team behind the innovative project and heard about the commissioning of the plant, which got underway last week, and coincided with the 10th anniversary of the Climate Change Act.

Mrs Perry, said: “This major milestone in developing cutting-edge technology to reduce emissions while growing the economy shows our modern Industrial Strategy in action.

“Backed by government funded innovation, Drax has helped put the UK on the map when it comes to carbon capture ahead of pivotal talks with global leaders in Edinburgh this week, which aim to supercharge the global deployment of this game-changing technology.”

Read more: Europe’s first bioenergy carbon capture and storage pilot is underway

This project at Drax is already helping to put the UK on the map when it comes to carbon capture. The development of this cutting-edge technology to reduce emissions while growing the economy shows our modern Industrial Strategy in action. It is game-changing technology, which is why we need to supercharge its deployment.”

The government announced it was providing £20m to develop carbon capture equipment at industrial sites, as well as plans to repurpose fossil fuel infrastructure, such as reusing old gas pipelines to transport carbon, at the CCS summit.

The project at Drax includes the use of equipment no longer used to control sulphur on four of the generating units at the power station which have been upgraded to use sustainable biomass, instead of coal. This is because the wood pellets used to generate renewable power, shipped through Immingham and Hull, produce minimal levels.

Will Gardiner, CEO at Drax Group, said: “Our BECCS (Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage) pilot project is the UK’s first step to delivering a key technology in the fight against climate change.

“If this project is successful, it could enable Drax to become the world’s first carbon negative power station – something many would never have dreamed possible a decade ago.

“At Drax we want to create a low carbon future – to do that we have to test the technologies that could allow us, as well as the UK and the world, to deliver negative emissions and start to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”

Since upgrading two thirds of the power station to use biomass instead of coal, Drax has become the UK’s largest renewable power generator and the biggest decarbonisation project in Europe.

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