Drax announces ‘world’s first’ biomass carbon capture

UK-based biomass company Drax announced a ‘world’s first’ demonstration pilot of a bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology at its power station near Selby in North Yorkshire.

The technology, developed by UK-based C-Capture, can obtain upwards of a tonne of CO2 a day.

According to Drax, it is the first-time carbon dioxide has been captured from the combustion of a 100% biomass feedstock globally.

There are high hopes that the BECCS pilot can be scaled up to deliver negative emissions, with Drax claiming that the upscaling can lead to removing harmful gases from the atmosphere whilst electricity is being produced.

The pilot plant was commissioned by engineers in November 2018 and with the successful carbon capture, it is now proof that C-Capture’s proprietary solvent can be used to isolate the CO2 from the flue gases.

“Proving that this innovative carbon capture technology works is an exciting development and another important milestone in our BECCS project. Climate change affects us all so this is of real significance – not just for us at Drax, but also for the UK and the rest of the world,” said Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO.

“The successful deployment of BECCS requires us to identify ways in which the carbon dioxide we’re now capturing can be stored or used in other processes and we’re working with the government and other businesses on that. We’re focused on working together to make the progress required for us to tackle climate change and enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future.”

Data from the pilot will be used to understand the depths of the technology and how it can be scaled up at Drax. Identifying and developing storage and usage of the captured CO2 will be included in the analysis.

A total investment of £400,000 (457,000)has been made so far, with Drax claiming that it could be the first of several BECCS projects undertaken at the station.

“Working at this scale is really where the engineering gets interesting,” said C-Capture’s director of engineering, Casper Schoolderman.

“The challenge now is to get all the information we need to design and build a capture plant 10,000 times bigger. It’s only really when we get to those sorts of scales that we can start to have an impact on the climate.”


This article was written by Joshua Heer, junior editor of Bioenergy Insight.

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