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29 Jan 2024

Drax announces its new carbon capture business

Amy Power
Drax announces its new carbon capture business

Drax has decided to create this new carbon capture business, with the purpose of it supervising the development of the company’s newly built BECCS plants, within the US and internationally. There is also hope that this development will find opportunities to collaborate with a coalition of strategic partners.

A recent announcement was made at the most recent COP28 ‘global stock take’, which stated that more and faster action needs to occur in order to combat the climate emergency. This necessity is why BECCS and other large-scale carbon removal projects, are usually viewed as important and critical to the drive focused on combatting the climate emergency. This view is taken due to the aims these projects have, with the most recent one from Drax, stating that it will aim to have the ability to remove a minimum of 6Mt of Co2 from the atmosphere every year.

The new project will be based in the UK and Drax plans to have the BECCS plant installed on its Power Station in Yorkshire. From there Drax plans to have this plant developed and transformed into the world’s largest carbon removals facility. To make this possible, the project was recently granted permission by the UK Government to commence planning. This planning and delivery of the project will be undertaken by a team based in the UK and within the Drax group. Alongside this, a recent study highlighted the importance of the role of biomass in carbon capture projects and how biomass can help the UK reach their goals for net zero, as well as energy security. This revelation was also brought to the Government’s attention and this led to the potential for more development and further expansion.

The plan so far for the BECCS project, is for it to be operationally separate within the Drax Group, but the project’s strategies will also be transferred to Houston in the United States. This transfer will be made possible by Laurie Fitzmaurice, a senior energy infrastructure expert, who has almost thirty years of experience in business development. Fitzmaurice and her team will be in charge of delivering the BECCS strategy, which Drax intends to deploy in America after a few months of the system being operational in the UK. Once the strategy has been deployed in the US as well, the project will then focus on its day-to-day responsibility for project execution, as well as project development, delivery and marketing. Finally, the project will focus on the sales of CDR credits, power and deployment of the BECCS multi-billion-dollar capex programme.

A recent study from Foresight Transitions, who are a specialised consultancy led by a team of researchers at Imperial College, London, stated that this BECCS project is vital to helping the United States reach its decarbonisation goals. Alongside this, the project will also make it possible for the US to deliver a zero-carbon power system by 2035, plus become net-negative by 2050. Aside from the larger benefits this project will supply, such as high emission reductions, the project will also create multiple opportunities in various job industries.

Altogether, it is clear that the overall view towards this project is that it is incredibly necessary to the drive towards decarbonisation. It is seen as a cost-effective solution, which is better than alternative technologies and simultaneously reducing interconnection delays and strengthening system reliability across three major regional grids within the U.S. (CAISO, MISO and ERCOT).


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