BECCS and negative emissions - Drax

Bioenergy with carbon capture, use and storage (BECCS) and negative emissions

The UK needs negative emissions technologies to meet its 2050 net zero target to help combat the global climate crisis.

Negative emissions are a vital part of a solution that also includes decarbonising all sectors of the economy, deploying more renewables, hydrogen and EVs as well as improving energy efficiency and changing the way we live.

Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) is the most scalable negative emissions technology available today to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. We are trialling BECCS at Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire.

BECCS delivers a triple benefit:

  1. Negative emissions essential for fighting the climate crisis
  2. Clean economic growth — preserving and creating jobs
  3. Reliable renewable electricity to support the grid as more wind and solar are connected

Our BECCS projects and partnerships

Capture technologies

We began to pilot the first bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS) project of its kind in Europe at Drax Power Station in October 2018.

The pilot project with C-Capture technology captured its first carbon at the UK’s largest renewable power station in early 2019.

A second BECCS pilot facility, installed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) within the North Yorkshire power plant’s carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) incubation area in autumn 2020, enhances Drax’s technical understanding for delivering negative emissions.

Graphic showing how carbon is captured from an emissions source

Pre-FEED services

We’re working with Worley which will provide pre-FEED services for two biomass-to-BECCS unit upgrades. The contract includes development of plant layout, cost estimation and schedules for FEED, detailed engineering, procurement and construction.

Zero carbon cluster

Becoming the world’s first carbon negative power station would also make Drax a hub of the UK’s first zero carbon industrial cluster – known as Zero Carbon Humber, helping to decarbonise the North of England.

Infographic showing what a Zero Carbon Cluster could look like in the Humber region

Carbon recycling

Drax Power Station’s CCUS incubation area also hosts a feasibility study investigating how carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions could be captured and used to make proteins for sustainable animal feed products.

How to turn CO2 into fish food

The feasibility study is part of REACT-FIRST, an initiative obtaining critical data about a new single-cell protein used in fish and poultry feed that is set to sustainably transform the UK’s aquaculture and poultry industries.

Another CCUS project explored the feasibility of using molten carbonate fuel cells as a technology for capturing CO2, while producing power and supplying the greenhouse gas to a neighbouring horticultural site to improve crop yields.

Carbon negative

In December 2019, we announced a world-leading ambition to become a carbon negative company by 2030.

Our ambition is only achievable with an effective negative emissions policy and investment framework. The UK Government is developing those as part of its global leadership in addressing the climate crisis.

Drax BECCS timeline

With an effective negative emissions policy and investment framework from government we could deploy bioenergy with carbon capture use and storage (BECCS) on two of our biomass generating units by 2030.

  • 2019: Drax BECCS pilot (with C-Capture) started capturing CO2 in world first with 100% biomass feedstock
  • 2020: Second Drax pilot (with MHI) to capture CO2 from biomass feedstock installed in the autumn
  • 2027: BECCS technology installed on at least one biomass generating unit at Drax
  • 2030: BECCS installed on two biomass units and Drax Group becomes a carbon negative company
  • 2035: BECCS technology installed on all four Drax biomass units
  • 2040: Humber industrial cluster achieves zero carbon status

Graphics

Discover more about CCUS, BECCS and negative emissions

  • From Yorkshire, for the world

    Our cutting-edge carbon removal technologies will help the UK, and the world, hit net zero.
  • Can carbon capture take the UK beyond net zero?

    The story of how carbon removal can transform industries and prevent climate change
  • It’s time to look to the North

    Discover the power of Carbon Capture by Drax
  • Capturing Carbon at Drax - Delivering Jobs, Clean Growth, and Levelling Up the Humber [Vivid Economics, November 2020]

  • Jobs, skills, zero emissions – the economic need for carbon capture by Drax

  • Building back better by supporting negative emissions technologies

  • A tour of Drax's innovative CO2 capture pilot

    How we are trialling ground-breaking CCS technology at Drax Power Station in a bid to achieve negative emissions
  • If the world wants a green recovery, it must commit to innovation

    Negative emissions technologies are critical for the earth’s climate and hitting net zero in the UK, argues Drax CEO Will Gardiner
  • Zoom in on Net Zero - with Drax CCS head Karl Smyth

    Head of carbon capture and storage strategy & engagement at Drax joins BusinessGreen editor in chief James Murray
  • What are negative emissions?

    Everything you need to know about removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
  • What is carbon capture usage and storage?

    Everything you need to know about carbon capture usage and storage
  • Could turning carbon dioxide into fish food feed the future?

    Can we tackle two global challenges with one solution?
  • How do you store CO2 and what happens to it when you do?

    The science of safely and permanently putting carbon in the ground
  • The UK needs negative emissions from BECCS to reach net zero – here’s why

    Why experts think bioenergy with carbon capture and storage will be an essential part of the energy system
  • From steel to soil – how industries are capturing carbon

    The power industry is leading the charge in carbon capture and storage but where else could the technology make a difference to global emissions?
  • 5 projects proving carbon capture is a reality

    From capture methods to storage and use across three continents, these companies are showing promising results for CCUS
  • The policy needed to save the future

    How the UK can achieve net zero
  • Laying down the pathway to carbon capture in a net zero UK

    The numbers must add up to enable negative emissions in a zero carbon future, says Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner
  • What is a fuel cell and how will they help power the future?

    From NASA to carbon capture, chemical reactions could have a big future in electricity
  • Capture For Growth

    A roadmap for the world’s first zero carbon industrial cluster: protecting and creating jobs, fighting climate change, competing on the world stage
  • Capturing carbon emissions from the atmosphere could transform these industries

    How algae, paper and cement could all have a role in a future of negative emissions
  • Negative emissions techniques and technologies you need to know about

    Planting, sinking, extracting – some of the ways to absorb carbon from the atmosphere
  • What can be made from captured carbon?

    Transforming emissions from pollutants to products

Carbon Removal Resources