Bioenergy with carbon capture use and storage (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 in early 2019.

A second BECCS pilot facility will be installed within the North Yorkshire power plant’s carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) incubation area in autumn 2020. The Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) facility will enhance Drax’s technical understanding for delivering negative emissions at the UK’s largest renewable power station.

Graphic showing carbon capture process at Drax Power Station from mid 2020s

Pre-FEED services

We’re working with Worley which will provide pre-FEED (front‐end engineering and design) 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.

Zero Starts Here


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

Discover more about CCUS, BECCS and negative emissions

  • 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
  • How do you store CO2 and what happens to it when you do?

    The science of safely and permanently putting carbon in the ground
  • 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
  • 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
  • Negative emissions techniques and technologies you need to know about

    Planting, sinking, extracting – some of the ways to absorb carbon from the atmosphere
  • Could turning carbon dioxide into fish food feed the future?

    Can we tackle two global challenges with one solution?
  • 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
  • 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?
  • What can be made from captured carbon?

    Transforming emissions from pollutants to products
  • 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
  • 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

Carbon Removal Resources