During the visit to C-Capture’s premises, Rachel Reeves MP heard how a Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) pilot project is expected to get underway at Drax Power Station this autumn, which will be the first of its kind in Europe.
The chemistry being used in the pilot project has been developed by C-Capture – a Leeds University spin-out. During her visit to the company’s facilities, Rachel Reeves, who is MP for Leeds West, got to see some of the equipment which will be installed at Drax Power Station for the pilot.
Rachel Reeves said:
“This BECCS project between C-Capture and Drax is ground-breaking. If it works, it could put Yorkshire and the UK at the forefront of the race to develop the BECCS technology which is essential to tackling climate change. It’s very exciting and I look forward to hearing more as the pilot progresses.”
BECCS is vital to global efforts to combat climate change because the technology will mean the gases that cause global warning can be removed from the atmosphere at the same time as electricity is produced. This means power generation would no longer contribute to climate change, but would start to reduce the carbon accumulating in the atmosphere.
Drax, the biggest power station in the UK, near Selby in North Yorkshire, is investing £400,000 in the BECCS pilot project with C-Capture. Since it converted two thirds of the power station to use biomass instead of coal it has become the biggest single site renewable power generator in the country and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe.
Andy Koss, Drax Power CEO, said:
“This BECCS pilot has the potential to make the renewable electricity produced at Drax Power Station carbon negative. If we’re serious about meeting our climate targets, then negative emissions are a must – and BECCS is what’s going to get us there.”
Chris Rayner, founder of C-Capture and Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Leeds, added:
“During the six month pilot at Drax, we aim to use our chemistry to capture a tonne of carbon a day and in the process demonstrate that if the project was scaled up we could achieve one of the holy grails of CO2 emissions strategies – negative emissions in power production. That’s where we believe the potential CO2 emissions reductions are likely to be the greatest.”
C-Capture is a spin-out from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Leeds, established through funding from IP Group Plc.
- Drax Power Station is the single largest user of sustainable biomass for power in the world – 65% of the electricity it produced in 2017 was renewable, enough to power four million households.
- Biomass, such as sustainably sourced compressed wood pellets, is a renewable fuel – the CO2 captured when it grew is equal to the emissions it releases when used to generate electricity so it does not contribute new carbon to the biosphere. When coupled with CCS, the overall process of biomass electricity generation removes more CO2 from the atmosphere than it releases.
- A report by the Energy Technology Institute in 2016 has suggested that by the 2050s BECCS could deliver roughly 55 million tonnes of net negative emissions a yearin the UK – approximately half the nation’s emissions target.
- The government’s Clean Growth Strategy identified ‘sustainable biomass power stations used in tandem with CCUS technology’ as a potential route to achieving long-term decarbonisation between now and 2050.
- C-Capture is a spin out from the Chemistry Department at Leeds University and has attracted support from IP Group, the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Energy Entrepreneurs Fund and the CO2 Capture Project for CO2 capture technology, which has potential in a range of areas including biogas upgrading, natural gas sweetening and hydrogen production.
Drax Group plc plays a vital role in helping change the way energy is generated, supplied and used. Its 2,300-strong staff operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.
The Group includes:
Drax Power Ltd, which operates the largest power station in the UK, based at Selby, North Yorkshire and supplies six percent of the country’s electricity needs. The energy firm converted from burning coal to become a predominantly biomass-fuelled electricity generator. Drax is the biggest single site renewable generator in the UK and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe.
Haven Power, based in Ipswich, supplies electricity to large Industrial and Commercial sector businesses.
Opus Energy, based in Oxford, Northampton and Cardiff, provides electricity and gas to small and medium sized (SME) businesses.
Drax Biomass, is based in the US and manufactures compressed wood pellets produced from sustainably managed working forests, supplying fuel used by Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses.
For more information visit www.drax.com/northamerica