- Renewable energy company Drax is exploring opportunities with British Steel for it to supply around 13,000 tonnes of steel for the energy company’s multi-billion-pound UK bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) project.
- Partnership will also support the development of skills in the steel supply chain required to develop UK CCUS expertise, enabling the country to lead the world in the vital green industries needed to address the climate crisis.
- Drax’s ambition is to source up to 80% of the materials and services it needs to develop BECCS in the UK from British businesses, protecting and creating thousands of jobs, helping to level up the North.
The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) brings together two major British industries to support the development of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), a technology which could kickstart a whole new sector of the economy and create opportunities for the UK to lead the world in a vital technology required to address global warming.
Through the partnership, Drax and British Steel aim to support efforts to meet the UK’s climate targets and level up the North, whilst supporting skills within the steel sector.
Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO said:
“We are excited to be partnering with British Steel as we continue to progress our world-leading UK BECCS project. This country has a once in a lifetime opportunity to lead the world in vital new green technologies like BECCS, which will not only support thousands of UK jobs, but could also create new export opportunities, whilst helping to tackle the climate crisis.
“We aim to invest billions of pounds, create tens of thousands of jobs and have BECCS operational in the UK by 2030, provided that the UK Government has in place policies to support the feasibility and delivery of negative emissions technologies. BECCS will permanently remove millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year from as soon as 2027, whilst continuing to generate the reliable, renewable power this country needs.”
BECCS is a critical technology needed to combat global warming because it permanently removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere whilst also generating reliable, renewable electricity.
Drax is ready to invest around £2bn in its plans to build BECCS in the UK. Work could get underway as soon as 2024, with the energy company planning to source up to 80% of the materials and services it needs for the project from British businesses.
Around 13,000 tonnes of steel will be required for the major infrastructure project, including beams produced at British Steel’s Scunthorpe and Teesside steel works.
Allan Bell, British Steel’s Chief Commercial and Procurement Officer, said:
“We are proud to be working with Drax to explore the opportunities this major infrastructure project creates both in terms of the use of our steel products but also in developing skills in the steel supply chain required to support the development of CCUS expertise within the UK.
“We’re already making progress in our own decarbonisation journey, with our plans to use green hydrogen and our commitment to be net zero by 2050. There are real synergies between what we’re trying to achieve and Drax’s ambitions with BECCS, which we hope to build on through this partnership, putting the UK and the North of England on the world map.”
Holly Mumby-Croft MP, Member of Parliament for Scunthorpe, said:
“I was delighted to hear that Drax and British Steel had reached this agreement, it’s some really positive news for Scunthorpe.
“I’ve long said that we should be using British steel in British infrastructure projects not only because we should be supporting our local businesses, but because it’s also the best. I look forward to seeing the outcome of this partnership and the benefits it will bring to Scunthorpe, protecting jobs and supporting energy security.”
If the UK government gives more clarity this summer on the process for BECCS power projects to move forward within its CCS cluster programme, Drax’s BECCS project could capture 8 million tonnes of CO2 a year from 2030, making it the largest carbon capture and storage project in the world.
It will also act as an anchor project for the East Coast Cluster, a consortium of Zero Carbon Humber and Net Zero Teesside, which combined account for more than half of the UK’s industrial emissions.
The UK steel industry has played a pivotal role in the northern communities in which it operates, supporting thousands of jobs in both Scunthorpe and Teesside. Large infrastructure projects like Drax’s BECCS plans will support and help protect jobs in the steel sector.
Main image caption:
(From L – R) Ben Cunliffe, Commercial Director (Constuction), British Steel, Graham Backhouse, Commercial Director at Drax, Chris Vaughan Technical Director at British Steel, Allan Bell, Chief Commercial Officer at British Steel, Lisa Coulson, Marketing & Strategy Director at British Steel, Esa Heiskanen, Chief Officer Capital Projects at Drax.
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- The East Coast Cluster was selected by the UK government to be one of two priority industrial clusters to progress plans for carbon capture in the 2020s.
- More than 600 businesses from across the North recently attended supplier events Drax organised, where companies were able to find out more about how they could benefit from contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds associated with its BECCS plans.
- More than 1,800 people have signed up to pledge their support for Drax’s plans for BECCS at the power station in North Yorkshire.
- The world leading climate scientists at the UN’s IPCC say BECCS is a vital negative emissions technology required globally to reach the climate targets set out in the Parish Climate Accord in 2015.
- Negative emissions technologies are essential because they can permanently remove the CO2 accumulating in the atmosphere, which is causing temperatures to rise.
- Once up and running, Drax’s CO2 from Drax’s BECCS units would be transported via pipeline to the Endurance storage site, under the North Sea. This part of the process is being developed and by The Northern Endurance Partnership.
Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future and in 2019 announced a world-leading ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) technology.
Drax’s around 3,000 employees operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production and supply to third parties. For more information visit www.drax.com
Drax owns and operates a portfolio of renewable electricity generation assets in England and Scotland. The assets include the UK’s largest power station, based at Selby, North Yorkshire, which supplies five percent of the country’s electricity needs.
Having converted Drax Power Station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal it has become the UK’s biggest renewable power generator and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe. It is also where Drax is piloting the groundbreaking negative emissions technology BECCS within its CCUS (Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage) Incubation Area.
Its pumped storage, hydro and energy from waste assets in Scotland include Cruachan Power Station – a flexible pumped storage facility within the hollowed-out mountain Ben Cruachan.
The Group also aims to build on its BECCS innovation at Drax Power Station with a target to deliver 4Mt of negative CO2 emissions each year from new-build BECCS outside of the UK by 2030 and is currently developing models for North American and European markets.
Pellet production and supply:
The Group has 17 operational pellet plants and developments with nameplate capacity of 4.6Mt, which will increase to c.5Mt once developments are complete.
Drax is targeting 8Mt of production capacity by 2030, which will require the development of over 3Mt of new biomass pellet production capacity. The pellets are produced using materials sourced from sustainably managed working forests and are supplied to third party customers in Europe and Asia for the generation of renewable power.
Drax’s pellet mills supply around 30% of the biomass used at its own power station in North Yorkshire, England to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses.
Drax is the largest supplier of renewable electricity to UK businesses, supplying 100% renewable electricity as standard to more than 370,000 sites through Drax and Opus Energy.
It offers a range of energy-related services including energy optimisation, as well as electric vehicle strategy and management.
To find out more go to the website www.energy.drax.com