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 electric vehicles (EVs) as well as improving energy efficiency.

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 and consulting the public on our proposals.

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

The need to know numbers

[Click to view/download]

CCUS incubation area, Drax Power Station, July 2019

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, enhanced Drax’s technical understanding for delivering negative emissions.

That successful pilot led the two companies to agree a long-term contract for Drax to use MHI’s carbon capture technology, the Advanced KM CDR process™️.

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.

New build BECCS

We have teamed up with Bechtel to explore options and locations to construct new BECCS plants globally.

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.

The Coalition for Negative Emissions

The Coalition for Negative Emissions was formed in October 2020 by a diverse range of organisations, including Drax.

Coalition for Negative Emissions

CNE members have a shared vision: to build back better as part of a sustainable and resilient recovery from Covid-19, by developing pioneering projects that can remove CO₂ and other pollutants from the atmosphere.

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
  • 2021: Environmental scoping and two rounds of public consultation
  • 2022: Submission of development consent order (DCO) application
  • 2024: Construction of first two BECCS units underway at Drax Power Station
  • 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
  • 2040: Humber industrial cluster achieves zero carbon status

An evolution of BECCS at Drax. Click to view/download


How BECCS removes carbon from the atmosphere

Graphic showing how carbon is captured from an emissions source

How carbon is captured from an emissions source

Storing carbon permanently under ground

Carbon Removal Resources