Bechtel and Drax partner to explore global opportunities for new build BECCS

Bechtel and Drax are exploring options and locations to construct new BECCS plants globally

  • Bechtel, a world leader in engineering, construction and project management has entered into a strategic partnership with renewable energy company Drax, to explore options and locations to construct new Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) plants globally.
  • Scaling up BECCS sustainably over the coming decades will be critical to delivering the Paris Agreement climate targets and keeping the world on a pathway of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees.
  • The companies will also work together to identify how the design of a new build BECCS plant can be optimised using the latest technology and best practice in engineering design.

Bechtel has entered into a partnership with renewable energy company Drax to identify opportunities to construct new Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) power plants around the world.

Drax is the largest decarbonisation project in Europe having converted its power station near Selby in North Yorkshire to use sustainable biomass instead of coal.

By deploying BECCS’ vital negative emissions technology, Drax aims to go further, by becoming a carbon negative company by 2030.

Analysis by independent experts including the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency has identified that BECCS and other technologies that can remove emissions from the atmosphere will need to be developed at a global scale over the coming years to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees of warming.

Bechtel will focus its study on strategically important regions for new build BECCS plants, including North America and Western Europe, as well as reviewing how to optimise the design of a BECCS plant using state-of-the-art engineering to maximise efficiency, performance and cost.

Jamie Cochrane, Bechtel Manager of Energy Transition said:

“Technological advancements have created new opportunities to improve how we bring power to communities worldwide. We are resolved to work with our customers on projects that deliver effective ways to contribute to a clean energy future. Tackling the big global challenges related to climate change is key to meeting aggressive environmental targets and we are proud to partner with Drax to optimise design and explore locations for the new generation of BECCS facilities.”

Jason Shipstone, Drax Group Chief Innovation Officer, said:

“Negative emissions technologies such as BECCS are crucial in tackling the global climate crisis and at Drax we’re already planning to retrofit this to our UK power station, demonstrating global climate leadership in the transformation of a former coal-fired power station.

“We’re interested in potential opportunities for exporting BECCS overseas, where Drax could help other countries take positive action to address the climate crisis and meet the Paris climate commitments by using innovative carbon capture technology to permanently remove CO2 from the atmosphere.”

Negative emissions technologies remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they emit and are widely accepted by the world’s leading authorities on climate change as being essential in the fight against climate change.


Notes to editors:

Bechtel’s study for Drax will:

  • Establish an integrated design for new build BECCS power plants.
  • Assess viability of strategic locations for new build plants.
  • Provide strategic information to enable Drax to build the business case.

About BECCS at Drax:

  • International organisations – such as the International Energy Agency – recognise that BECCS is the most mature negative emissions technology. They estimate that approximately 1.3 GtCO2 of negative emissions from BECCS is required globally every year to reach net zero.
  • Drax aims to deploy BECCS on two of its biomass generating units by 2030 capturing and permanently storing up to eight million tonnes of CO2 a year – a significant proportion of the 53MtCO2 of negative emissions from BECCS the UK’s independent Climate Change Committee says are needed in order for the UK to reach its climate targets.
  • Governments enhanced commitments to reduce emissions by 2035 and phase out coal, alongside the UNIPCC and recent IEA’s reports, also reinforce how net zero is only achievable through negative emissions and sustainable BECCS.
  • BECCS is the only negative emissions technology that generates power whilst also capturing and permanently storing carbon away.

Media contacts:

Mat Ovenden
Manager Communications and External Affairs, Bechtel
E: [email protected]
T: +1 346 241 6701
T: + 1 713 235 3041

Ben Wicks
Media Manager (BECCS and Customers), Drax
E: [email protected]
T: +44 7761 525 662

About Bechtel

Bechtel is a trusted engineering, construction and project management partner to industry and government. Differentiated by the quality of our people and our relentless drive to deliver the most successful outcomes, we align our capabilities to our customers’ objectives to create a lasting positive impact. Since 1898, we have helped customers complete more than 25,000 projects in 160 countries on all seven continents that have created jobs, grown economies, improved the resiliency of the world’s infrastructure, increased access to energy, resources, and vital services, and made the world a safer, cleaner place.

Bechtel serves the Energy; Infrastructure; Nuclear, Security & Environmental; and Mining & Metals markets. Our services span from initial planning and investment, through start-up and operations.

About Drax

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.

Its 3,400 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.

Power generation:

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.

Pellet production and supply:

Drax owns and has interests in 17 pellet mills in the US South and Western Canada which have the capacity to manufacture 4.9 million tonnes of compressed wood pellets (biomass) a year. 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 20% 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.


Through its two B2B energy supply brands, Haven Power and Opus Energy, Drax supplies energy to 250,000 businesses across Britain.

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