Drax is the largest decarbonisation project in Europe, having converted two thirds of its generating units to use biomass as an alternative to coal.
At present, Drax is running multiple Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) pilot projects and investigating how Drax Power Station can enable revolutionary technologies to become the world’s first carbon-negative power station and facilitate both carbon capture in the North of England and the economic production of blue hydrogen.
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Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is key to unlocking negative emissions from power generation. It can remove over 90% of emissions from fossil fuel generation, and when combined with bioenergy can produce negative emissions. Drax’s project would propel the Drax Power Station to become the first site to deploy dedicated biomass with CCS in the world. This in turn could lead to the creation of the world’s first carbon-negative power station with the potential to deliver up to 16 MtCO2 of negative emissions per annum.
CCS is considered critical to meeting net zero targets. The availability of CCS CO2 transport infrastructure passing through the Humber industrial cluster from Drax to the east coast would enable other industrial and power generation sites to tie-in to this pipeline. The captured CO2 would then be stored deep under the seabed in the Southern North Sea.
Negative emissions technologies such as BECCS are considered to be the missing link to achieving a net-zero emissions target in the UK. These technologies will be vital to remove residual positive emissions remaining from difficult-to-decarbonise sectors of the economy such as aviation and agriculture.
The CCS infrastructure would also facilitate blue hydrogen production near the Drax Power Station via the conversion of natural gas in an autothermal reformer (ATR) with annexed carbon capture. A previous study by Element Energy estimates that, by 2030, this could lead to the production of up to 13 TWh/years of blue hydrogen for industrial use and up to 165 TWh/year for power generation.
Blue hydrogen production
Sub-seabed carbon storage
Installing carbon capture technology at Drax could turn it into the world’s first carbon-negative power station”
Deploying BECCS at scale:
Establishing a regional carbon dioxide transport and storage network:
This project is part of the Zero Carbon Humber partnership.
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