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Drax to become carbon negative by 2030

Published by
Energy Global,

British energy company, Drax Group Plc, announced their ambition to become carbon negative when Chief Executive Officer Will Gardiner spoke at a Powering Past Coal Alliance event at COP 25 in Madrid, Spain on 10 December 2019.

Gardiner said that Drax has an ambition to become carbon negative by 2030, but doing so will depend on an effective negative emissions policy and investment framework for new technologies like bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

Being carbon negative means that Drax will be removing more CO2 from the atmosphere than it produces throughout its operations. This will create a negative carbon footprint for the company within a decade.

Drax is already running a successful BECCS pilot at its power station capturing 1 t of CO2 every day. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the UK Committee on Climate Change agree that BECCS is critical to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Sustainable biomass is an important part of the UK's long-term energy mix. Combining this renewable fuel with carbon capture and storage technology on Drax's biomass generating units at its power station in North Yorkshire, England, means the Group's operations could capture 16 million tpy of CO2.

In recent years Drax has converted two-thirds of its coal-fired power station to use sustainable biomass. In the first half of 2019, 94% of the power produced by Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire, England, was renewable. This delivered carbon savings of more than 80% compared to when it only used coal.

Earlier this year Drax captured carbon dioxide from a 100% biomass feedstock using BECCS technology, through its successful pilot project.

If Drax closes its remaining two coal generating units at Drax Power Station by 2025 and uses carbon capture technology on its biomass power generating units, its operations will become carbon negative by 2030.

Drax is a member of the Powering Past Coal Alliance, an initiative launched by the UK and Canadian governments, which seeks to end the use of unabated coal in power stations around the world by 2030. The Powering Past Coal Alliance wants to accelerate the transition away from unabated coal and Drax is supporting its work to encourage members to scale up their ambitions, and to create more collaboration, helping prospective new members to move forwards in using cleaner energy.

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