Drax power station becomes world’s first wood-burning plant to capture carbon

Engineers at Drax are trialling technology which captures carbon dioxide before it reaches the atmosphere

Drax Power Station in Yorkshire is pioneering a scheme to capture carbon dioxide before it can be released into the atmosphere, aiming to curb carbon emissions.

If successful, the plant could become the first negative emissions power station in the world with a large-scale rollout of the technology potentially capturing up to 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

The technology can trap up to a tonne of CO2 a day and was developed by C-Capture, a spin-out from the school of chemistry at the University of Leeds.

However, during trials the carbon dioxide trapped has still had to be released to the atmosphere – because they currently have nowhere to store it.

Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO, said: “Climate change affects us all so this is of real significance – not just for us at Drax, but also for the UK and the rest of the world.

“The successful deployment of BECCS [bioenergy carbon capture and storage, the technology used in the trial] requires us to identify ways in which the carbon dioxide we’re now capturing can be stored or used in other processes and we’re working with the government and other businesses on that.

“We’re focused on working together to make the progress required for us to tackle climate change and enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future.”

Around 70 per cent of the electricity the Drax power station produces is renewable – enough to power four million households.

Bosses are in discussion with the British Beer and Pub Association to find out if it could use the excess carbon dioxide to supply the fizzy drinks industry.

Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, Claire Perry, said: “This innovative technology has the potential to make huge strides in our efforts to tackle climate change while kick-starting an entirely new cutting-edge industry in the UK.

“World-firsts like this will help us to realise our ambition of having a first operational plant by the mid-2020s as we continue to seize the opportunities of moving to a greener, cleaner economy – a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy.”