Drax is to kickstart the planning process to deploy bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) at Drax Power Station.
In order to deploy the technology, the energy firm must secure a Development Consent Order (DCO) from the government, with the process – which Drax is to begin this month – on average lasting around two years.
This first phase of the DCO application process includes an informal public consultation during the month.
If this application is successful, work to build Drax’s first two BECCS units could get underway in 2024, although this will be subject to the right investment framework from government. When operational, the units could capture and store up to eight million tonnes of CO2 a year, the company said.
Drax has already transformed the power station near Selby in North Yorkshire to use sustainable biomass instead of coal, lauding the site as “the largest decarbonisation project in Europe”.
Last week, the company announced it has dropped plans to develop any new gas plants, including its plans to build Europe’s biggest CCGT plant. This followed on from Drax selling four of its CCGTs to VPI Holdings in December as part of its sale of Drax Generation Enterprise for £193.3 million.
It is aiming to be the first company in the world to be carbon negative by 2030, and is a founding member of the Zero Carbon Humber project, with this being a partnership of 12 leading businesses and organisations.
These organisations jointly submitted a public-private sector funded bid worth around £75 million to the government to establish a CCS and hydrogen economy in the Humber region.
Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO, said the DCO process is a “landmark moment in deploying BECCS at Drax”, adding the technology will be able to permanently remove “millions of tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere” as well as make “a significant contribution to efforts to address the climate emergency, whilst creating thousands of new jobs and supporting a post-COVID-19, economic recover”.