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Drax BECCS Pilot Project Underway
  UK

February 8, 2019

The first BECCS pilot project of its kind in the world at Drax Power Station in the UK has started capturing carbon dioxide.

The demonstration plant at the power station, near Selby in North Yorkshire, is using innovative technology, developed by Leeds-based C-Capture, to capture a tonne of CO2 a day, during the pilot.

It is the first-time carbon dioxide has been captured from the combustion of a 100% biomass feedstock anywhere in the world.

If the BECCS pilot can be scaled up to deliver negative emissions, Drax Power Station would be helping to remove the gases that cause global warming from the atmosphere at the same time as electricity is produced.

Engineers began commissioning the pilot plant in November with the first carbon now being captured, proving that the proprietary solvent developed by C-Capture can be used to isolate the carbon dioxide from the flue gases released when biomass is used to generate electricity.

Data being obtained about the CO2 capture process will continue to be analysed throughout the pilot to fully understand the potential of the technology and how it could be scaled up at Drax. Part of this will include identifying and developing ways to store and use the carbon dioxide being captured.

Drax has invested £400,000 in the pilot, which could be the first of several projects undertaken at the power station to deliver a rapid, lower cost demonstration of BECCS.

The Government's Clean Growth Strategy identified BECCS as one of several greenhouse gas removal technologies that could remove emissions from the atmosphere and help achieve long term decarbonisation.

Drax Power Station became the largest decarbonisation project in Europe by upgrading two thirds of its generating units to use biomass instead of coal. As part of the BECCS pilot, it will examine options for a similar re-purposing of existing infrastructure to deliver more carbon savings.

Work has already been undertaken to ensure the solvent C-Capture has developed is compatible with the biomass flue gas at Drax Power Station. This was completed last summer along with a lab-scale study into the feasibility of re-utilising the flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) absorbers at the power station.

FGD equipment is vital for reducing sulphur emissions from coal, but it is no longer required to control sulphur on four of the generating units at Drax that have been upgraded to use biomass, because the wood pellets used produce minimal levels of sulphur.

C-Capture is a spin-out from the School of Chemistry at the University of Leeds, established through funding from IP Group Plc. (Carbon Capture Journal)

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