Drax has become the first in power plant in the world to capture carbon dioxide the burning of wood fuel.

The UK-based power plant has started a demonstration of a new technology that will capture 1 t/day of CO2 from a 100 per cent biomass feedstock.

The £400 000 project brings the prospect of a carbon-negative power plant closer to reality, Drax said. It is the first of several planned bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS) projects planned at the site.

“Proving that this innovative carbon capture technology works is an exciting development and another important milestone in our BECCS project,” said Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO. “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 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.”

The demonstration uses a solvent-based technology developed by UK-based C-Capture. Engineers began commissioning the system in November 2018.

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.

“Working at this scale is really where the engineering gets interesting,” said Caspar Schoolderman, Director of Engineering at C-Capture. “The challenge now is to get all the information we need to design and build a capture plant 10 000 times bigger.”