Drax Group has announced that it plans to establish a new independent business unit that will focus on delivering large-scale and high-integrity carbon removal.

The recent ‘global stocktake’ at COP28 warned of the need to move faster to tackle the climate emergency, with large-scale carbon removal widely regarded as being critical to meeting this challenge. Working with coalition partners, the new business proposes to combine Drax’s expertise in BECCS with the latest climate science. It will oversee the development and construction of Drax’s new-build BECCS plants in the USA and internationally, and work with a coalition of strategic partners towards an ambitious goal – to remove at least 6 Mt of CO2 from the atmosphere annually.

The business will be operated separately within the Drax Group and will be headquartered in Houston in the USA. Drax intends to formally launch this new entity later this year. The management team will be responsible for delivering the Group’s strategy for BECCS in the USA and internationally, as set by the board of Drax Group. It will have day-to-day responsibility for project execution including sales of CDR credits and deployment of the Group’s multi-billion-dollar global BECCS capex programme.

Wider issues

In the UK, Drax’s plans for installing BECCS onto its power station in Yorkshire and its transformation into what it believes will be the world’s largest carbon removal facility have recently been granted planning approval by the UK government. The delivery of this project will continue to be handled by a UK-based team within Drax Group.

The engineered carbon removals market has continued to grow exponentially over the last 12 months with 4.5 Mt purchased in 2023 – a sixfold increase from the previous year. However, the total amount sold to date represents only 0.05% of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change annual goal.

  • New research published on 25 January by Foresight Transitions, a specialised consultancy led by a team from Imperial College, London, concludes that BECCS is necessary to help the United States achieve its ambitious decarbonisation scenarios, deliver a zero-carbon power system by 2035 and become net-negative by 2050. The report concludes that the integration of BECCS is a cost-effective solution, outweighing other technologies, while strengthening system reliability across the three major regional grids in the UDA – CAISO, MISO, and ERCOT – and reducing interconnection delays.