Drax sets out its carbon-negative ambitions

11 December 2019

Sian Crampsie

UK generator Drax says it wants to become the world’s first carbon-negative business within ten years.

Speaking at COP 25 in Madrid, Drax CEO Will Gardiner said that the company is aiming to become carbon negative by 2030 by using bioenergy and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.

He added that the strategy would require an effective negative emissions policy and framework. “Drax’s ambition is to be carbon negative by 2030,” said Gardiner. “Having pioneered the use of sustainable biomass, Drax now produces 12 per cent of the UK’s renewable electricity.

“With the right negative emissions policy, we can do much more, removing millions of tonnes of emissions from the atmosphere each year.”

Drax is already running a successful bioenergy and CCS (BECCS) pilot at its power station in Yorkshire, northern England, capturing a tonne of carbon dioxide every day. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the UK Committee on Climate Change agree that BECCS is critical to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, Drax said.

Gardiner added: “The UK government is working on a policy and investment framework to encourage negative emissions technologies, which will enable the UK to be home to the world’s first carbon negative company. This is not just critical to beating the climate crisis, but also to enabling a just transition, protecting jobs and creating new opportunities for clean growth – delivering for the economy as well as for the environment.”

In recent years Drax has become Europe’s largest decarbonisation project by converting two-thirds of its coal-fired power station to use sustainable biomass. In the first half of 2019, 94 per cent of the power produced by its power station was renewable – delivering carbon savings of more than 80 per cent compared to when it only used coal.


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