Drax Group announced on June 10th that it chose the carbon capture technology from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering (MHI) for its BECCS power station in North Yorkshire. The two companies signed a long-term contract granting Drax the right to use Mitsubishi’s carbon capture and storage technology.
The biomass carbon capture plant is projected to be completed by 2027 with construction starting in 2024. It is supposed to capture and store 8 million tons of CO2 per year by 2030 which according to Drax, would make it the world’s biggest carbon capture facility.
The Advanced KM CDR process™️ of Mitsubishi is a renowned technology that uses a unique carbon capture solvent, KS-21™️ to capture the carbon emissions. The project would help Drax achieve its goal of becoming carbon negative across its operations by 2030. The government is also supporting the project in order to cut the UK’s CO2 emissions by 78% by 2035.
The biomass carbon capture plant is expected to generate thousands of jobs. MHI is also planning to locate its core carbon capture and storage team at the company’s European headquarters in London.
Biomass Carbon Capture Technology Criticism
However, in recent years BECCS and the huge government support the project has received criticism and has been deemed controversial. BECCS has been around for some time but many scientists argue that it is not as green as it claims to be.
The reservations come from the fact that the biomass that is outsourced for burning comes from clearing land for growing crops that is sometimes a forest. Scientists argue that better carbon dioxide removal would be achieved if the forest land is left alone.
Also Drax Group sources part of its biomass from overseas which incurs additional emissions from transportation that are not accounted for. The company is being accused of removing forests from other countries, thus destroying precious habitats. Drax’s argument is that it ensures the forests that it extracts biomass from, are being replanted. However, until the forests are recreated, there is a loss of species that are put at risk.
It was also estimated that Drax will receive a tax break of $346 million or £246 million which spurs some environmentalists and scientists to say that subsidising companies to burn wood for energy is not the most appropriate use of taxpayers’ money for reducing emissions.
The financials of the Drax project are projected to improve amid firmer carbon permits and energy prices in the UK.
The BECCS power plant in North Yorkshire is one of the biggest decarbonization projects in the world that would allow the company to become carbon negative by 2030 as expected. There is a controversy regarding the biomass approach with carbon capture technology for generating emission reduction. However, the project will be a testing ground for viability serving as an example for future similar initiatives.