The Drax power plant may potentially be undermined amid calls for an alternative approach to carbon capture.
A recommendation from the Climate Change Committee (CCC) is for the UK to start relying more on direct air carbon capture (DACCS) as opposed to bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).
The recommendation was made by CCC head of carbon budgets David Joffe during an Environment Audit Committee hearing yesterday.
And it comes amid concerns that the imports of biomass are not a sustainable solution.
This alternative approach to carbon capture, however, may threaten plans for the Drax power plant.
The reason is that Drax has been lined up for potential government funding as part of its large-scale 2022 biomass strategy.
Namely, Drax had announced its plan to fit its wood-burning power plant with BECCS technology – a venture that could end up costing the British people £31.7 billion (~43 billion) over 25 years.
Greenhouse gas removals (GGR) technology is certainly a requirement for governments to reach net-zero emissions targets, and as such, BECCS is already a relatively well-established part of the equation.
However, Joffe’s hopes are for the UK to achieve a greater proportion of these technologies from DACCS instead of from BECCS as it eliminates the sustainability issues of biomass supply.
According to the CCC, the UK should not rely as much on biomass imports for carbon capture and the removal of other greenhouse gases.
And Drax has already been the subject of much criticism surrounding the sustainability of its imports of wood pellets.
Thus, if the CCC adopts an alternative approach to the use of BECCS technology, the Drax carbon capture investment will come under threat.
Previously, it was thought that BECCS energy could help remove roughly four times more CO2 from the atmosphere than DACCS.
But under these new suggestions, the CCC may redraw its model and so far, the UK government has always closely followed its recommendations.