Drax begins bioenergy carbon capture and storage pilot

Nov 26 2018


The commissioning of a Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) pilot plant at Drax Power Station has started with the first carbon dioxide expected to be captured in the coming weeks.

If successful, the six month pilot project will capture a tonne of CO2 a day from the gases produced when renewable power is generated using biomass at Drax – the UK’s biggest power station, near Selby in North Yorkshire.

BECCS is vital to global efforts to combat climate change because the technology will mean the gases that cause global warning can be removed from the atmosphere at the same time as electricity is produced. This means power generation would start to reduce the carbon accumulating in the atmosphere – vital for tackling climate change.

Drax is partnering with Leeds-based C-Capture and is investing £400,000 in what could be the first of several pilot projects undertaken at the power station to deliver a rapid, lower cost demonstration of BECCS.

Drax Power Station became the largest decarbonisation project in Europe by upgrading two thirds of its generating units to use biomass instead of coal and, if the BECCS pilot is successful, it will examine options for a similar re-purposing of existing infrastructure to deliver more carbon savings.

The Royal Academy and Royal Society of Engineers have estimated that BECCS could enable us to capture 50 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year by 2050 – approximately half the nation’s emissions target.

Over the summer work was undertaken to ensure the solvent C-Capture has developed is compatible with the biomass flue gas at Drax Power Station. This was completed successfully along with a lab-scale study into the feasibility of re-utilising the flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) absorbers at the power station.

FGD equipment is vital for reducing sulphur emissions from coal, but it is no longer required to control sulphur on four of the generating units at Drax that have been upgraded to use biomass, because the wood pellets used produce minimal levels of sulphur.

The C-Capture team has now proceeded to the second phase of the pilot, with the installation of a demonstration unit. Once commissioned it will isolate the carbon dioxide produced by the biomass combustion.

C-Capture is a spin-out from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Leeds, established through funding from IP Group Plc.

Drax
C-Capture


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