DRAX will be the first company in the world to announce an ambition to become carbon negative by 2030 when its CEO Will Gardiner speaks at COP 25 in Madrid today.
Being carbon negative means that Drax would be removing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it produces throughout its operations, creating a negative carbon footprint for the company within a decade.
Mr Gardiner said: “Drax’s ambition is to be carbon negative by 2030. Having pioneered the use of sustainable biomass, Drax now produces 12% 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.
“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.”
Drax is already running a successful pilot at its power station which captures a tonne of carbon dioxide every day.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the UK Committee on Climate Change agree that bioenergy with carbon capture and storage is critical to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Combining this renewable fuel with carbon capture and storage technology on Drax’s biomass generating units at its power station in North Yorkshire means the company’s operations could capture 16 million tonnes of CO2 a year or more, a significant proportion of the UK’s target.
In recent years Drax has become Europe’s largest decarbonisation project by converting two-thirds of its coal-fired power station to use biomass.
In the first half of 2019, 94% of the power produced by Drax Power Station was renewable, delivering carbon savings of more than 80% compared to when it only used coal.
After closing its remaining two coal generating units at Drax Power Station by 2025 and using carbon capture technology on its biomass power generating units, its operations would become carbon negative by 2030.
Drax is a member of the Powering Past Coal Alliance, an initiative launched by the UK and Canadian governments, which seeks to end the use of unabated coal in power stations around the world by 2030.