Government pledge extra funding for renewable energy as Drax begin carbon capture project
Government funding for the development of carbon capture technologies has been increased following the success of a programme designed to encourage innovation. This follows news that the Drax power station, near Selby in North Yorkshire, has become the first site in Europe to capture carbon dioxide from wood-burning.
In July of 2018, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy launched a call for carbon capture innovation, allocating £15 million to support grant funding.
This funding would be given to projects which lead to “a significant reduction in the cost of capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide” or projects which promote “a quicker, more widespread deployment of CCUS in the UK and internationally.”
After a review conducted by the department in January 2019, they have an announced an increase in this funding, taking the total to £24 million.
Beyond this, the department, through their Energy Innovation Programme, will invest around £100 million in “low carbon industrial innovation to reduce the risks and costs of accelerating the roll out of low carbon technologies which will enable UK industry to remain competitive.”
This follows news that the Drax power station has begun a carbon capture programme, aiming to capture a tonne of carbon dioxide each day. The power station burns seven million tonnes of woodchips each year to generate electricity.
They have invested £400,000 in a pilot project, utilising innovative technology developed by Leeds-based company C-Capture.
According to the official company press release, this is the first time carbon dioxide has been captured from the combustion of 100 per cent biomass “anywhere in the world.”
Will Gardiner, CEO of Drax Group, stated that: “Proving that this innovative carbon capture technology works is an exciting development and another important milestone in our BECCS project. Climate change affects us all so this is of real significance – not just for us at Drax, but also for the UK and the rest of the world.
“The successful deployment of BECCS requires us to identify ways in which the carbon dioxide we’re now capturing can be stored or used in other processes and we’re working with the government and other businesses on that.
“We’re focused on working together to make the progress required for us to tackle climate change and enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future.”
Claire Perry, Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, welcomed these developments, saying: “This innovative technology has the potential to make huge strides in our efforts to tackle climate change while kick-starting an entirely new cutting-edge industry in the UK.
"World-firsts like this will help us to realise our ambition of having a first operational plant by the mid-2020s as we continue to seize the opportunities of moving to a greener, cleaner economy – a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy.”
The Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering have estimated that carbon capturing technology could capture up to 50 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year by 2050 – nearly half the country’s emissions target.