Pellet-burning behemoth Drax is offering British suppliers the chance of contracts it values at ‘hundreds of millions of pounds’, in its bid to build the world’s biggest carbon capture and storage plant.
The Selby, Yorkshire company, supplier of 5% of Britain’s power and its biggest single-site renewables generator, today revealed its ambition to source 80% of pipes, pumps and all related kit for its CCS mega-project specifically from UK contractors.
In place of the more usual CCS, the operator prefers the variant BECCS, or ‘bioenergy with carbon capture and storage’.
BECCS at Drax, the firm calculates, could mean British contractors benefiting massively, over 10,000 jobs protected or created in the East Coast Cluster around the Humber, and the decarbonisation of industry in one of the UK’s most carbon-intensive regions.
The firm’s vision would bolster Whitehall’s drive to level up the North, buoyed by newly valuable green skills.
If public consultations starting this November bear fruit, construction of two BECCS units onsite might begin in 2024, the firm estimates. Up to eight million tonnes of CO2e might be secured every year, once both units are working by 2030.
The company unveiled in March its outline plans for the BECCS venture. It needs a development consent order from D-BEIS, a process expected to take two years.
The following month the group took full control of Pinnacle, its main supplier of compressed woodchip pellets, mainly – and controversially – sourced from north America.
Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO, said today: “BECCS will play a vital role in enabling the UK to reach its legally binding net zero target, as well as saving the energy system billions of pounds”.
“Our ambition is to put the UK supply chain at the heart of delivering this crucial climate saving technology. By doing so, we’ll create and protect thousands of new jobs, kickstart new industries and help level up the UK.”
On the road
Coinciding with today’s announcement, Drax today launches the first of a series of nationwide supplier events. Run in partnership with chambers of commerce across West & North Yorkshire and Humberside, the series will enable new and prospective suppliers to learn more about the BECCS project.
Drax’s conversion of its Selby power station to sustainable biomass instead of coal has enabled it to become the UK’s largest single site renewable generator, reducing its emissions by over 90%.
Work to build BECCS at Drax could get underway as soon as 2024, with the first BECCS unit operational in 2027 and a second in 2030.
This week Drax launched with farmers’ union the NFU a programme to increase UK production of bioenergy crops.
Suppliers interested in finding out more about Drax’s plans and attending nationwide introductions, now and throughout 2022, can email Drax@NOF.co.uk