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2021 June 11 10:08

DRAX and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries sign pioneering deal towards delivery of the world’s largest negative emissions project

Drax Group and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering, Ltd., part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group, have agreed a long-term contract for Drax to use its carbon capture technology, the Advanced KM CDR processTM, in what would be the largest deployment of negative emissions in power generation anywhere in the world, according to the company's release.

The contract, which combines UK innovation and world-leading Japanese technology, will see Drax license MHI’s unique carbon capture solvent, KS-21TM, to capture CO2 at its power station near Selby, North Yorkshire.

Drax is already the largest decarbonisation project in Europe, having converted its power station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal, reducing its emissions by more than 85%. By deploying BECCS technology, Drax aims to go further - becoming carbon negative by 2030. The first BECCS unit at Drax could be operational as soon as 2027, supporting thousands of jobs across the North of England as soon as 2024, and capturing and storing at least 8 million tonnes of CO2 a year by 2030.

Drax is the first company to sign a contract to deploy carbon capture technology at scale in the UK. The project combines MHI’s proven and world-leading technology with offshore geological storage under the North Sea, helping the UK achieve its target to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035 and demonstrates global climate leadership ahead this weekend’s G7 in Cornwall and of COP26 in Glasgow in November.

As part of the agreement, MHI plans to locate its core CCS team at the company’s European headquarters in London and explore additional employment opportunities in the UK in future. MHI is also looking at ways to strengthen its supply chain, including the potential production of its proprietary solvent in the UK.

Drax has already successfully trialled MHI’s carbon capture technology in a pilot that started in 2020 to test two of MHI’s proprietary solvents (KS-1TM and KS-21TM).

With an effective negative emissions policy and investment framework from the government, BECCS could be deployed at Drax as soon as 2027 - delivering the UK’s largest carbon capture project and permanently removing millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.

Drax has already kickstarted the planning process to deploy BECCS at its power station in North Yorkshire - if successful, work could get underway to build BECCS at Drax as soon as 2024, with the creation of thousands of jobs.

Drax aims to deploy BECCS on two of its biomass generating units by 2030 capturing and permanently storing up to eight million tonnes of CO2 a year - a significant proportion of the negative emissions the Climate Change Committee says are needed in order for the UK to reach its climate targets.

No investment decision has yet been taken and development remains subject to the UK government introducing the right regulatory framework.

Drax announced it was working on a pilot project with MHI last year to test the suitability of MHI’s carbon capture technology for use with biomass flue gases at Drax

MHI, together with Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. (KEPCO) started the development of KM CDR Process™ (Kansai-Mitsubishi Carbon Dioxide Removal Process), a post-combustion carbon capture technology, in 1990. As of May 2021, MHI has delivered a total of 13 commercial plants with the KM CDR Process™, with two commercial plants currently under construction, making it a global leader in carbon capture technology deployment. Two more plants are currently under construction.

The Advanced KM CDR ProcessTM, developed by MHIENG in collaboration with KEPCO, will use a new proprietary solvent, called KS-21TM. Compared to the earlier KS-1TM solvent, which has been adopted at 13 commercial plants delivered by MHIENG, KS-21TM has a number of advantageous properties, such as lower volatility and greater stability against degradation. The newer solvent is also expected to enable reduced running costs and other economic benefits.

A recent report by leading energy consultancy Baringa, commissioned by Drax, found that that without BECCS at Drax Power Station the energy system would incur additional costs of around £4.5bn to achieve the UK Government’s fifth carbon budget in 2028 to 2032 - making decarbonisation more difficult and significantly more expensive.

Drax is a founding member of the Zero Carbon Humber initiative which aims to deploy green technologies including BECCS, Hydrogen and industrial CCS to decarbonise the UK’s most carbon intensive industrial cluster.

The Northern Endurance Partnership is leading on the deployment of the transport and storage infrastructure needed to permanently lock away the carbon dioxide emissions from industrial emitters in the Humber and Teesside regions.

About Drax

Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future and in 2019 announced a world-leading ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) technology.
Its 3,400 employees operate across three principal areas of activity - electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production and supply to third parties.

About MHI Group

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group is one of the world’s leading industrial groups, spanning energy, logistics & infrastructure, industrial machinery, aerospace and defense. MHI Group combines cutting-edge technology with deep experience to deliver innovative, integrated solutions that help to realize a carbon neutral world, improve the quality of life and ensure a safer world.