York & North Yorkshire

Drax power station aims to cut biomass gases in new pilot

Drax power station Image copyright PA
Image caption Drax power station produces 7% of the UK's electricity

The UK's biggest power station has announced a £400,000 pilot scheme to capture the carbon dioxide produced from burning wood pellets.

Drax power station, near Selby in North Yorkshire, wants to collect biomass emissions using "new chemistry".

It is believed to be the first bioenergy carbon capture storage (Beccs) project of its type in Europe.

The power station has previously been criticised by campaigners for the levels of air pollution it produces.

Drax said that if this pilot were to lead to a full roll-out, it would achieve what it called the "holy grail" of power generation.

It plans to work with energy firm C-Capture, which is connected to the chemistry department at the University of Leeds.

Image copyright Drax
Image caption Drax has produced diagrams illustrating its CO2 capture scheme

Its aim is to adapt the technology used to capture emissions from coal and to do the same for wood pellets - known as biomass - which Drax has burned since 2013.

The pilot will see the emitted gases mixed with a solvent that "collects the CO2", which is then stored and prevented from entering the atmosphere, Drax said.

Drax chief executive Will Gardiner said if the world was to achieve "a cleaner future" making use of technology such as Beccs was essential.

Chris Rayner, founder of C-Capture and professor of organic chemistry at the University of Leeds, said it was time for the technique to enter "the real world".

He said: "We have developed fundamentally new chemistry to capture CO2 and have shown that it should be suitable for capturing the carbon produced from bio energy processes."

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