Drax Group, Equinor and National Grid Ventures have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop the UK’s first “zero carbon cluster” in the Humber region.
The “zero-carbon cluster” would comprise a Drax power station, a large-scale carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) network and a hydrogen production facility (see diagram below).
Drax already operates a “carbon-negative” power plant in North Yorkshire, the technology from which could be scaled up to form the heart of the cluster.
The Yorkshire plant uses an innovative bioenergy carbon capture and storage to capture 1t of carbon dioxide every day – the scaled-up plant could capture up to 40,000t a day.
Drax zero carbon Humber map
Energy from the plant would be exported to the grid. The Zero-Carbon Cluster would also use pipes and empty oil wells in the North Sea to store the carbon captured from the power plant.
Drax Group chief executive Will Gardiner said: “The Committee on Climate Change was clear – the UK needs both bioenergy with CCS and hydrogen production at scale by 2030 to achieve a ‘net zero’ carbon economy.
“This partnership is committed to meeting this challenge putting Great Britain at the heart of the global energy revolution.
“With Drax’s carbon negative power station, the Humber region could lead the world in new technologies that can deliver for the climate and the economy, helping to create a cleaner environment for future generations whilst creating new jobs and export opportunities for British businesses.”
National Grid Ventures chief operating officer for global transmission Jon Butterworth added: “This is a project of great potential for the UK and the Humber region and we look forward to leveraging our skills and expertise to enable this transition.
“We have seen rapid progress in decarbonising energy through established technologies such as wind power, solar and electricity interconnectors. CCUS and hydrogen create a new pathway to greater decarbonisation of the energy system and provide a platform for decarbonising other areas of our economy, which will be to the benefit of current and future generations.”
The Zero-Carbon Cluster facility could be constructed as soon as the mid-2020s.
The three key commitments in the memorandum:
- Explore the opportunity to scale-up the innovative bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS) pilot project at the Drax Power Station in order to create the world’s first carbon negative power station in the 2020s.
- Explore the potential development of a large-scale hydrogen demonstrator within the Drax site by as early as the mid-2020s – in line with the CCC’s recommendation that hydrogen should be produced at scale in at least one industrial cluster by 2030.
- Explore the strategic opportunities in developing a cutting-edge hydrogen economy in the region.
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