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Drax, Equinor, NG Ventures in UK CCS partnership

Highlights

Carbon-negative target for BECCS

Large-scale hydrogen demo planned

BECCS 'anchor project' for Humber cluster

London — Drax, Equinor and National Grid Ventures Explore aim to create the world's first carbon-negative power station in the 2020s by scaling up Drax's existing bioenergy carbon capture and storage pilot project in Yorkshire, northern England, the partners said Tuesday.

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The three are also to work on a large-scale hydrogen demonstrator at the Drax site near Selby by as early as the mid-2020s.

"The [UK parliament's] 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," Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner said.

The CCC has recommended hydrogen should be produced at scale in at least one industrial cluster by 2030.

Drax is already capturing a metric ton of carbon dioxide a day from its bioenergy carbon capture and storage pilot project. As use of wood pellets in generation is defined as carbon neutral, capture of the CO2 from the combustion process would make the plant carbon-negative, creating allowances that could potentially be sold.

If BECCS is scaled up it could serve as the 'anchor' for a regional CCUS network capturing millions of tons of carbon each year from nearby industrial emitters," the partners said.

A study outlining the technical, economic and societal opportunities for CCUS and hydrogen in the Humber region is to be published by the partners later this year.

On May 2 the CCC published a report, Net Zero, which found that CCUS and hydrogen technology developed in regional industrial clusters is essential if Great Britain is going to achieve a 'net zero' carbon economy by 2050.

"For decades the Humber has been a strategically important industrial cluster for the UK -- it has the skills, industrial capability as well as offshore storage to transform itself into a cutting-edge low carbon hub," Gardiner said.

Norwegian oil and gas group Equinor has over two decades of experience in CCS, capturing and storing more than 20 million mt of CO2 to date at its Sleipner and Snohvit fields on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

The Norwegian government is supporting a full CCS value chain project in Norway to demonstrate a commercial framework for the process. Equinor has been awarded the CO2 storage part of the project, the first in the world to receive CO2 from several industrial sources.

Meanwhile Equinor, Vattenfall and Gasunie are looking at the possibility of converting Vattenfall's gas-fired Magnum power plant in the Netherlands into a hydrogen-powered plant.

The project has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by 4 million mt a year.

National Grid has been involved in UK CCS projects for several years in the Humber region, researching and testing pipeline capabilities for CO2 transportation and test-drilling of a sub-sea storage site in the North Sea 65 km (40 miles) off the Yorkshire coast in summer 2013.

--Henry Edwardes-Evans, henry.edwardes-evans@spglobal.com

--Edited by Jonathan Dart, newsdesk@spglobal.com