Drax, the UK power generation company, will this morning become the world’s first company to announce its ambition to become carbon negative by 2030.
Chief executive Will Gardiner will tell the Madrid climate conference that scaled-up deployment of new technology like bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (Beccs) will enable Drax to remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it produces through its operations.
The company is currently running a pilot scheme for the technology at one of its power stations, removing a tonne of carbon dioxide a day.
However, the group could capture as much as 16m tonnes of carbon dioxide a year in the future, more than compensating for projected emissions from other operations by 2030.
Achieving the ambition will depend on an effective government emissions policy and a framework for future investment in the technology.
Gardiner said: “The UK government is working on a policy and investment framework to encourage negative emissions technologies, which will enable the UK to be home to the world’s first carbon negative company.
“This is not just critical to beating the climate crisis, but also to enabling a just transition, protecting jobs and creating new opportunities for clean growth – delivering for the economy as well as for the environment.”
Dr Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association, said:
“This ambition should be welcomed as not only evidence of the UK’s drive towards net zero, but the determination of first-moving private companies like Drax to remove more CO2 from the atmosphere than it releases across the entirety of its operations, without the use of offsets.”
In the last few years Drax had converted two-thirds of its coal-fired power stations to use sustainable biomass.
In the first half of 2019, 94 per cent of the power produced at Drax’s north Yorkshire station was renewable.
The company plans to shut its remaining two coal power assets by 2025, in line with the government’s plan for a total phase-out of the fossil fuel.