Skip to content
Home » Drax Wins Permission For Carbon Capture At Britain’s Largest Power Plant

Drax Wins Permission For Carbon Capture At Britain’s Largest Power Plant

The Government has approved Drax’s development application to install carbon capture technology at Britain’s biggest power station, giving a new lease of life to the North Yorkshire site which provides a significant chunk of Britain’s electricity.

The company will be allowed to install equipment designed to capture the carbon created at the controversial plant, which burns wood pellets to produce electricity. The former coal power plant was converted to burn wood and other biomass during the 2010s, and burnt its final lump of coal in 2021.

In theory this should create carbon-neutral energy, because the trees and other plants burnt first absorb carbon, then are burnt and release the same carbon back into the atmosphere. But critics say this assumes that Drax only uses sustainable wood in its boilers. Investigations by the BBC and others have claimed that the company has used wood from environmentally important forests at the plant.

Read more: Weak demand continues to dog Yorkshire & Humber firms though slowdown eases

Read more: Aira lands £125m from top global investors amid drive to decarbonise UK homes

Proponents of the system say that if carbon capture systems are installed at the plant, and if it works as advertised, the Drax plant might go from being an extreme polluter when it used to burn coal to actually absorbing more carbon than it emits.

It would do this by trees absorbing carbon, then being burnt, with the carbon released by burning being captured and likely buried underground rather than being emitted into the atmosphere.

In a decision published on Tuesday, the Government said that its assessors had concluded that “over the whole life of the proposed Development there would be negative GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions due to carbon captured in the operational phase”.

Drax claims that the site could remove around eight million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year when fully operational. That is around 1.6% of the total emissions that the UK produced in 2022.

The Drax site is the largest power plant in the UK and by one measure supplies around 4% of Great Britain’s electricity.

“The…approval is another milestone…and demonstrates both the continued role that Drax Power Station has in delivering UK energy security and the critical role it could have in delivering large-scale carbon dioxide removals to meet Net Zero targets,” said chief executive Will Gardiner.

Story Saved

You can find this story in My Bookmarks.Or by navigating to the user icon in the top right.