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Drax and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering announce new BECCS pilot

In the UK, Drax Group and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering, Ltd, part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Group (MHI), have agreed on a new bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) pilot project at Drax Power Station which will get underway this autumn. The pilot will test MHI’s carbon capture technology – marking another step on Drax’s journey towards achieving its world-leading ambition to be a carbon-negative company by 2030.

An engineer looks up at the flue gas desulphurisation unit at Drax Power Station. The massive pipe above him could transport more than 90 percent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) captured with bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) while power is being generated (photo courtesy Drax).

MHI, together with Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. (KEPCO) started the development of the Kansai Mitsubishi Carbon Dioxide Recovery (KM CDR) Process, a post-combustion carbon capture technology, in 1990.

As of June 2020, MHI has delivered a total of 13 commercial plants with the KM CDR Process, making it a global leader in carbon capture technology deployment. Two more plants are currently under construction.

MHI aims to continue reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) globally by providing reliable and economically feasible carbon capture technology, supported by research and development activity over 30 years and commercial records around the world.

Our plans to develop ground-breaking BECCS at the power station in North Yorkshire will help to boost the UK’s economy following the COVID-19 crisis and support the development of a zero-carbon industrial cluster in the Humber region – delivering clean growth and protecting thousands of jobs. We’re very pleased to be working with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries on this exciting pilot which will further our understanding of the potential for deploying BECCS at scale at Drax – taking us closer to achieving our world-leading ambition to be a carbon-negative company by 2030, said Will Gardiner, CEO, Drax Group.

Test MHI solvents

MHI’s 12-month pilot will capture around 300 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) a day for the purpose of confirming its technology’s suitability for use with biomass flue gases at Drax Power Station in Selby, North Yorkshire.

Two of MHI’s proprietary solvents will be tested, one of which — KS-1 Solvent — is already being used at 13 commercial plants delivered by MHI, including Petra Nova in Texas, USA, the world’s largest post-combustion carbon capture facility, capturing 1.4 million tonnes of CO2 a year.

The other is the newly developed KS-21 Solvent,  designed to achieve significant performance improvements and cost savings.

We are very proud to be a part of the BECCS pilot project with Drax. We firmly believe that our carbon capture technology would be able to contribute to the UK’s zero-carbon targets in a material way, said Kenji Terasawa, President & CEO, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering.

According to Drax, implementing BECCS at its biomass-fired power station could deliver 16 million tonnes of negative emissions a year – a third of the negative emissions the UK needs from BECCS to reach its zero-carbon targets by 2050 and anchor a zero-carbon industrial cluster in the Humber region, delivering clean growth whilst protecting 55 000 jobs.

“This is an exciting collaboration between Drax and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries which has the potential to further the development of technology which could help the UK achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and contribute to the post-COVID economic recovery”, said Nigel Adams MP, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development, here seen addressing delegates at the 2017 USIPA Exporting Pellets conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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