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Bechtel and Drax partner to explore global opportunities for BECCS new build

US-headed global engineering, construction, and project management company, Bechtel Corporation (Bechtel) has announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership with UK-headed renewable energy company Drax Group plc, to explore options and locations to construct new Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) plants globally.

Chris Rayner (left), founder of C-Capture, Andy Koss, CEO Drax Power, Caspar Schoolderman, Director of Engineering at C-Capture, Carl Clayton, Drax Research and Innovation Engineer at the Drax BECCS plant, which has successfully captured carbon (photo courtesy Drax).

In November 2018, Drax commissioned its first carbon capture pilot using innovative technology developed by Leeds-based C-Capture to capture a tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) a day from the combustion of a 100 percent biomass feedstock. Chris Rayner (left), founder of C-Capture, Andy Koss, CEO Drax Power, Caspar Schoolderman, Director of Engineering at C-Capture, Carl Clayton, Drax Research and Innovation Engineer at the Drax BECCS plant (photo courtesy Drax).

Drax is the largest decarbonization project in Europe having converted its coal-fired power station near Selby in North Yorkshire in the UK to use sustainable biomass in the form of wood pellets instead. By deploying BECCS negative emissions technology, Drax aims to go further, by becoming a carbon negative company by 2030.

Bechtel will focus its study on strategically important regions for the new build of BECCS plants, including North America and Western Europe, as well as reviewing how to optimize the design of a BECCS plant using state-of-the-art engineering to maximize efficiency, performance, and cost.

Technological advancements have created new opportunities to improve how we bring power to communities worldwide. We are resolved to work with our customers on projects that deliver effective ways to contribute to a clean energy future. Tackling the big global challenges related to climate change is key to meeting aggressive environmental targets and we are proud to partner with Drax to optimize the design and explore locations for the new generation of BECCS facilities, said Jamie Cochrane, Bechtel Manager of Energy Transition.

BECCS an essential component

Negative emissions technologies remove more carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere than they emit and are widely accepted by the world’s leading authorities on climate change as being essential in the fight against climate change.

Analysis by independent experts including the United Nations (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and International Energy Agency (IEA) has identified that BECCS and other technologies that can remove emissions from the atmosphere will need to be developed at a global scale over the coming years to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming.

Negative emissions technologies such as BECCS are crucial in tackling the global climate crisis and at Drax we’re planning to retrofit this to our UK power station, demonstrating global climate leadership in the transformation of a former coal-fired power station. We’re interested in potential opportunities for exporting BECCS overseas, where Drax could help other countries take positive action to address the climate crisis and meet the Paris climate commitments by using innovative carbon capture technology to permanently remove CO2 from the atmosphere, said Jason Shipstone, Drax Group Chief Innovation Officer.

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