UK-based power generator company Drax has pledged for sustainable biomass production and sales of the product by 2030. The company aims to capitalise on increasing demand from Europe and Asia, as countries look to move away from coal. The North Yorkshire company set new targets for pellet production, hoping to switch away from fossil fuels for more environmentally friendly methods of power generation. The company will develop opportunities to use bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and has planned an investment of £3 billion between 2022 and 2030.
CEO of the company, Will Gardiner said “Drax has made excellent progress during 2021 providing a firm foundation for further growth. We have advanced our BECCS project – a vital part of the East Coast Cluster that was recently selected to be one of the UK’s two priority CCS projects. And we’re now setting out a strategy to take the business forward, enabling Drax to make an even greater contribution to global efforts to reach net-zero.”
Drax’s power stations provide around 6% of Britain’s electricity. Currently, it produces 4 million tonnes of biomass pellet production, which the company intends to double by 2030. The new set-up plants will seek to capture the emissions by burning pellets, absorbing greenhouse gases, and creating an overall impact to become carbon negative.
Drax is also developing a technology to capture and store emissions generated from burning wood-based biomass pellets. It has been considering building a biomass plant in the United States of America as well. The CEO, Gardiner, emphasised that Drax will only use wood residuals or by-products from trees, primarily used for lumber and that demand for wood from sustainably managed forests will help increase forest growth.
Analysts at JP Morgan believe that the company’s self-funded investment program is “ambitious yet realistic”. Several other energy companies have already struggled with soaring wholesale energy prices in order to survive among Europe’s tight gas market. More than 20 British energy companies have collapsed since September, but Drax’s attempt does seem like a promising start.