The Anonymous Widower

Could Drax Power Station Solve The Carbon Dioxide Shortage?

Drax Power station is the largest power station in the UK, with a  2.6 GW capacity when burning biomass.

It has also been a regular target of environmental activists complaining of the power station’s carbon dioxide and other emissions.

But could it be an unlikely saviour to replace the carbon dioxide that comes from two fertiliser plants run by the CF Industries, that have been shut down by high gas prices?

I wrote about the shortage in Food Shortages Looming After Factory Closures Hit Production.

Two and a half years ago I wrote Drax Becomes First Wood-Burning Power Plant To Capture Carbon, which was based on an article in the Financial Times.

I said this about the report.

This news has been treated in a more sensationalist way by other news media and sites, but the FT gives it very straight.

Drax power station is running an experiment, that removes a tonne of carbon dioxide a day.

But that is only the start of the process and most of it is released to the atmosphere.

They are currently, looking for profitable and environmentally-friendly ways of disposal, including selling it to beer manufacturers.

Didn’t we have a carbon-dioxide shortage a few months ago?

Now is probably a good time to dig a little deeper into what Drax is doing.

The Wikipedia entry for Drax power station has a section called Carbon Capture And Storage.

This is the last paragraph of the section.

In May 2018, Drax announced a new carbon capture and storage pilot scheme that it would undertake in conjunction with the Leeds-based firm, C-Capture. The focus of this pilot will be on capturing carbon post combustion from the biomass burners as opposed to the coal burners. Drax will invest £400,000 into the project. The company, C-Capture, is a side company of the Department of Chemistry established at the University of Leeds. This would yield about 1-tonne (1.1-ton) of CO2 stored per day from the process, which could be sold on for use in the drinks industry. The pilot scheme was launched in February 2019. The capture of carbon from biomas burners is known as Bio Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS).

Who are C-Capture?

Their web site is very informative and this page is called Our Story, which explains the project at Drax.

We designed, built, and installed a pilot plant and have been operating it on site, with real flue gas, since early 2019. The data gathered from this trial is feeding directly into the design process for a full-scale plant, with a target of 10,000 tonnes of CO2 per day captured from one of Drax’s four biomass fired boilers. A recent development has been the installation of equipment to bottle the captured CO2 to allow other organisations to test their own developing technologies with genuine Drax derived CO2.

That looks like a result to me for C-Capture.

This page is called Technology and has a very neat interactive guide to how the technology works.


This company has some very special technology, that has a lot of applications.

It is also significant that Drax and BP have taken a shareholding in C-Capture.



September 18, 2021 - Posted by | Energy, World | , , , , ,


  1. Drax, such a contentious subject which relies on sourcing it’s biomass from the forests of North America. The pros and cons are just too large to give justice to in this blog.
    As for C-capture the technique is truly interesting so I wish them well, however our history of academic initiatives by UK universities and research institutions is littered with the indifference of UK industrial policy only to see successful exploitation in the hands of foreign companies.
    When it comes to BP’s circa £2 million investment in C-capture, BP currently plans to cut its oil and gas output by 40% by 2030 and spend $5 billion a year on low-carbon projects, in a bid to become one of world’s biggest green power producers.
    £2 million spread over the next few years is not exactly a ringing endorsement.

    Comment by fammorris | September 19, 2021 | Reply

  2. In the early 1970s, I was involved in designing a very large chemical plant for ICI, where I worked. I learned a lot and I have remembered all my chats with the design engineer.

    A lot of our problems on this project, was about scaling up a plant to satisfy a growing market.

    When I look at C-Capture’s design in the graphic on their website, it is so beautifully saleable, so that if you want a system to handle a thousand or a million tonnes of CO2, it can be designed.

    I suspect that is what has appealed to BP and Drax, as it can be used in applications across the board.

    The only trouble with it, is that if the Chinese found what the secret solvent was, they could clone the system, as it’s standard chemical engineering.

    The philosophy behind C-Capture has a lot in common with Highview Power, which I believe also used Leeds University for some research.

    I have seen several advances in chemistry over the last few years and I believe one or two of the next big innovations will be chemistry based.

    I would certainly recommend to a prospective student, who liked chemistry to do it at a good university.

    Comment by AnonW | September 19, 2021 | Reply

    • Could the Chinese get their hands

      Comment by fammorris | September 19, 2021 | Reply

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