• Drax endeavouring to be world’s first negative emissions power company by 2030

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

The Guardian newspaper has reported on Drax’s transformation in going from once being labelled Western Europe’s biggest polluter to its ambition of becoming the world’s first carbon-negative energy business by 2030. After converting its coal-fired units to burn biomass, the company is now targeting carbon capture and storage so that, overall, in theory, its business will be carbon negative through bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). With the UK government having passed earlier this year a law obliging the kingdom to become carbon neutral by 2050, it is currently drafting a policy and investment framework to encourage negative emissions technologies, and Drax hopes that they will provide a commercial way forward to achieve the company’s ambitions. There remain critics, however, of the effectiveness of BECCS and how large its role can be in mitigating climate change. Drax maintains a policy of not sourcing biomass from farming practices that lead to deforestation, taking the fuel instead mainly from sawmill residue and forest overgrowth, giving it plausible grounds to argue that it will, in fact, be carbon negative, if the UK government provides the necessary subsidies.