Drax aims to generate 12mn mt/yr of CO2 removals certificates from bioenergy with carbon capture and storage projects by the end of the decade.

By Joseph Murphy

Energy generation firm Drax Group has signed what it describes as the world's biggest carbon removals deal with another UK company Respira International.

Under the memorandum of understanding, Respira will secure up to 2mn metric tons of CO2 removals certificates over a five-year period from Drax, which is developing bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). The certificates will come from BECCS facilities in North America.

Drax aims to generate 12mn mt/yr of CO2 removals certificates from BECCS by 2030. In addition to North America, it also aims to invest £2bn ($2.3bn) in a BECCS project in the UK that will remove 8mn mt/yr of CO2. It is drawing up investment plans for 4mn mt/yr of BECCS carbon removal elsewhere including in North America.

"This agreement with Respira will play a pivotal role in the development of voluntary carbon markets globally and the deployment of BECCS," Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner said in a statement. “The clear demand that we are seeing for engineered carbon removals, alongside the policies being developed by progressive governments in the US and UK to support BECCS, will enable the investment needed to kickstart a vital new sector of the economy, creating tens of thousands of jobs, often in communities which need them the most."

The $739bn Inflation Reduction Act recently passed in the US provides additional support for carbon removal technologies, and BECCS is set to play an important role in reaching the country's target to make 100% of its electricity clean by 2035.

Respira will be able to purchase up to 400,000 mt/yr of carbon removal certificates from Drax over the five years, to sell on a voluntary carbon market. The pair will now work towards making binding commitments, ahead of a final investment decision.