A renewable energy company has signed an agreement with British Steel to potentially use thousands of tonnes of produced in Scunthorpe for a world leading carbon capture project.
The multi-billion pound project set up by Drax will support the development of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) – a technology which could kickstart a brand new sector in a bid to tackle global warming.
BECCS is a critical technology that permanently removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, as well as generating reliable and renewable electricity in the process. It is believed to be the next big step towards hitting national net zero targets.
Drax has signed an agreement with British Steel, which has sites in Scunthorpe and on Teeside, to explore opportunities for the steel to be used in the building of this project at Drax’s North Yorkshire power station.
The renewable energy company says it is ready to invest £2 billion into its plans to build BECCS in the UK, and work could get underway as soon as 2024.
Around 13,000 tonnes of steel would be required for the infrastructure job, many of which would be supplied by British Steel’s North Lincolnshire factory. Up to 80% of the materials and services for the project are expected to be sourced from British businesses.
Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO said: “We are excited to be partnering with British Steel as we continue to progress our world-leading UK BECCS project. This country has a once in a lifetime opportunity to lead the world in vital new green technologies like BECCS, which will not only support thousands of UK jobs, but could also create new export opportunities, whilst helping to tackle the climate crisis.
“We aim to invest billions of pounds, create tens of thousands of jobs and have BECCS operational in the UK by 2030, provided that the UK Government has in place policies to support the feasibility and delivery of negative emissions technologies.
“BECCS will permanently remove millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year from as soon as 2027, whilst continuing to generate the reliable, renewable power this country needs.”
The announcement comes off the back of the North Sea Transition Authority’s launching of the first round of licensing adverts for potential seabed sites to house these carbon storage areas – with Lincolnshire heavily involved in the 13 outlined areas that could welcome these facilities.
Allan Bell, British Steel’s Chief Commercial and Procurement Officer, said: “We are proud to be working with Drax to explore the opportunities this major infrastructure project creates both in terms of the use of our steel products but also in developing skills in the steel supply chain required to support the development of CCUS expertise within the UK.
“We’re already making progress in our own decarbonisation journey, with our plans to use green hydrogen and our commitment to be net zero by 2050.
“There are real synergies between what we’re trying to achieve and Drax’s ambitions with BECCS, which we hope to build on through this partnership, putting the UK and the North of England on the world map.”
Holly Mumby-Croft MP, Member of Parliament for Scunthorpe, said: “I was delighted to hear that Drax and British Steel had reached this agreement, it’s some really positive news for Scunthorpe.
“I’ve long said that we should be using British steel in British infrastructure projects not only because we should be supporting our local businesses, but because it’s also the best.
“I look forward to seeing the outcome of this partnership and the benefits it will bring to Scunthorpe, protecting jobs and supporting energy security.”
Meanwhile this week, British Steel also started work on £80 million of investments to enhance product range and improve environmental performance – which ties into this partnership signed with Drax.
The investment will go towards financing the £48 million installation of a new billet caster at the Scunthorpe site, while the Scunthorpe Rod Mill is being given a £32 million upgrade.