Quest carbon capture station

Trade release: Drax Power Station is evaluating Shell technology for one of the world’s largest carbon dioxide capture projects

Shell Catalysts & Technologies has signed an agreement with Drax Power Ltd to provide one of the world’s largest pre-FEED studies on CO₂ capture technology.

By Shell Catalysts & Technologies on Nov 8, 2020

Shell Catalysts & Technologies has signed an agreement with Drax Power Ltd (Drax) to provide the early front-end-engineering design (pre-FEED) study on carbon dioxide (CO2) capture technology for the first two carbon capture units at the Drax Group’s power station near Selby, North Yorkshire, UK. Each of the carbon capture units would be designed to capture about 4 Mt/y of CO2.

The pre-FEED study will be undertaken by TechnipFMC (NYSE: FTI) (PARIS: FTI) on behalf of Shell Catalysts & Technologies. This is one of the largest such studies awarded worldwide. If implemented, it will be the first low-pressure, post-combustion CO2 capture application for a biomass-fired power station and one that will result in carbon negative power generation – another global first.

The potential of CO2 capture on biomass generating units

Drax Power Station is the largest, single-site, renewable electricity generator in the UK and supplies 12% of the UK’s renewable power. It uses compressed wood pellets, a form of sustainably sourced biomass, to generate 96% of its power. The pre-FEED study is to investigate the capture of the CO2 from this carbon-neutral process using the Shell CANSOLV® CO2 Capture System when potentially deployed on the first two of Drax’s biomass generating units.

TechnipFMC is Shell’s strategic alliance partner for CANSOLV technology and provides engineering, procurement and construction expertise for such projects. The carbon captured would then be transported by pipeline for sequestration under the seabed in the North Sea as part of the bigger Zero Carbon Humber industrial decarbonisation project.

Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage can deliver negative CO2 emissions

In June 2019, the UK government signed a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target into law. Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) projects are a key part of meeting this net-zero ambition, as they can deliver negative CO2 emissions, which will be crucial to decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors of the economy such as aviation and agriculture.

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As shown in Figure 1 below, BECCS projects are carbon negative because the biomass is sourced from sustainably managed forests that absorb CO2 from the atmosphere while growing; this offsets the CO2 released by the fuel when used. The addition of carbon capture and storage means that more CO2 is permanently removed from the atmosphere than is emitted.

Partners for a pioneering project

Andy Gosse, President, Shell Catalysts & Technologies, says, “We are proud to be working with Drax as a partner for this pioneering project. The Shell CANSOLV CO2 Capture System has been in operation since 2014 in a large-scale, commercial, low-pressure application at SaskPower in Canada, where it is designed to capture up to 1 Mt/y of CO2.”

Andy Gosse continues, “Our experience in amine-based systems extends over 60 years: more than 1,200 amine-based gas treating systems have been deployed. This enables us to extend with assurance the application window to this new post-combustion BECCS duty. The project with Drax represents a step up in scale and will be a flagship project not only for the companies involved, but also in the world of carbon capture and storage.”

Stan Knez, President of TechnipFMC’s Process Technology, added, “We are pleased to be selected along with our CANSOLV technology partner, Shell, to work on this important carbon capture and sequestration project. Decarbonisation is a key part of the energy transition programme and a project of this dimension will make a significant difference in reducing carbon emissions.

The capture of CO2 will enable Drax to be the world’s first producer of carbon-negative electricity, thereby helping to deliver the UK’s net-zero carbon targets. At about 8 Mt/y of possible CO2 sequestration from the first two Drax biomass generating units, this would be equivalent to taking two million cars off the road.

Download the CANSOLV CO2 capture system fact sheet

The pre-FEED study follows the completion of a successful feasibility study and is expected to run until early 2021. When the study is complete, Drax will decide whether to proceed with a FEED study.

How Drax’s BECCS project will work. It will take CO₂ out of the atmosphere and put it safely in the ground – the reverse of conventional electricity.
Figure 1: How Drax’s BECCS project will work. It will take CO₂ out of the atmosphere and put it safely in the ground – the reverse of conventional electricity.

CANSOLV is a Shell group trademark.

For further details, please contact:

Annette Morgan
TechnipFMC Process Technology
Tel: +1 281 249 2475

Or Justin Swain
Shell Catalysts & Technologies
Tel: +44 20 793 44113

Notes to editors

About Drax

Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero-carbon, lower-cost energy future and in 2019 it announced a world-leading ambition to be carbon negative by 2030 using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology.

Its 2,900-strong employees operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.

Power generation: Drax owns and operates a portfolio of flexible, low-carbon and renewable electricity generation assets across the UK. The assets include the UK’s largest power station at Selby, North Yorkshire, which supplies 5% of the country’s electricity needs. The conversion of two-thirds of Drax Power Station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal means it has become the UK’s biggest renewable power generator and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe. It is also where Drax is piloting the groundbreaking negative emissions technology BECCS within its carbon capture utilisation and storage incubation area. Its pumped-storage, hydro and energy-from-waste assets in Scotland include Cruachan power station – a flexible pumped storage facility within a hollowed-out mountain, Ben Cruachan. It also owns and operates four gas power stations in England.

Customers: Through its two business-to-business energy supply brands, Haven Power and Opus Energy, Drax supplies energy to 250,000 businesses across England, Scotland and Wales.

Pellet production: Drax owns and operates three pellet mills in the southern USA that manufacture compressed wood pellets (biomass) produced from sustainably managed working forests. These pellet mills supply around 20% of the biomass used by Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses.

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About the Shell CANSOLV CO2 Capture System

The Shell CANSOLV CO2 Capture System is the only large-scale, post-combustion technology in commercial operation and is based on amine technology.

It uses a regenerable solvent and a proprietary amine to capture up to 99% of the CO2 from low-pressure, oxidised gas streams. As a low-pressure CO2 capture technology, it is well suited for retrofitting at the tail end of existing plants and greenfield projects. The CO2 is released as a pure stream that can be sold, sequestered or used for enhanced oil recovery. The technology is highly adaptable to a wide variety of industrial applications, gas flow rates and CO2 concentrations from 3.5 to 25% and higher. Licensed units treat gases containing a range of CO2 concentrations at capacities up to 1 Mt/y.

About Shell Catalysts & Technologies

Shell Catalysts & Technologies, part of Shell, is a leading technology licensor and brings owner–operator–innovator–capabilities to the market. It has more than 1,200 references for gas processing technologies at gas plants and refineries worldwide.

It supports Shell and non-Shell businesses by working with them to co-create integrated, customised solutions comprising licensed technologies, refining and petrochemical catalysts, and technical services.

It was formed by combining Shell Global Solutions, a technology licensor with a track record of delivering pioneering process schemes and innovative configurations; Criterion Catalysts & Technologies, the world’s largest hydroprocessing catalyst supplier; and CRI Catalyst Company, a pioneer in the petrochemical catalyst sector.

It operates across the energy value chain: from upstream, gas processing and liquefied natural gas through to downstream refining and petrochemicals.

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About TechnipFMC

TechnipFMC is a global leader in the energy industry delivering projects, products, technologies and services. With its proprietary technologies and production systems, integrated expertise and comprehensive solutions, it is transforming customers’ project economics.

Organised in three business segments, Subsea, Surface Technologies and Technip Energies, TechnipFMC is uniquely positioned to deliver greater efficiency across project life cycles from concept to project delivery and beyond. Through innovative technologies and improved efficiencies, its offering unlocks new possibilities for customers in developing their energy resources and in their positioning to meet the energy transition challenge.

Each of TechnipFMC’s 37,000 employees is driven by a steady commitment to clients and a culture of project execution, purposeful innovation, challenging industry conventions and rethinking how the best results are achieved.

For more information, visit, or follow TechnipFMC on Twitter @TechnipFMC.

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