A NORTH Yorkshire energy giant has agreed to explore opportunities to work with British Steel on its multi-billion-pound carbon capture project.

Drax has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which brings together two major British industries to support the development of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

Through the partnership, Drax and British Steel aim to support efforts to meet the UK’s climate targets and level up the North, while supporting skills within the steel sector.

BECCS technology permanently removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while also generating reliable, renewable electricity.

Drax is ready to invest around £2bn in its plans to build BECCS in the UK.

Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO said: “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, while 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.”

Work could get underway as soon as 2024, with the energy company planning to source up to 80 per cent of the materials and services it needs for the project from British businesses.

Around 13,000 tonnes of steel will be required for the infrastructure project, including beams produced at British Steel’s Scunthorpe and Teesside steel works.

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.”

If the UK government gives more clarity this summer on the process for BECCS power projects to move forward within its CCS cluster programme, Drax’s BECCS project could capture eight million tonnes of CO2 a year from 2030, making it the largest carbon capture and storage project in the world.

It will also act as an anchor project for the East Coast Cluster, a consortium of Zero Carbon Humber and Net Zero Teesside, which combined account for more than half of the UK’s industrial emissions.