Can captured carbon from biomass power generation displace oil in the production of plastics?
A new partnership between UK cleantech companies Drax and Econic Technologies to explore the potential of Drax’s carbon capture and storage technology for the production of polyols, which are used predominantly in the polyurethane industry. Econic will test the carbon dioxide captured from Drax’s bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology at its industrial pilot facility in Yorkshire.
Econic Technologies has pioneered a catalyst that allows bespoke amounts of CO2 to replace up to 50% of the traditional fossil fuel-based materials used in polyol production. Polyols are the building blocks for polyurethanes and are used in the production of flexible and rigid foams, elastomers, adhesives, sealants and coatings.
Drax owns and operates a portfolio of flexible, low carbon and renewable electricity generation assets across Britain. The company, which pioneered the use of sustainable biomass, now produces 12% of the UK’s renewable electricity. Drax is continuing work with another cleantech company called C-Capture, using funding from the government’s carbon capture utilisation and storage innovation fund for work to test and validate the BECCS technology it is piloting. This is due to be completed later this year. UK Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, Kwasi Kwarteng, recently visited Drax to hear more about its ambitious plan to become carbon negative by 2030
Drax has installed storage cylinders to compress and store small quantities of the CO2 being captured from its BECCS pilot, which will enable Econic to test its suitability for use in its processes. Once running, they have the capacity to store up to 6kg of CO2 to enable testing to be carried out.
The project has the scope to unlock the potential of CO2 across a vast number of sectors, said Rowena Sellens, CEO Econic Technologies.
“We’re confident that the CO2 being captured by Drax will be suitable for use in our process, meaning that we could move forwards to explore potential commercial opportunities together and accelerate the roll-out of both our technologies and their positive climate impact.”