Drax teams up with Econic to use captured carbon in plastic production

Econic Technologies has developed a catalyst that allows CO2 to replace up to 50% of the traditional fossil fuel-based materials used in polymer production

Drax has partnered with cleantech company Econic Technologies to explore the potential for using captured carbon from biomass power generation to displace oil in the production of plastic products.

The cleantech firm will test the carbon dioxide being captured from Drax’s bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology at its own industrial pilot facility in Yorkshire to assess its suitability for producing polymers used in polyurethane plastics.

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 polymer production.

The polyurethanes produced have a wide range of uses, such as in producing products for the automotive sector, consumer goods, home furnishings as well as insulation for buildings.

Drax has installed storage cylinders to compress and store small quantities of the CO2 being captured from its £400,000 BECCS pilot, which will enable Econic to test its suitability for use in its processes.

They are expected to be commissioned in the coming weeks and once running, they have the capacity to store up to 6kg of CO2 to enable testing to be carried out.

Dr Rowena Sellens, Econic Technologies CEO said: “Tackling climate change requires collaboration at all levels, and the Econic and Drax partnership is a significant step forward as industries establish viable, sustainable solutions. This project has the scope to unlock the endless potential of CO2 across a vast number of sectors.

“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 rollout of both our technologies and their positive climate impact.”

The collaboration was announced during Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng’s visit to Drax this week to hear more about its ambitious plan to become carbon negative by 2030.

The company is continuing its work with C-Capture to test and validate the BECCS technology at Drax Power Station. Applying the technology to all four of its biomass generating units is expected to capture and store 16 million tonnes or more CO2 a year.

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