Today, UK power supplier Drax announced what is set to be the world’s largest carbon removal deal with Respira International. Both sides have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the removal of 2 million metric tons of CO2, delivered as carbon removal certificates to Respira International, which is a carbon credit marketplace. Drax CEO Will Gardner has expressed his certainty that the deal will be a critical step for the development of voluntary carbon markets and will give a whole range of industries a boost for their decarbonization efforts.
The five-year deal will see Drax supply Respira with as many as 400,000 tons worth of certificates per year, backing them with CO2 removal from its planned bioenergy and carbon capture and storage (BECCS) plants in North America. The certificates will then be sold as credits on Respira’s platform to businesses and institutions looking to offset their emissions and reach their climate goals.
In his statement, Gardner acknowledged the growing demand for engineered carbon removal that is reinforced by the development of policies to support BECCS in the UK and US. Both of these factors, Gardner said, will help draw in the investment required to propel this emerging sector of the economy and create thousands of new jobs, paving the way towards a more sustainable future.
Drax has so far been widely criticized by environmental groups for its BECCS projects and bioenergy plants, due to concerns that rising demand for biomass feedstocks may have a negative effect on land use resulting in higher lifecycle emissions.
A recent study by America’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), however, outlined the importance of BECCS and its critical role in delivering on President Joe Biden’s plan to have 100% clean electricity in the US by 2035.