Drax carbon
Image credit: Wikimedia

UK utility Drax has partnered with a biotech start-up, Deep Branch Biotechnology to explore the use of captured carbon emissions to manufacture single-cell proteins used as sustainable fish and livestock feed.

Drax, and Deep Branch, which iss based at Nottingham University in the north of England, will install a pilot plant of its Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) Incubation area at Drax’s North Yorkshire power plant.

Emissions resulting from biomass generation will be fed to microbes, which the partners say can be used to make single-cell proteins which can be used in fish feed, and other useful products.

The North Yorkshire plant has been largely converted from coal to use sustainable biomass instead, and its hoped the new technology will further reduce emissions.

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The partners have also been in discussions with the British Beer and Pub association with regard to using captured carbon to carbonate their beverages.

A dedicated Incubation Area has also been created at the plant, with the idea of providing support to other technology companies wishing to test their processes on carbon dioxide.

Should the pilot prove to be successful, Deep Branch Biotechnology intends building a larger facility by early-2020.

Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner said: “By giving partners like Deep Branch Biotechnology access to our CCUS Incubation Area we can test emerging technologies and explore their potential in delivering for both the climate and the economy.

“We want to create a cleaner environment for future generations whilst generating new jobs and export opportunities for British businesses. Technologies like this could enable some of our more difficult to decarbonise sectors, like agriculture, to make positive changes to address the climate crisis.”