Drax to launch US-based carbon removal business

Laurie Fitzmaurice

North Yorkshire-based global renewable energy firm Drax Group announced that it plans to establish a new independent business unit that will focus on becoming “the global leader in delivering large-scale and high-integrity carbon removals.”

The business will be “operationally separate” within the Drax Group and headquartered in Houston, Texas.

Drax said the new business will be led by Laurie Fitzmaurice, a senior energy infrastructure expert who has nearly 30 years of experience in business development around the world, most recently for Amazon Web Services.

Drax said it intends to formally launch this new entity in the United States later this year and Fitzmaurice will be supported “by a highly skilled management team with a track record of success in tackling climate change through the development and delivery of innovative technologies.”

The company said: “Laurie and her team will take ownership for delivering the group’s strategy for BECCS (bioenergy with carbon capture and storage) in the US and internationally as set by the board of Drax Group plc.

“It will have day-to-day responsibility for project execution including project development, delivery and marketing and sales of CDR credits and power and deployment of the group’s multi-billion-dollar global BECCS capex programme.

“Laurie will also use her experience to collaborate with strategic partners drawn from the scientific, academic, consulting, investment and construction communities, in addition to civil society, so as to accelerate the global deployment of carbon dioxide removals technology.

“In the UK, Drax’s plans for installing BECCS onto its Power Station in Yorkshire and its transformation into the world’s largest carbon removals facility have recently been granted planning approval by the UK Government.

“The Government has also recently recognised the important role which biomass can play in delivering the UK’s plans for Net Zero as well as supporting energy security.

“The delivery of this project will continue to be handled by a UK-based team within Drax Group.”

Fitzmaurice said: ““I am delighted to have been asked to lead Drax’s new US-based business at such a crucial point in the growth of the carbon removals industry.

“We have enormous potential to play a significant role in tackling climate change and improving the lives of millions of people across the world.

“By working with a coalition of partners, together we can accelerate the rate at which we are able to scale carbon removals and I encourage stakeholders who are keen to deliver on this ambition to work with us.”

Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner said: “The creation of this business brings to life years of hard work by many outstanding people across our group and marks another step in Drax’s journey to enable a zero-carbon, lower-cost energy future.

“Our recent success is grounded in providing secure, renewable energy and our future is focused on playing a critical role in tackling climate change through the generation of secure, renewable power and the large-scale removal of carbon dioxide.

“I am excited to welcome Laurie as President of our new US-headquartered carbon removals business and look forward to working with her.

“We have a limited window of opportunity to capitalise on our first mover advantage and I am confident that the time is right for this approach.

“The new entity will bring focus and will scale the company’s ability to deliver carbon removals to organisations looking to reduce their carbon footprints.

“Delivering the ambitious targets will see the new entity become a leader in the growing carbon trading market.”