Hundreds of British Steel jobs on Teesside are to be secured after a partnership with one of the world's most innovative energy projects.

Renewable energy company Drax has signed an agreement with British Steel to explore opportunities for its steel to be used to build the world’s largest multi-billion-pound carbon capture project at its power station in the UK.

Drax is ready to invest around £2bn in the UK, with work underway as soon as 2024. The company plans to source up to 80% of the materials and services it needs for the project from British businesses, with around 13,000 tonnes of steel needed.

That will include beams produced at British Steel’s Teesside steelworks at Lackenby, where about 400 staff are employed, and at Scunthorpe.

Read more: Green light for British Steel's £26m Skinningrove plans

The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) brings together two major British industries to support the development  of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), a technology which could kickstart a whole new sector of the economy and create opportunities for the UK to lead the world in a vital technology required to address global warming.

Through the partnership, Drax and British Steel aim to support efforts to meet the UK’s climate targets and level up the North, whilst supporting skills within the steel sector.Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO said: “We are excited to be partnering with British Steel as we continue to progress our world-leading UK BECCS project. This country has a once in a lifetime opportunity to lead the world in vital new green technologies like BECCS, which will not only support thousands of UK jobs, but could also create new export opportunities, whilst helping to tackle the climate crisis.

“We aim to invest billions of pounds, create tens of thousands of jobs and have BECCS operational in the UK by 2030, provided that the UK Government has in place policies to support the feasibility and delivery of negative emissions technologies. BECCS will permanently remove millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year from as soon as 2027, whilst continuing to generate the reliable, renewable power this country needs.”

The Northern Echo: British Steel at LackenbyBritish Steel at Lackenby


Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This is fantastic news, and a welcome boost for British Steel’s Teesside base, which will play a big part in Drax’s plans. This is yet another example of how our local businesses are benefitting not just from the transformative low carbon projects taking place on Teesside, but from across the north more widely as they seek our expertise and know-how.

“British Steel is already embracing the cleaner, healthier and safer industries of the future in our region, after launching a study into the use of green hydrogen in its operations on Teesside. This is one more feather in its cap as we help lead the march to net zero.”

BECCS permanently removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere whilst also generating reliable, renewable electricity.The Northern Echo: Graham Backhouse, Commercial Director at Drax, Lisa Coulson, Marketing & Strategy Director at British SteelGraham Backhouse, Commercial Director at Drax, Lisa Coulson, Marketing & Strategy Director at British Steel

Allan Bell, British Steel’s Chief Commercial and Procurement Officer, said: “We are proud to be working with Drax to explore the opportunities this major infrastructure project creates both in terms of the use of our steel products but also in developing skills in the steel supply chain required to support the development of CCUS expertise within the UK.

“We’re already making progress in our own decarbonisation journey, with our plans to use green hydrogen and our commitment to be net zero by 2050. There are real synergies between what we’re trying to achieve and Drax’s ambitions with BECCS, which we hope to build on through this partnership, putting the UK and the North of England on the world map.”

If the UK government gives more clarity this summer on the process for BECCS power projects to move forward within its CCS cluster programme, Drax’s BECCS project could capture 8 million tonnes of CO2 a year from 2030, making it the largest carbon capture and storage project in the world.

It will also act as an anchor project for the East Coast Cluster, a consortium of Zero Carbon Humber and Net Zero Teesside, which combined account for more than half of the UK’s industrial emissions.