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UK power plant may absorb more carbon than it emits

The Drax Power Station near Selby, North Yorkshire.
Anna Gowthorpe | AP
The Drax Power Station near Selby, North Yorkshire.

One of the world's worst-polluting power plants may become the first in the world to absorb more greenhouse gases than it emits.

The Drax Yorkshire power plant supplies one tenth of the United Kingdom's power, and is one of the biggest carbon-emitting facilities in the world, according to an article in the New Scientist.

That may change. The owners are switching from burning coal to wood pellets, an increasingly popular form of fuel in Europe. The pellets come from trees grown in the southern United States and elsewhere. The carbon that the plant emits will be pumped into deep underground chambers below the North Sea. Drax's owners intend to plant new trees to replace the ones they cut, which, in theory, will suck up even more greenhouse gases.

Critics say, however, that the rate at which the replanted trees grow and absorb carbon will create a lag time during which carbon emissions will still rise. Others point out that the reforested areas might end up being cleared for other uses.

Read the full article at the New Scientist