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Scrap-ex: Drax to spend £700 million converting to biomass


The UK’s biggest power station will spend £700 million converting from coal to biomass power, according to its chief executive.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Dorothy Thompson said that the company intends to convert its first of the site’s six units to biomass by June with two more units to follow afterwards.

As a result, it will need to buy millions of tonnes of biomass per year from around the world and is building four storage silos that are each larger than the Albert Hall to hold 700,000 tonnes of biomass. By 2017, Drax will need to source 7.5 million tonnes of the material annually.

She said: “We see a key part of our future as converting from essentially a coal station to a biomass station. It will take Drax from being the largest carbon emitter by site in the UK to being, probably one of the largest renewable plants in the world.”

Dorothy Thompson added that Drax has hired farmers and foresters, designed special railway carriages for the material and is investigating building wood pellet plants in North America.

She told Bloomberg that Drax has already secured enough material to supply its first converted unit, and is confident it will source enough for the second unit that should come on stream in 2014.