Drax to convert first unit to biomass in April

By Erin Voegele | February 21, 2013

Drax Group plc has released preliminary financial results for 2012, noting that its biomass transformation is well underway. According to company’s report, its first unit will be converted to biomass in April, with the second unit scheduled for conversion in 2014.

“Last year was pivotal for Drax. After ten years developing significant knowledge and experience in all aspects of using sustainable biomass in place of coal at our power station, we now have the mandate, means and expertise to transform the business into a predominantly biomass-fuelled generator,” said Dorothy Thompson, chief executive of Drax. “With government support and our financing secured, both in the second half of 2012, we are on track to convert our first generating unit fully to biomass in April of this year, with the second to follow in 2014.”

According to Thompson, EBITDA during the two years of transition will be adversely impacted by increasing carbon costs. However, she also added that Drax is confident it will deliver attractive returns for its shareholders as it moves beyond the two year conversion phase, in which significant capital is being invested.

Regarding biomass research and development activities, Drax’s report specifies it demonstrated technical capabilities to convert its units to run completely on biomass. The company also developed solutions to deliver reliable, flexible power generation with attractive rates of efficiency and output. The annual report also notes that Drax is continuing with on-going work related to the use of additives, corrosion tests and optimization of nitrogen oxide (NOx) performance.

Drax also reported that construction for onsite biomass handling and storage is on track, and that the company is making good progress securing fuel and logistics for the first two unit conversions.

Drax reported EBITDA of £298 million ($459.97 million) in 2012, a reduction when compared to the EBITDA of £334 million reported in 2011. 



1 Responses

  1. Icacalalu



    there would be a 47% energy loss in prsnisoecg and transport of fuel to Europe.When wood fuel arrives in the UK it is burnt in a 30% efficient power station. So the forest to plug' efficiency (Canada to London) is:0.53 x 0.3 = 16%or to put it another way, assuming that bioenergy fuels the prsnisoecg and transport, just one in six trees cut down actually delivers electricity at the point of final consumption in the UK.CARBON DEBTThe worst thing is the carbon debt. Burning 60 million tonnes of oven dry wood will put around 110 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere annually as smokestack emissions, assuming the wood is 50% carbon and all the carbon is converted to CO2. (any Carbon Monoxide that is emitted is soon oxidised in the atmosphere to CO2). 110 million tonnes of CO2 is a huge increment. In 2010 Govt figures reported that UK total net carbon emissions were 491 million tonnes, and energy supply sector emissions were 191 mt.Biomass industry says these emissions are not the same as coal emissions they are from recent sequestration ( as if that matters) and they will be absorbed by new growth. Biomass proponents concede now that there is such a thing as a carbon debt but propose it can be dealt with by using fast growing trees (aka plantations). Industry is tinkering with GM to develop super-fast Eucalyptus that can thrive in dry and cold areas.Govt is allowed to completely ignore the smokestack carbon due to the IPCC / UNFCCC treatment of biogenic emissions.How many NEW trees will have be planted to sequester Big Biomass emissions every year to payback the growing carbon debt from smoke stack emissions, and offset additional and ongoing shipping emissions? New trees are small (obviously) and don't draw down much carbon until they are established. That will inevitably take time, and delay the date when we start to really reduce overall emissions. The longer we delay cutting actual emissions, the higher the reduction rate needs to be. Adding a carbon debt of even a decade by burning so much wood is extremely dangerous.Who is responsible for planting these new trees in Canada, USA and S. America? The answer is it's being left to the market.Can the market truly deliver such an increase sustainably' and isn't the endpoint really more green deserts' of monoculture plantations rather than natural forests'?Maybe the US is growing more timber than it cuts, but what is the point of growing timber to burn and accelerate global warming?


    Leave a Reply

    Biomass Magazine encourages encourages civil conversation and debate. However, we reserve the right to delete comments for reasons including but not limited to: any type of attack, injurious statements, profanity, business solicitations or other advertising.

    Comments are closed