Drax opens new coal-to-biomass conversion project in UK

9 December 2013 (Last Updated December 9th, 2013 18:30)

UK coal-fired power producer Drax has opened a new coal-to-biomass conversion plant as part of the £700m planned conversion program.

UK coal-fired power producer Drax has opened a new coal-to-biomass conversion plant as part of the £700m planned conversion programme.

Under the programme, the plant will burn wood pellets rather than coal at three of its six generating units that is estimated to reduce carbon emissions by 80% compared to coal.

Capture Power, a consortium of Alstom, Drax and BOC, has been awarded a front end engineering and design (FEED) contract for its planned White Rose carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration project.

The FEED contract calls for the planned development of a CO2 transportation and storage solution, the Yorkshire Humber CCS Trunkline, which is being undertaken by National Grid Carbon.

"The plant will burn wood pellets rather than coal at three of its six generating units that is estimated to reduce carbon emissions by 80% compared to coal."

Under the two-year FEED study, Capture Power will be responsible for detailed engineering, planning and financial work to finalise and de-risk all aspects ahead of taking the final investment decision, and continuing thereafter to achieve financial closure and the start of construction.

Capture Power and National Grid Carbon will work together with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to finalise a project contract to develop and operate the 426MW (gross) CCS project.

The £2bn CCS power plant, which is located on land adjacent to the existing Drax Power Station, near Selby in North Yorkshire, will be fuelled with coal and sustainable biomass.

Around 90% of the CO2 emitted at the plant will be captured and transported by pipeline for permanent storage deep beneath the North Sea seabed.

The projects are expected to generate enough clean electricity to power around one million homes across the UK and create 1,200 jobs.

DECC secretary Edward Davey said the UK needs a mix of renewables including biomass and coal to biomass conversions, onshore and offshore wind and solar, CCS technology, nuclear and some gas.

"This will help to protect consumers from price spikes caused by importing expensive gas, and will lower people's bills in the long-run with households getting £50 off their bills a year by early next year," said Davey.

Energy