Britain’s Biggest Carbon Emitter Power Plant on its Way to Become Completely Green


Published Date : Jan 20, 2016

Drax power station, the largest power station of Britain, was once known as one of the biggest polluters of Britain – the one that emitted the largest amount of carbon dioxide owing to its coal-fired furnaces, is rapidly turning making its move to being green.

The six huge electricity-producing units of Drax are driven by six giant furnaces, which were all earlier dependent on coal. Recently, two of these six units were completely converted from coal to biomass and a third unit will also be 100% run on wood pellets instead of coal from later this year, at a cost of over £700 mn. The wood pellets that the power plant will be using to power its furnace are made from second-rate wood such as branches and tree tops, forest thinnings, agricultural waste such as seed husks and straws, and residue from sawmills. This biomass in the form of compressed wood pellets will be imported from commercial forests in Canada and the U.S.

It is essential to note here that the biomass to be used in the Drax power plant has a lower energy density as compares to coal, meaning that nearly twice the amount of this biomass will be required to generate one unit of heat and electricity as it takes for coal to produce the same. The fact that the conversion of a conventionally powered electricity plant to a biomass powered one has never been done at such as large scale makes one realize the utter dedication of Europe towards its decarbonisation plans. The engineering involved in the conversion process have broken new grounds.

It is being said that the plant is also considering to convert its fourth unit to biomass. This is a huge step ahead for the power plant in the global struggle for reducing the use of harsh pollutants such as coal and oil products, towards a greener future, especially when the matter is of the biggest carbon emitter in the UK.