Drax to convert coal-fired power generating unit to run on biomass

8th June 2018 | Commercial Energy

On 6 June 2018, Drax power Station in North Yorkshire made the decision to take its fourth coal-fired power generating unit offline as past of a planned outage programme as it prepares to convert it to run on sustainable biomass. Once the upgrade is complete, two-thirds of the power station’s capacity will produce renewable power.

Drax has already invested around £700 million in upgrading half the power station and associated supply chain infrastructure to use sustainable biomass instead of coal – transforming the business to become Europe’s largest decarbonisation project. According to Drax, the conversion of the fourth unit is expected to be completed over the summer, returning to service in the second half of 2018. The cost of conversion is significantly below the level of previous conversions, at approximately £30 million.


Drax’s engineers will upgrade the unit by reusing some redundant infrastructure left from when the company was first co-firing biomass with coal on a large scale, around eight years ago.

Drax Power CEO, Andy Koss, said, “Switching the fourth unit from coal to biomass is another milestone in the transformation of the power station. It will extend the life of the plant, protecting jobs both here at Drax and in the supply chain, whilst delivering cleaner, reliable power for millions of homes and businesses.

“The conversion that’s underway is testament to the engineering expertise, skill and ingenuity we have at Drax. The team has developed some very innovative solutions for this upgrade, using all the knowledge we’ve gained throughout the work we have done so far to transform the business using sustainable biomass.”

Once it comes back online, the fourth unit will help the power station at Selby in North Yorkshire, to deliver vital and flexible power needed by the grid to maintain secure supplies as more renewables come online and the sector continues to decarbonise.

More information available on the website below