Drax’s Canadian Biomass

Enabling a zero carbon, lower-cost energy future

As the world’s leading producer and supplier of sustainable biomass, Drax is committed to ensuring the biomass we source delivers positive outcomes for the climate, for nature and for the communities in which we operate.

We are proud of our contribution to Canada and countries around the world.  At a time when industry investment has fallen, Drax has stepped up to invest more than $830m in the Canadian forestry sector – supporting 10,400 jobs and adding $1.1bn to Canada’s GDP in 2021. Biomass creates more jobs per unit of power produced than any other renewable energy source.

Our biomass is used to provide reliable renewable energy, whatever the weather.  It displaces fossil fuels like coal from energy systems, supports climate targets, the communities in which we operate, and strengthens energy security.

Forests are not harvested for biomass, they are harvested for high-value timber that displaces carbon intensive materials like steel and cement.  A key part of an integrated supply chain, biomass plays an important role in producing high-value timber by providing an outlet for the sawdust and residuals created during its production.  Sawmills and pellet mills coexist.  Before a thriving biomass industry existed in BC this material was often simply burned in great quantities, releasing huge amounts of carbon dioxide and other harmful greenhouse gasses into Canada’s atmosphere while damaging air quality in forest communities.

81% of the material used to make pellets at Drax in Canada is sawmill residues – sawdust, wood chips and bark left over when the timber is processed. The rest is material collected from the forest that would otherwise be burned to reduce the risk of wildfires and disease.

This is the biomass used by Drax to produce renewable and secure electricity, playing a vital role in keeping the lights on for millions of homes and businesses. It is also the biomass we will use to deliver our pioneering carbon removal technology, BECCS, which scientists tell us is vital if we are to meet our climate change targets.

As a company we place sustainability at the heart of everything we do.  We understand that biomass is a complex and relatively new part of the energy mix.  Therefore, as the world’s largest producer and consumer of biomass, we invest a great deal of time and effort in understanding and developing our sourcing practices in line with science and the expectations of our stakeholders.  We are committed to producing and consuming biomass that is people, climate, and nature positive.

We look forward to continuing working with our communities, First Nation partners and government to unlock the full potential of Canada’s circular bioeconomy.