GB Railfreight (GBRf) and Drax have agreed to extend their contract to transport supplies of sustainable biomass from UK ports to Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire until 2025.
Teams at GBRf have worked closely with Drax for the past decade to maintain the supplies of sustainable biomass needed for the UK’s largest power station to continue generating the flexible and reliable renewable power for millions of UK homes and businesses. This deal is critical to Drax’s global biomass supply chain and another step on its journey to negative emissions.
Drax supplies 11% of the UK’s renewable electricity. Using sustainable biomass instead of coal at Drax Power Station has reduced emissions by more than 80% and helped the UK power system decarbonise faster than any other country in Europe.
Under the terms of the contract, GBRf will run all of Drax tonnage from the Ports of Tyne and Liverpool to Drax Power Station.
The partnership between GBRf and Drax dates back to 2010 when GBRf began moving biomass by rail from the Port of Tyne. Originally, GBRf used wagons that had been converted from coal hoppers by adding lids and these remain in use under the new contract. As Drax converted more of its coal units at the power station to sustainable biomass, Drax invested in new purpose-built biomass wagons that are larger and therefore more efficient at carrying the pellets.
In the past year, the longstanding relationship between Drax and GBRf has helped overcome challenges such as the local floods in February to the Drax branch line and then the Covid-19 crisis, ensuring continuous flows of biomass that helped keep the power station running and the lights on in Britain.
John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:
“I am delighted to be continuing GB Railfreight’s ongoing partnership with Drax. We will continue to deliver vital supplies of sustainable biomass for a further five years, ensuring power is generated in a clean and sustainable way as well as reducing the UK’s carbon emissions.
“The announcement also comes at a time of great economic uncertainty for our country. We at GBRf remain committed to getting the UK economy back on track and having worked with Drax over the last few months during testing times I know we will continue to work closely in the months and years to come as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.”
Mike Maudsley, UK Portfolio Generation Director at Drax said:
“GBRf’s rail deliveries are a critical part of our global supply chain for sustainable biomass that supports thousands of jobs and has delivered economic growth across the north of England, while supplying renewable electricity to millions of homes and businesses.
“We’re very pleased to extend our existing contract with GBRf for another five years and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with the team.”
A train carrying sustainable biomass arrives at Drax Power Station in Selby, Yorkshire.
Drax Group Media Manager
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Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future and in 2019 announced a world-leading ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) technology.
Its 2,900-strong employees operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.
Drax owns and operates a portfolio of flexible, low carbon and renewable electricity generation assets across Britain. The assets include the UK’s largest power station, based at Selby, North Yorkshire, which supplies five percent of the country’s electricity needs.
Having converted two thirds of Drax Power Station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal it has become the UK’s biggest renewable power generator and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe. It is also where Drax is piloting the groundbreaking negative emissions technology BECCS within its CCUS (Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage) Incubation Area.
Its pumped storage, hydro and energy from waste assets in Scotland include Cruachan Power Station – a flexible pumped storage facility within the hollowed-out mountain Ben Cruachan. It also owns and operates four gas power stations in England.
Through its two B2B energy supply brands, Haven Power and Opus Energy, Drax supplies energy to 250,000 businesses across England, Scotland and Wales.
Drax owns and operates three pellet mills in the US South which manufacture compressed wood pellets (biomass) produced from sustainably managed working forests. These pellet mills supply around 20% of the biomass used by Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses.
For more information visit www.drax.com
About GB Railfreight
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover expected to exceed £200 million in 2019. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.
For further information, please contact: [email protected]