Biomass carbon calculator consultation - Drax

Biomass carbon calculator consultation

Drax is developing world-leading policies and tools to create greater clarity and transparency across the biomass industry, including a new carbon calculator to help businesses measure their supply chain emissions.

About the consultation

Biomass can only be considered a low carbon, sustainable energy solution when it can be evidenced that significant GHG emission savings are delivered on a lifecycle basis, considering emissions released throughout the entire supply chain. It is therefore important that the lifecycle emissions of biomass are calculated and reported both accurately and transparently.

Drax is committed to taking a leading role in the lifecycle emission reporting of biomass. We aim to deliver transparent and accurate reporting of our own supply chain emissions and wish to encourage and facilitate improved reporting across the entire industry. As a contribution towards delivering these objectives, Drax developed the ‘Drax Biomass Carbon Calculator’.

To ensure this new calculator provides the most accurate data on supply chain emissions, we heard views from across the biomass industry to help further improve the modelling and create a high industry standard for emissions reporting. The consolation period concluded on 12th June 2020.

We are currently in the process of reviewing responses and we will publish a summary along with an updated version of the calculator in due course.

The Biomass Carbon Calculator

The ‘Biomass Carbon Calculator’ is a greenhouse gas (GHG) lifecycle emission tool developed by Drax for the purpose of calculating wood pellet supply chain GHG emissions in accordance with the UK Renewables Obligation (RO) and Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (“Directive (EU) 2018/2001”)[1].

The tool has been designed to address several issues with existing publicly available GHG compliance tools:

  • Over-reliance on ‘default’ or ‘typical’ values
  • Inconsistencies between collected supply chain data and calculator input fields (e.g. different units of measurement)
  • A requirement to model the full supply chain for each feedstock type individually rather than allowing simultaneous modelling of feedstocks for each biomass producer
  • Lack of transparency

To address these issues, the Biomass Carbon Calculator requires users to enter actual supply chain data for calculating the carbon intensity of biomass supply chains, with data inputs aligned to standard units of measurement used by the industry. The tool also allows users to simultaneously model up to 20 different feedstock groups (“consignments”) and 10 different distribution routes for a single biomass production plant.

The tool has been independently reviewed against the methodology laid out in the RO and verified for compliance with the methodology laid out in Annex VI of Directive (EU) 2018/2001. However, Drax was keen to deliver further improvements and so was seeking views of all stakeholders on the Calculator, specifically with regards to:

  • Methodology
  • Accuracy
  • Scope
  • Usability

Full details about these areas are available in the consultation document.

Following consultation, Drax intends to update the Calculator where mutual areas for improvement have been identified. Once updated, Drax will undertake further third-party verification to ensure the Calculator remains in compliance with regulatory requirements.


Consultation period: May 1 to June 12