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Energy and Clean Growth Minister visits innovative carbon capture pilot at Drax

It is the first of its kind in Europe and could enable Drax to become the first carbon negative power station in the world.

BECCS has been identified as an essential technology for achieving global climate targets and the UK government announced new plans for developing CCS at the first ever world summit on CCS held in Edinburgh this week.

L-R: C-Capture project Engineers Duncan Holdsworth and Fatima Bilal, Drax Research and Innovation Engineer Carl Clayton and Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry

Drax has invested £400,000 in its BECCS pilot, which uses technology developed by Leeds University spin out company C-Capture, and is expected to capture a tonne of carbon dioxide a day during the six month project.

If successful and the technology is scaled up, it could enable Drax to achieve negative emissions – meaning the power it produces would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide accumulating in the atmosphere; vital in tackling climate change.

During her visit to Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire, the minister met the team behind the innovative project and heard about the commissioning of the plant, which got underway this week, and coincided with the 10th anniversary of the Climate Change Act.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry

Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Claire Perry, said:

“This major milestone in developing cutting-edge technology to reduce emissions while growing the economy shows our modern Industrial Strategy in action.

“Backed by government funded innovation, Drax has helped put the UK on the map when it comes to carbon capture ahead of pivotal talks with global leaders in Edinburgh this week, which aim to supercharge the global deployment of this game-changing technology.”

This project at Drax is already helping to put the UK on the map when it comes to carbon capture. The development of this cutting-edge technology to reduce emissions while growing the economy shows our modern Industrial Strategy in action. It is game-changing technology, which is why we need to supercharge its deployment.”

The government announced it was providing £20m to develop carbon capture equipment at industrial sites, as well as plans to repurpose fossil fuel infrastructure, such as reusing old gas pipelines to transport carbon, at the CCS summit in Edinburgh this week.

L-R: Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner, Drax Power CEO Andy Koss, Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry, C-Capture Chairman Tristan Fischer and Drax Head of Research and Innovation Jason Shipstone

The project at Drax includes the use of equipment no longer used to control sulphur on four of the generating units at the power station which have been upgraded to use sustainable biomass, instead of coal. This is because the wood pellets used to generate renewable power, produce minimal levels of sulphur.

Since upgrading two thirds of the power station to use biomass instead of coal, Drax has become the UK’s largest renewable power generator and the biggest decarbonisation project in Europe.

ENDS

Media contacts:

Ali Lewis
Drax Group Interim Head of Media & PR
E: [email protected]
T: 07712670888

Jessica Gorton
Drax Group Press Officer
E: [email protected]
T: 07712677177

Editor’s Notes

L-R: Drax Power CEO Andy Koss, Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner, Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry, C-Capture Chairman Tristan Fischer and Drax Head of Research and Innovation Jason Shipstone

  • Drax Power Station is the single largest user of sustainable biomass for power in the world – around 70% of the electricity it produces is renewable, enough to power four million households.
  • Biomass, such as sustainably sourced compressed wood pellets, is a renewable fuel – the CO2 captured  when it grew is equal to the emissions it releases when used to generate electricity so it does not contribute new carbon to the biosphere. When coupled with CCS, the overall process of biomass electricity generation removes more CO2 from the atmosphere than it releases.
  • The government’s Clean Growth Strategy identified ‘sustainable biomass power stations used in tandem with CCUS technology’ as a potential route to achieving long-term decarbonisation between now and 2050.
  • Drax is in discussions with the British Beer and Pub Association to see if it could help keep the fizz in the drinks industry as part of its efforts to ensure the carbon captured during the BECCS pilot project is used in another process or industry.
  • C-Capture is a spin out from the Chemistry Department at Leeds University and has attracted support from IP Group, the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Energy Entrepreneurs Fund and the CO2 Capture Project for CO2 capture technology, which has potential in a range of areas including biogas upgrading, natural gas sweetening and hydrogen production.

L-R: C-Capture Chairman Tristan Fischer, Drax Power CEO Andy Koss, Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry, Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner and Drax Head of Research and Innovation Jason Shipstone

About Drax

Drax Group plc plays a vital role in helping change the way energy is generated, supplied and used. Its 2,300-strong staff operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.

The Group includes:

Drax Power Ltd, which operates the largest power station in the UK, based at Selby, North Yorkshire and supplies six percent of the country’s electricity needs. The energy firm converted from burning coal to become a predominantly biomass-fuelled electricity generator. Drax is the biggest renewable generator in the UK and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe.

Haven Power, based in Ipswich, supplies electricity to large Industrial and Commercial sector businesses.

Opus Energy, based in Oxford, Northampton and Cardiff, provides electricity and gas to small and medium sized (SME) businesses.

Drax Biomass, is based in the US and manufactures compressed wood pellets produced from sustainably managed working forests, supplying fuel 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/uk

Drax Group CEO comments on European carbon pricing declaration

“Robust carbon pricing is one of the most effective tools to enabling a zero carbon, lower cost energy future. 

Will Gardiner, CEO, Drax Group

“Since the introduction of the UK’s carbon floor price in 2013, coal use has reduced by almost 75% and renewables capacity has tripled. 

“Going forward, it is vital that Governments across Europe and the EU target a strengthened carbon price in order to meet our Paris Agreement climate change targets.”

Download the declaration.

Drax apprentices shine at awards

Mechanical craftsperson Jack Bailey, from Pontefract, shared the Year 4 award with Jack Morris, from Doncaster. The judges said it was ‘impossible’ to decide between them, as they had both been outstanding throughout their entire four-year apprenticeship. Both winners will now continue their careers with Drax in the engineering department.

Jack Bailey, 20, also took home the Paul Chambers Outstanding Achievement Award.

He said:

“It’s just been an incredible night. Winning one award was a great feeling but to win two is just amazing.”

Jack Morris, also 20, added:

“It’s a fantastic feeling to know that we’ve been selected out of all the really good apprentices there are. I’ve still got lots to learn but it’s great experience. There’s so much technical ability at Drax to learn from, it’s a fantastic start for us all.”

Andy Koss, Drax Power CEO, said:

“Our apprentices are the future of our business and these award winners are our rising stars – their commitment, as well as the enthusiasm and talent they bring, is inspiring to see.

“An apprenticeship is a brilliant way to start a career in engineering. We’ve got lots of successful former apprentices working at Drax Power Station – there are engineers, section heads and department managers who all started out as apprentices.

“Investing in skills and the future of our people is vital not just for our business but for the Northern Powerhouse region and the UK as a whole. I’m looking forward to seeing all of our award winners continue to progress and develop their careers here at Drax.”

The awards event was held at Drax Sports and Social Club and was hosted by BBC Look North presenter Clare Frisby.

Other winners included:

  • Electrical craftsperson Jake Dawson, 21, from Carlton, near Selby, who rounded off his first 12 months as an apprentice at Drax by being named the Year 1 Apprentice of the Year. He was praised for his work ethic and the reliability he had shown so early on in his career.
  • Electrical craftsperson Tom Glennon-Fell, 20, from Selby, who was named the Year 3 Apprentice of the Year, for his enthusiasm to learn and willingness to go the extra mile.
  • Thomas Hughes, 26, from Goole, who picked up the Business Apprentice of the Year Award for his work to support teams across Drax Group. Thomas was commended for his attention to detail and for consistently delivering good results.

Drax increased its intake of apprentices this year by almost 50%, with nine new starters getting the chance to learn a trade, develop new skills and launch their career in engineering at the Selby-based power station, the largest decarbonisation project in Europe.

It will be accepting applications for technical apprenticeships in January with further opportunities in business support areas, such as finance and business administration, becoming available throughout the year. Drax is keen to attract applications from people of all backgrounds and to encourage diversity.

More information about apprenticeships is available on the Drax website.

– Ends –

Media contacts:

Jessica Gorton
Drax Group Press Officer
E: [email protected]
T: 07712677177

Mark Duffell
MCD Communications Ltd
E: [email protected]
T: 01484 968238
M: 07969 080272

Notes to editors:

The Drax Power Apprenticeship Awards recognise individuals who have excelled consistently throughout the year across all areas of their development, achieving high standards and results both academically and practically while also demonstrating a real determination to succeed.

The winners were carefully selected by a panel of managers and supervisors, the HR team at Drax and the Uniper Training Academy. The Uniper Training Academy is dedicated top inspiring and supporting engineers. They offer apprenticeship programmes to help gain experience in the sector. Drax has a partnership with the academy to train its technical apprentices.

The Overall Outstanding Achievement Award was named after Paul Chambers for the first time in 2017. Paul was a lead engineer in the safety team at Drax for more than ten years. He was heavily involved in the apprenticeship scheme at Drax Power Station before he died in 2016.

Drax has a longstanding commitment to STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) learning, with around 13,000 educational visits to the power station taking place each year.

These range from Primary School to degree level, and all visits are tailored to the level of the visiting school, college or university.

Schools and colleges interested in visiting Drax Power Station for a tour or hearing more about the outreach work it does with educational establishments, should contact [email protected].

Drax and STEM Learning

Drax has a longstanding commitment to STEM learning, with around 20,000 educational visits to the power station taking place in 2017. These range from Primary School to degree level, and all visits are tailored to the level of the visiting school, college or university.

To find out more about working at Drax, go to www.drax.com/uk/careers/

Photo caption:

Thomas Hughes (back) – Business Apprentice of the Year

Jack Bailey (front) – Year 4 winner and Overall and recently qualified

Joe Gallagher – recently qualified

Tom Glennon-Fell – Year 3 winner

Daniel Riley – recently qualified

Jack Morris – Year 4 winner and recently qualified

Jake Dawson (front) – Year 1 winner

About Drax

Drax Group plc plays a vital role in helping change the way energy is generated, supplied and used. Its 2,300-strong staff operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.

The Group includes:

Drax Power Ltd, which operates the largest power station in the UK, based at Selby, North Yorkshire and supplies six percent of the country’s electricity needs. The energy firm converted from burning coal to become a predominantly biomass-fuelled electricity generator. Drax is the biggest renewable generator in the UK and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe.

Haven Power, based in Ipswich, supplies electricity to large Industrial and Commercial sector businesses.

Opus Energy, based in Oxford, Northampton and Cardiff, provides electricity and gas to small and medium sized (SME) businesses.

Drax Biomass, is based in the US and manufactures compressed wood pellets produced from sustainably managed working forests, supplying fuel 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/uk

Santa to visit Drax as Christmas countdown begins

A traditional Santa’s Grotto will be just one of the attractions for visitors to the site on Sunday 2nd and Sunday 9th December for the celebrations, which will also include the chance to make illuminated Christmas decorations and cards, ready for the big day.

Visitors will also get the chance to take part in face painting and a Christmas quiz trail around the Skylark nature reserve which forms part of the power station site, as well as viewing a traditional elves’ workshop.

The fun begins each Sunday at 11am and will continue till 4pm, with the last admission at 3.30pm.

The event is the latest community initiative by Selby-based Drax, the largest decarbonisation project in Europe, which sees around 13,000 visitors pass through its gates each year as it continues to grow in popularity as an alternative day trip destination.

Drax Power Station’s cooling towers in the snow, March 2018

Jane Breach, Community Engagement and Visitor Centre Team Leader at Drax, said:

“Last year’s event proved to be very popular and we’re expecting lots more visitors this year as the countdown to Christmas begins.

Download this poster

“We’ve got another fantastic series of events for everyone at the Skylark Centre and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone again this year to get us all in the festive mood. Christmas outfits are more than welcome!”

The Christmas event follows on from a successful spooky Hallowe’en Saturday at Drax where children and adults alike enjoyed activities such as slime making, an eerie quiz trail based on dead celebrities and a themed café offering refreshments.

Further details on upcoming community events, including the Christmas events are available from the Drax Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DraxGroup.

Anyone interested in visiting the power station can arrange this by going to the website at www.drax.com/uk/visit-us. All tours are free and can be tailored to individual group requirements.

Drax, which recently converted the fourth of its six generating units from coal to renewable biomass, generates enough electricity each day to power more than six million homes.

The site’s 380-acre Skylark nature reserve is used regularly by visitors and school children to Drax’s visitor centre, to learn more about the energy produced there. 

– Ends –

Media contacts:

Jessica Gorton
Drax Group Press Officer
E: [email protected]
T: 07712677177

Mark Duffell
MCD Communications Ltd
E: [email protected]
T: 01484 968238
M: 07969 080272

Notes to editors:

About Drax

Drax Group plc plays a vital role in helping change the way energy is generated, supplied and used. Its 2,300-strong staff operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.

The Group includes:

Drax Power Ltd, which operates the largest power station in the UK, based at Selby, North Yorkshire and supplies six percent of the country’s electricity needs. The energy firm converted from burning coal to become a predominantly biomass-fuelled electricity generator. Drax is the biggest renewable generator in the UK and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe.

Haven Power, based in Ipswich, supplies electricity to large Industrial and Commercial sector businesses.

Opus Energy, based in Oxford, Northampton and Cardiff, provides electricity and gas to small and medium sized (SME) businesses.

Drax Biomass, is based in the US and manufactures compressed wood pellets produced from sustainably managed working forests, supplying fuel 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/uk

 

Europe’s first bioenergy carbon capture and storage pilot now underway

  • Commissioning of the BECCS pilot plant at Drax Power Station will begin on Monday November 26 – the tenth anniversary of the Climate Change Act

  • It puts Britain at the forefront of the race to develop BECCS and could enable Drax to become the world’s first carbon negative power station

The commissioning of an innovative Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) pilot plant at Drax Power Station has started with the first carbon dioxide expected to be captured in the coming weeks.

If successful, the six month pilot project will capture a tonne of CO2 a day from the gases produced when renewable power is generated using biomass at Drax – the UK’s biggest power station, near Selby in North Yorkshire.

BECCS is vital to global efforts to combat climate change because the technology will mean the gases that cause global warning can be removed from the atmosphere at the same time as electricity is produced. This means power generation would start to reduce the carbon accumulating in the atmosphere – vital for tackling climate change.

Drax is partnering with Leeds-based C-Capture and is investing £400,000 in what could be the first of several pilot projects undertaken at the power station to deliver a rapid, lower cost demonstration of BECCS.

Drax Power Station became the largest decarbonisation project in Europe by upgrading two thirds of its generating units to use biomass instead of coal and, if the BECCS pilot is successful, it will examine options for a similar re-purposing of existing infrastructure to deliver more carbon savings.

The Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering have estimated that BECCS could enable us to capture 50 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year by 2050 – approximately half the nation’s emissions target.

Will Gardiner, CEO, Drax Group, said:

“Our BECCS pilot project is the UK’s first step to delivering a key technology in the fight against climate change. If this project is successful, it could enable Drax to become the world’s first carbon negative power station – something many would never have dreamed possible a decade ago.

“Starting to commission the pilot plant on the tenth anniversary of the Climate Change Act demonstrates the progress made in decarbonising energy in the UK – but there is much more to do and this will be our focus at the Edinburgh CCS Summit later this week.

“At Drax we want to create a low carbon future – to do that we have to test the technologies that could allow us, as well as the UK and the world, to deliver negative emissions and start to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”

L-R: Andy Koss Drax Power CEO, with Prof Chris Rayner, technical director, C-Capture Ltd (Foreground). Eva Penalver Garcia, Drax Group Research and Innovation Engineer and Rose McCarthy, C-Capture Chemist (middleground). Carl Clayton, Drax Research and Innovation engineer and the BECCS pilot project manager, with Caspar Schoolderman, Director of Engineering, C-Capture Ltd (background). Download high res photos here and here.

The government’s Clean Growth Strategy identified BECCS as one of several greenhouse gas removal technologies that could remove emissions from the atmosphere and help achieve long term decarbonisation.

Energy & Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said:

“This major milestone in developing cutting-edge technology to reduce emissions while growing the economy shows our modern Industrial Strategy in action.

“Backed by government funded innovation, Drax has helped put the UK on the map when it comes to carbon capture ahead of pivotal talks with global leaders in Edinburgh this week, which aim to supercharge the global deployment of this game-changing technology.”

Over the summer work was undertaken to ensure the solvent C-Capture has developed is compatible with the biomass flue gas at Drax Power Station. This was completed successfully along with a lab-scale study into the feasibility of re-utilising the flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) absorbers at the power station.

FGD equipment is vital for reducing sulphur emissions from coal, but it is no longer required to control sulphur on four of the generating units at Drax that have been upgraded to use biomass, because the wood pellets used produce minimal levels of sulphur.

The C-Capture team has now proceeded to the second phase of the pilot, with the installation of a demonstration unit. Once commissioned it will isolate the carbon dioxide produced by the biomass combustion.

Chris Rayner, founder of C-Capture and Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Leeds, said:

“It’s clear that BECCS is one of a very limited number of viable negative emissions technologies, and is vital if we are to reach our CO2 emissions targets, not just in the UK, but around the World.”

“Being a key part of Europe’s first BECCS demonstration project is a great opportunity to showcase C-Capture’s technology, and through working with Drax, show how we can make a real impact on climate change.”

Caspar Schoolderman, Director of Engineering at C-Capture added:

“This is a very important milestone on the pathway to demonstrating and scaling up our exciting new technology. Working closely with the team from Drax has been a great experience, and we look forward to getting the demonstrator fully operational, and showing just how good our technology is.”

C-Capture is a spin-out from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Leeds, established through funding from IP Group Plc.

ENDS

Media contacts:

Ali Lewis
Drax Group Interim Head of Media and PR
E: [email protected]
T: 07712 670888

Jessica Gorton
Drax Group Press Officer
E: [email protected]
T: 07712 677177

Animation: https://vimeo.com/draxgroup/beccs

Editor’s Notes

  • Drax Power Station is the single largest user of sustainable biomass for power in the world – around 70% of the electricity it produces is renewable, enough to power four million households.
  • Biomass, such as sustainably sourced compressed wood pellets, is a renewable fuel – the CO2 captured  when it grew is equal to the emissions it releases when used to generate electricity so it does not contribute new carbon to the biosphere. When coupled with CCS, the overall process of biomass electricity generation removes more CO2 from the atmosphere than it releases.
  • The government’s Clean Growth Strategy identified ‘sustainable biomass power stations used in tandem with CCUS technology’ as a potential route to achieving long-term decarbonisation between now and 2050.
  • Drax is in discussions with the British Beer and Pub Association to see if it could help keep the fizz in the drinks industry as part of its efforts to ensure the carbon captured during the BECCS pilot project is used in another process or industry.
  • C-Capture is a spin out from the Chemistry Department at Leeds University and has attracted support from IP Group, the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Energy Entrepreneurs Fund and the CO2 Capture Project for CO2 capture technology, which has potential in a range of areas including biogas upgrading, natural gas sweetening and hydrogen production.

 

About Drax

Drax Group plc plays a vital role in helping change the way energy is generated, supplied and used. Its 2,300-strong staff operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.

The Group includes:

Drax Power Ltd, which operates the largest power station in the UK, based at Selby, North Yorkshire and supplies seven per cent of the country’s electricity needs. The energy firm converted from burning coal to become a predominantly biomass-fueled electricity generator. Drax is the biggest renewable power generator in the UK and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe.

Haven Power, based in Ipswich, supplies electricity to large Industrial and Commercial sector businesses.

Opus Energy, based in Oxford, Northampton and Cardiff, provides electricity and gas to small and medium sized (SME) businesses. 

Drax Biomass, is based in the US and manufactures compressed wood pellets produced from sustainably managed working forests, supplying fuel 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/uk

About C-Capture

C-Capture Ltd utilise their extensive knowledge of CO2 (carbon dioxide) based chemistry and engineering, to develop solvent systems for the removal of CO2 from gas streams with the potential to capture the CO2 in a form suitable for storage, and prevent it from entering the Earth’s atmosphere.

C-Capture‘s proprietary technology aims to remove or ‘scrub’ CO2 from large scale point sources of gas emissions. This is important for a broad range of commercially and environmentally relevant areas.

The low cost, high energy efficiency of C-Capture’s solvents help minimise the cost of CCS implementation and makes electricity generation with CCS a much more affordable, environmentally beneficial process.

C-Capture Ltd is a spin-out company from the Chemistry Department at the University of Leeds, and has attracted support from IP Group, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s, Energy Entrepreneurs Fund, and the CO2 Capture Project, for development of CO2 capture technology, which has potential in a range of areas, including biogas upgrading, natural gas sweetening and hydrogen production. It was also the National Winner of Shell Springboard 2016, competition for low carbon businesses.

For more information visit www.c-capture.co.uk

About the University of Leeds

The University of Leeds has created more than 100 spin-out companies, with a market capitalisation in excess of £500 million. Seven of these spin-out companies are market listed on AIM, which is more than any other university in the UK. The University is also home to the EPSRC funded Centre for Doctoral Training in Bioenergy, and has extensive experience in energy research through the interdisciplinary Energy Leeds initiative.

The University is preparing to launch its £40m Nexus innovation and enterprise centre later this year. Nexus will provide business and industry with easy access to world-leading academic experts and their ground-breaking research, high quality facilities and cutting edge equipment at the University.

For more information visit www.leeds.ac.uk

Smart Green Shipping Alliance partners with Drax and Ultrabulk to cut shipping supply chain emissions

Drax, operator of the UK’s largest power station, is partnering with the Smart Green Shipping Alliance (SSGA), leading dry bulk cargo transporter Ultrabulk, and Humphreys Yacht Design, naval architects of Dame Ellen McArthur’s ‘Kingfisher’ yacht, to tackle the mounting issue of CO2 emissions from the shipping industry.

A £100,000 12-month feasibility study funded by InnovateUK, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and private investors has begun, which will examine the potential of fitting an innovative sail technology called Fastrig onto Ultrabulk ships importing biomass into the UK, for cutting both carbon emissions and costs.

The shipping industry emits roughly 3% of global CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions (CO2-equivalent), or approximately 1 billion tonnes of CO2 and other GHGs per year.  That’s over twice as much as the UK’s total emissions, from all sources.

Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire has transformed its business having converted two thirds of the power station to use biomass instead of coal – it is now Europe’s biggest decarbonisation project. Last year, it imported 6.8 million tonnes of the compressed wood pellets in 221 deliveries to the ports of Immingham, Hull, Tyne and Liverpool, to enable it to generate 14% of the UK’s renewable electricity.

Using biomass at Drax has delivered carbon savings of more than 80% compared to coal – this includes supply chain emissions, but shipping remains one of the most carbon intensive parts of the biomass supply chain. Drax’s desire to drive down emissions even further enabled Smart Green Shipping to partner with an ‘end user’ looking for the lowest carbon cargo provider.

Diane Gilpin, CEO and Founder of Smart Green Shipping Alliance said:

“This is a project that could really make a difference to the way the industry operates. Drax’s determination to cut carbon emissions creates real demand. Reducing emissions is good business, it saves costs and improves long-term operational certainty. This study aims to find the ‘sweet spot’ between reducing emissions and saving fuel costs.

“We’re engaging across shipping, working with port owners, shipbuilders, cargo owners’, and financiers to design pragmatic and effective new systems solutions. The prototypes we’re looking to develop are really exciting. A 21st century sailing-hybrid ship will look as much like the Cutty Sark as a Tesla does a Model T Ford.”

Gilpin is an expert on the UK government’s Clean Maritime Council, which will devise a strategy to reduce emissions from the shipping sector.

UK Shipping Minister Nusrat Ghani said at the Council’s inaugural meeting:

“The Clean Maritime Plan will bring new opportunities for Britain’s businesses to design, develop and sell green solutions to this global challenge.”

Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner said:

“Smart Green Shipping Alliance’s pioneering efforts to deliver cleaner, greener transportation could help achieve the clean growth required for the UK to meet its climate targets. If we’re serious about meeting those targets, decarbonising transportation is the next big challenge.

“The combination of green shipping with renewables makes an even greater contribution to decarbonisation globally. This is a key development in achieving Drax’s aim – to deliver a zero carbon, low cost future for all.”

The innovation leads on the project, Rob and Tom Humphreys of Humphreys Yacht Design, explained how their team’s background in ocean racing has helped them to make technical advances in an industry that has used the same technology for the past century.

Tom said, “Transferring knowledge and technologies from offshore yacht racing to improve the performance of commercial merchant ships mirrors the way Formula One drives design development in the automotive industry.

“We’ve worked on America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race campaigns, competing at the highest level. Applying this technology to the commercial shipping industry means that we are able to make very significant fuels saving advances”, said Rob

The first six months of the project will be a technical feasibility study, establishing the mechanical parameters for retrofitting the Fastrig solution onto ships. The next six months will focus on putting together a business case and calculating detailed costings for the project.  The aim is to retrofit a ship with the Fastrig technology – depending on the outcome of the feasibility study, the launch of the Commercial Demonstrator could be done as soon as 2021.

The technology could drive down not only carbon emissions but also cost. Diane Gilpin explained, “Fuel prices are vulnerable to oil market volatility, but once the technology is developed, wind is free at the point of use.  The first onshore wind turbines were single devices producing 45KW; now we’re seeing fleets of 10MW producing energy, without subsidy. We can expect to mirror that speed of transition in the shipping industry.”

The SGSA has been pioneering the uptake of renewables in the maritime industry since 2014, identifying wind power as the first choice of exploration. The long-term aim of the company is to develop commercially viable, zero-emission vessels. The eventual aim is to combine renewable energy from wind power with bio-fuels.

Per Lange, CEO of Ultrabulk said:

“We are very much looking forward to working with our partners at Drax and Smart Green Shipping Alliance. The feasibility study initiated is very much in line with the environmental focus of Ultrabulk and the shipping industry at large.

“We have made considerable improvements to NOx and SOx emissions; the latter being the focus as in 2019 the SOx emission has to be reduced by 85 per cent. As an industry we are under way to deliver on these limits, but we shall naturally not stop there.

“CO2 still needs to be reduced. As well as the Shipping Industry’s commitment through International Maritime Organisation targets, Ultrabulk is committed to achieving significant additional reductions. The Smart Green Shipping Alliance is an exciting step in that direction.”

Dr Jenifer Baxter, Head of Engineering, IMechE said:

“This is an exciting project that addresses one of the more difficult decarbonisation challenges and represents the ingenuity of engineering that the Institution of Mechanical Engineers seeks to support.

“Shipping has been a part of our global transportation system for hundreds of years moving through wind and man-power to coal and diesel power. This project presents a new phase taking us full circle forward again to wind power, leading the way with state-of-the-art power and engine technologies enabling shipping to remain relevant and commercially viable in an increasingly low-carbon world.”

ENDS

For more information contact:

SGSA: Diane Gilpin, 07768 312176, [email protected]

Drax: Jessica Gorton, 07712677177, [email protected]

HYD: Rob Humphreys, 01590 679344, [email protected]

Notes to Editors

The International Maritime Organisation, the London-based specialist UN agency responsible for the safety of shipping and its environmental impact, in April this year reached a landmark greenhouse gas agreement, which set two key goals: Greenhouse gas emissions from shipping to decline by at least 50% by 2050, compared to 2008 levels, and as an interim goal carbon intensity of shipping to decline by 40% by 2030. The International Chamber of Shipping has said the future of the sector lies beyond fossil fuels, and that the IMO agreement sends a strong signal for the development of low and zero carbon propulsion technologies in the shipping sector.

Smart Green Shipping Alliance

  • Established in 2014 with the purpose of commercialising renewable energy for the global shipping sector
  • SGSA accelerates commercially viable solutions through transferring technology and knowledge from offshore yacht racing, F1, renewable energy, aviation and defence to complement deep commercial maritime expertise. It includes the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), Humphreys Yacht Design, Lloyds Register, Group Partners, University of Southampton, University College London, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, Willis Towers Watson, Cammell Laird and Capital Law.
  • Founder/CEO sits on the newly created Clean Maritime Council
  • Advisory Board: Dr Jenifer Baxter, IMechE; Baroness Bryony Worthington, Environmental Defense Fund, and architect of UK climate policy; Professor Jingjing Xu, maritime commerce Plymouth University; Peter Hinchliffe CBE, former Secretary General, International Chamber of Shipping.

Humphreys Yacht Design

  • Rob & Tom Humphreys head up a team of highly talented and experienced naval architects and yacht designers in a studio that boasts one of the most diverse design portfolios.
  • Successful projects include multiple award winning Superyachts (such as the 37m MY Ermis² and the 38m Ketch Cyrano de Bergerac), America’s Cup, Vendee Globe, Global Challenge and Whitbread / Volvo Ocean Race yachts.
  • The Studio also has well over 3000 production yachts to its name.

For more information visit: www.humphreysdesign.com

Drax Group

  • Drax operates the largest power station in the UK, based at Selby in North Yorkshire. Since converting four of its six generating units to use biomass instead of coal, it has become the biggest renewable power generator in the country, producing enough renewable electricity for four million households.
  • As well as the engineering skill and expertise needed to convert the power station from coal to biomass, the team at Drax also had to create an entirely new global supply chain to provide the quantity of biomass required to fuel its boilers – the majority of which comes from North America and Europe.
  • Its biomass generating units deliver carbon savings of more than 80% compared to when they used coal – this includes supply chain emissions.
  • It is committed to reducing its emissions further and helping other businesses to decarbonise through its B2B electricity supply businesses, Haven Power and Opus Energy, which provide 100% renewable power to more than 350,000 business sites.
  • Drax is starting an innovative Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage pilot later this year which could help the power station deliver negative emissions, meaning the power it produces will help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide accumulating in the atmosphere – vital for global efforts to tackle climate change.

Ultrabulk

  • Ultrabulk Shipping is a dry bulk cargo shipping business.
  • The company’s vessels transport cargos including scrap, bio fuels, iron ore, grains, minerals, and sugar.
  • Ultrabulk operate a fleet of Handysize, Supramax, and Panamax vessels.
  • The company was founded in 1891 and is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark.

IMechE

  • Founded in 1847 in Birmingham, with the original statement of purpose: “To give an impulse to invention likely to be useful to the world”
  • 120,000 members globally

For more information visit www.imeche.org

InnovateUK

Innovate UK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas.

We connect businesses to the partners, customers and investors that can help them turn ideas into commercially successful products and services and business growth.

We fund business and research collaborations to accelerate innovation and drive business investment into R&D. Our support is available to businesses across all economic sectors, value chains and UK regions.

Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation.

For more information visit www.innovateuk.ukri.org

Will Gardiner responds to Energy Transitions Commission report

“My vision is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost future for all.

“This report makes it clear that a net zero economy is not only possible but that it can be done affordably and within the critical timeframe needed to meet our Paris Agreement commitments.

“Achieving net zero is a choice we have to make.

“Through our investment in low-carbon, flexible and renewable power as well as ground-breaking bioenergy carbon capture technology Drax is playing our part in making that choice a reality.”

Read: Mission Possible – reaching net zero carbon emissions from harder-to-abate sectors by mid-century

View or download video

Energy revolution creating a two-tier economy leaving millions of families and businesses behind

  • Researchers from Imperial College London and E4tech warn of a two-tier economy emerging as Britain goes through an ‘energy revolution’.

  • Revolution taking place in UK energy system could unlock new growth, lower energy bills and smarter living but many in society will lose out.

  • Report reveals regional divides for the first time as communities and businesses in some areas power ahead while others risk being left behind.

  • London and Scotland are pulling ahead while the North of England and East Midlands lag furthest behind.

The research shows that businesses and families in London and Scotland are better placed to take advantage of the benefits of the ‘energy revolution’, including cheaper energy bills, electric vehicles and smart appliances.  Meanwhile, the North of England and East Midlands lag furthest behind.

Conducted independently by researchers from Imperial College London and E4tech, facilitated by Imperial Consultants and commissioned by Drax Group, the report breaks down the energy revolution into 20 metrics for the power, transport and buildings sectors, to provide a barometer of national and regional progress. Achievement against each of these metrics is scored as ‘not on track’, ‘within 90% of target’ or ‘ahead of target’.

Commenting on his team’s findings, Imperial’s Dr Iain Staffell said:

“The country is going through an energy revolution. We are creating an energy system which will power our future economy and help tackle climate change.

“But, our research reveals that Britain is at risk creating a two-tier economy, leaving millions of families and businesses less well equipped to enjoy cheaper bills and better health outcomes. Our concern is they will not be offered the same opportunities as people living in regions which are modernising their energy infrastructure.”

Responding to the findings Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO, said:

“Great Britain needs more secure, clean energy to compete in the future economy. There is an energy revolution underway which will deliver it – but this report uncovers worrying regional divides as we go through that transition.

“Drax is already working hard to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future for all. We will work with all our partners including governments to ensure no-one is left behind through the energy revolution.”

Who’s ahead and behind in the energy revolution?

Differences in levels of government investment, local policies and average household income have resulted in more affluent regions leading in the energy transition.

London leads progress jointly with Scotland because its transport system is the country’s greenest. As public transport, walking and cycling are more dominant in London, a Londoner’s carbon footprint from transport is up to 2.5 times less than residents in other regions. The capital also receives 45% of national funds for rail electrification, resulting in the country’s lowest carbon emissions from rail.

It is also cheaper, on average, to own an electric car in London than in any other part of the country. This is due to the average London driver travelling shorter distances and the exemption of electric vehicles (EV) from London’s Congestion Charge.

Scotland leads in the energy revolution with London due to its successful shift from fossil fuels to renewable generated electricity. The number of EV charging points in Scotland is also high compared to the number of vehicles: despite the low population density, the average Scottish household is around 2km from a charging point, but with the lifetime cost of running an EV being the highest in Scotland and Wales, this is affecting uptake in these areas.

Residential homes in leading regions London, Scotland and the East are also more energy efficient, and more likely to score high A-C Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings, and have fewer buildings rated F and G.

By comparison, all of the regions lagging behind, including Wales, Yorkshire, the East Midlands and the north of England suffer from particularly low EPC ratings.  The cost of heating, combined with lower average incomes in these areas mean that fuel poverty rates are particularly high. As the country transitions to more electric heating in future, this is likely to result in increasing energy bills in these regions unless homes can be made more energy efficient, or the cost of electric heating can be reduced, particularly for vulnerable residents.

Which sectors are ahead in the energy revolution?

The research also highlights sector differences. While work to reduce the carbon impact of the power sector is on track due to the closure of coal stations and growth in renewables, work to electrify heating, improve the energy efficiency of homes and electrify the railway is falling behind.

ENDS

Media contacts

Jenny Runnacles
E: [email protected]
T: 07747 561 760

Rachel Adeyinka
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T: 07940 177 999

Editor’s Notes

  • ‘Energising Britain’ report was commissioned by Drax Group and conducted independently by academics from Imperial College London, and consultants from E4tech, facilitated through the College’s consultancy company – Imperial Consultants.
  • The metrics used to assess the state of transition in the energy system are presented as a ‘barometer’. Each barometer sets out three points:
    • The end target for the transformation for the target year in the scenario (e.g. total number of EV charging points in 2030)
    • The current state of transformation (e.g. number of charging points operational), and
    • An indication of where we would have to be to meet the 2030 target (e.g. number of charging points in 2018).
  • The end target for transformation are based on 2030 targets from the National Grid Future Energy Scenarios (FES), the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Committee on Climate Change (CCC)
  • The geographical scope refers to the 11 regions of Great Britain (Scotland, Wales, and 9 in England). Northern Ireland was excluded due to lack of available data.
  • The metrics examined by sector include:
    • The Power System. This section includes national and regional barometers for 1. Carbon intensity of grid electricity 2. Storage deployment 3. Transmission capacity and 4. Smart meter roll-out. A regional barometer is not presented for interconnection as this is a country-to-country issue.
    • Energy in Transport. This section includes national and regional barometers for 1. GHG emissions reductions 2. Plug-in vehicles in the car fleet 3. Electric vehicle charging points 4. Hydrogen refuelling stations 5. Electric and hydrogen buses and 6. Ultra-low emission heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). A regional barometer is not represented for rail emissions; this was examined across the entire British rail industry.
    • Energy in Buildings. This section includes national and regional barometers for 1. Energy efficiency by energy performance certificate (EPC) ratings 2. Electrification of heating and 3. Heat Pump Deployment. A regional barometer is not represented for fuel poverty as there were no milestones available for 2018.
  • Progress in the industrial sector is not examined due to a lack of data.
  • View the report: drax.com/energisingbritain

About Drax

Drax Group plc plays a vital role in helping change the way energy is generated, supplied and used. Its 2,300-strong staff operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.

The Group includes:

Drax Power Ltd, which operates the largest power station in the UK, based at Selby, North Yorkshire and supplies six percent of the country’s electricity needs. The energy firm converted from burning coal to become a predominantly biomass-fuelled electricity generator. Drax is the biggest renewable generator in the UK and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe.

Haven Power, based in Ipswich, supplies electricity to large Industrial and Commercial sector businesses.

Opus Energy, based in Oxford, Northampton and Cardiff, provides electricity and gas to small and medium sized (SME) businesses.

Drax Biomass, is based in the US and manufactures compressed wood pellets produced from sustainably managed working forests, supplying fuel 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/uk

Imperial Consultants provide access to over 4,000 research-active expert academics and Imperial College London’s state of the art facilities to deliver innovative solutions to meet the business needs of industry, government and the third sector. Founded in 1990, Imperial Consultants is the wholly owned consultancy company of Imperial College London.

E4tech is a strategic energy consultancy. Founded in 1997 the firm provides technically informed insight on the energy transition and its implications on companies, governments and investors.

Drax Group CEO agrees with Committee on Climate Change – Sustainably sourced biomass will play an essential, long-term role in delivering the low carbon future needed to meet our climate targets

“We agree with the Committee on Climate Change – sustainably sourced biomass will play an essential, long-term role in delivering the low carbon future needed to meet our climate targets.

“The UK has some of the highest biomass sustainability requirements in the world and we are committed to working with the government and stakeholders to go further – setting the standard for others to follow. We’re already working on that.

Will Gardiner, CEO, Drax Group

“The report recognises the importance of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) – innovative technology being piloted at Drax. This could enable us to become the first carbon negative power station in the world – meaning our operations would reduce the quantity of CO2 accumulating in the atmosphere.

“Biomass is the only flexible renewable, which can deliver all the support services needed to maintain a secure power system, as more renewables, like wind and solar, come online – further reducing our CO2 emissions.”