Drax launches new biomass carbon calculator that will enable industry to cut emissions from supply chain

Drax has launched the Biomass Carbon Calculator – a new tool to more accurately measure emissions in the supply chain, enabling the industry to identify where emissions reductions can be made and make a greater contribution to tackling climate change.

Biomass train enters Rail Unloading Building 2 at Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire

Drax is seeking views from a wide range of experts, including academics, non-governmental organisations and the biomass for energy industry in a consultation on the Biomass Carbon Calculator to ensure that the methodology is as accurate and transparent as possible so it is more effective.

Drax Group’s head of climate change, Rebecca Heaton said:

“Drax announced a world-leading ambition to become carbon negative by 2030 by pioneering the groundbreaking negative emissions technology, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

“As part of this commitment to support the UK’s net zero target, Drax is also ensuring that the supply chain for the sustainable biomass pellets we use to generate renewable electricity is as low carbon as possible.

Sawmill residues used to manufacture sustainable biomass wood pellets at LaSalle BioEnergy in Louisiana.

Sawmill residues used to manufacture sustainable biomass wood pellets at LaSalle BioEnergy in Louisiana [Click to view/download]

“To do that, it’s vital that Drax and the rest of the biomass industry has the clearest picture possible of emissions in the production and transportation of the pellets, by using actual supply chain data to help raise the quality of carbon accounting for biomass.

“That’s why we’re calling on academics, scientists, regulators and non-governmental organisations, as well as those in the biomass industry, to participate in the consultation to help further improve the modelling for this new calculator and create a higher industry standard for emissions reporting.”

Drax’s Biomass Carbon Calculator has already been independently reviewed against the greenhouse gas calculation methodology laid out in the Renewable Obligation, one of the main support mechanisms for large-scale renewable electricity projects in the UK, which has helped the country to decarbonise faster than any other in the world. This independent review also verified the calculator for compliance with the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive II.

Sustainable biomass wood pellets being safely loaded at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge onto a vessel destined for Drax Power Station

Sustainable biomass wood pellets being safely loaded at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge onto a vessel destined for Drax Power Station [Click to view/download]

Following the six-week consultation, Drax will undertake further third-party verification to ensure the new calculator remains in compliance with regulatory requirements.

The creation of the Biomass Carbon Calculator is one of a number of initiatives Drax is taking to develop world-leading policies and tools to create greater clarity and transparency across the biomass industry.

It follows the creation of an Independent Advisory Board of scientists, academics and forestry experts, led by Sir John Beddington formerly the chief scientific adviser to the UK government, to ensure Drax’s biomass sourcing is in line with latest scientific research and best practice. It has found Drax’s sourcing policies are in line with the Forest Research report, which is widely considered to be the industry gold standard.


Media contacts:

Ali Lewis
Drax Group Head of Media & PR
E: [email protected]
T: 07712 670 888

Selina Williams
Drax Group Media Manager
E: [email protected]
T: 07912 230 393

Editor’s Notes

  • The consultation runs from May 1 to June 12
  • The calculator allows users to view all equations performed for calculating supply chain GHG emissions.
  • The calculator is designed to comply with the Greenhouse Gas reporting requirements of the UK Renewables Obligation and the EU Renewable Energy Directive.
  • These regulations require that biomass is considered as carbon neutral for Greenhouse Gas reporting purposes and that the CO2 emitted at the stack is balanced by the CO2 captured at forest level.
  • Drax is the largest renewable power generator in the UK – generating 12% of the country’s renewable electricity using biomass.
  • Drax’s biomass delivers carbon savings of more than 80% compared to coal – this includes emissions from our supply chain.
  • The use of biomass has transformed Drax to become the largest decarbonisation project in Europe.
  • It’s a low-carbon supply chain – Drax monitors and reports all emissions, which are independently audited. The biomass for energy industry is the only sector that does this.
  • The carbon emissions from shipping across the Atlantic are lower than road haulage from Scotland and are accounted for in the more than 85% carbon savings reported across Drax Group since 2012.
  • Main pic caption: Biomass train enters Rail Unloading Building 2 at Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire [view/download]

About Drax

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.

Its 2,900-strong employees operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.

Power generation:

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.

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.


Drax owns two B2B energy supply businesses:

  • Haven Power, based in Ipswich, supplies electricity and energy services to large Industrial and Commercial sector businesses.
  • Opus Energy, based in Oxford, Northampton and Cardiff, provides electricity, energy services and gas to small and medium sized (SME) businesses.

Pellet production:

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/us