Biomass procurement ''critical'' to power company's future

21 February 2012

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21 February 2012 | Adam Leach

Establishing a robust and sustainable biomass supply chain is a critical component in the Drax Group’s strategy to make the emerging fuel type its main source of power, the company has revealed.

In its annual results published today, the group, which operates coal power stations across the UK to generate electricity, said it wanted to move to becoming a “predominantly biomass-fuelled generator” and it is making preparations to do so.

Biomass is a renewable energy source made from biological material from living, or recently living organisms. Drax’s latest calculations found that greenhouse gas emissions caused by using biomass were 81 per cent lower than the EU average for fossil fuels.

Drax is waiting for the for the final details of the government’s support arrangements for renewable energy that will come into effect from 2013, before going ahead with the transition, but today revealed details about how it will get supplies of the material.

Drax Group chief executive Dorothy Thompson, speaking about the supply chain and the purchasing of biomass, which she described as “critical components”, said: “Despite the immature and bespoke nature of the supply chain, we believe we will be able to secure sufficient sustainable biomass to meet our ambition to become a predominantly biomass-fuelled generator.”

Drax plans to adopt a diverse purchasing strategy to achieve its aim. It is looking to secure direct contracts for biomass pellets and unprocessed fibre, which it will then turn into biomass, while also looking for favourable spot and opportunistic prices and buying from the international market, mainly the US. Thompson said the company is also considering making direct investments in biomass pellet plants to gain greater security of supply.


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