Drax Visit

Tuesday 9th May, 2017

Here’s a blow-by- blow account of the sales team’s adventures at Drax Power Station! Thanks guys – it sounds like a cracking, and very informative, day out!

On 26th April our sales team was invited by Haven Power for a tour and presentation at Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire. Starting with a hearty breakfast for some and travel sweets for others we set off for a day of learning.

We’ve all heard the expression “size matters” (stop laughing back there!), but when something is visible from 20+ miles away then you really get a sense of its magnitude. Sadly, that also means you can see the ‘smoke’ they spew from all around too. Which leads us to Education fact 1: The towers now only emit water vapour into the atmosphere due to the filters and rigorous monitoring. Bet you didn’t know that!

We were warmly welcomed by Haven with handshakes from an eager member of staff and a ride in the Hummer of Golf carts that were recycled from Manchester City – incidentally a client of our own. Some of Haven’s own key account managers ran us through the new offerings as well as a little background on the company and their own ties with Drax Power station before the very (very) lovely Lisa from Drax took us through the conversion from Coal to Biomass and the ethical supply chain that they follow from tree to fire. Drax aim to be solely powered on Biomass with conversion of the 3 remaining turbines by 2025. Education fact 2+3: At full tilt, Drax could be supplying 5% of the UK capacity into the grid using just Biomass Pellets, and Drax will consume 7.5 million tonnes of the pellets in 2017 alone.

After a better than average Picnic lunch, we were then back in our Hummer Carts for a tour of the facility…. One in which our several layers of layers of clothing (it’s very cold in the facility) caused no end of fun/embarrassment.

The sheer size of the operation is hard to get across in words, but with direct railway links for supply of coal and pellets, as well as the pumped river water straight from the River Ouse, not to mention 6 roof mounted turbines and 60 pulverisers that need their own foundations due to their vibration equivalent to a level 3 on the Richter scale (sneaky inclusion of education fact 4 there), you get the idea!

The use of waste products is also impressive. The main waste – gypsum – has many uses and the Drax supply to British Gypsum is one of the main reasons why the picturesque Settle to Carlisle railway remains open to the public, as the route is needed for the freight transfer. One of its uses was not to make snow angels, which was a personal disappointment for me, but a positive for Craig’s car and the drive back!