Drax: New milestone reached in biomass supply chain

By Drax Group | July 13, 2015

A three-year partnership between Lloyds Register Rail, U.K. manufacturer WH Davis and Drax has reached a significant milestone as Drax takes delivery of its 200th specially designed biomass rail freight wagon.

The partnership, which has pushed the boundaries of rail engineering and lead to the design and manufacturing of the largest ever rail freight wagons in the U.K., has played a major role in ongoing developments in Drax’s supply chain as part of its conversion to burning sustainable biomass in place of coal—a process which has seen Drax transform from the U.K.’s largest emitter of CO2 to Europe’s largest decarbonization project.

Since entering operations in 2013, the wagons, designed by Lloyd’s Register Rail and manufactured by WH Davis, have collectively travelled over 12 million miles between the Ports of Tyne, Hull and Immingham and Drax. Over the course of these journeys they have transported around 4.5 million metric tons of sustainable biomass—enough to power 2.5 million homes with low carbon, affordable and reliable renewable electricity. The wagons are 30 percent larger than any other rail freight wagon currently used in the U.K., and are able to carry a biomass load weighing 71.6 metric tons.

Peter Emery, group operations director of Drax Group plc, said, “This milestone demonstrates the sheer scale of our decarbonization project as we replace coal with sustainable biomass providing a reliable and affordable source of electricity.

“Lloyds Register Rail and WH Davis have been important partners in the development of our biomass operations. The delivery of our 200th wagon marks a major stage in a process which has been a huge success both in terms of modifications to Drax’s supply chain and for UK engineering as a whole.”

Mark Jackson, managing director of WH Davis, said, “We’re proud of what we’ve achieved for Drax, providing U.K. manufactured wagons which set the standard for wagon manufacture and enable Drax to receive volumes of biomass which would be impracticable by road.

 “Our subsidiary, Davis Wagon Services, is supporting Drax with maintenance of the wagons and is working with Drax to establish a dedicated maintenance facility, ensuring maximum fleet availability.”