Doosan Babcock celebrates 10 years of safety success at Drax

By Doosan Babcock | August 06, 2019

Doosan Babcock is responsible for the provision of maintenance and outage services to the U.K.’s largest power station and is now celebrating an important safety milestone of 10 years without a lost time accident at the site. 

The collaboration between the two companies dates back to the construction of the site in the early 1970s and more recently was cemented with the signing of a new long-term contract for maintaining and extending the life of the plant, which produces 7 percent of the UK’s electricity. 

This milestone has been achieved while carrying out high intensity work over the past decade including 15 outages, year-round maintenance and a number of significant projects including the conversion of four coal units to biomass and other essential maintenance and life extension work. 

Doosan Babcock CEO Andy Colquhoun, joined the team on site to recognise and celebrate this major achievement. During his visit he commented, “We have a long and proud history with Drax, from supplying the original boilers over 40 years ago, to supporting Drax as it transforms its business to meet the demands of the modern energy market. At Doosan Babcock safety is our number one value and this achievement is testament to the hard work and dedication of our team, which consistently delivers exceptional performance.” 

Scott Anderson, service management director at Doosan Babcock commented, “This is a fantastic achievement from the Drax team, with DB & DPL working collaboratively to set very high safety and performance standards. The safety performance on site has been truly world class. This shows that our target of Zero Harm is definitely achievable.” 

Andy Koss, CEO of generation at Drax commented, “The health and safety of our staff and contractors is our number one priority—it is central to Drax’s operations and is reflected in the values and standards of our partners. 

“Doosan Babcock’s support has been integral to Drax’s ongoing success as the UK’s biggest renewable power generator and the largest decarbonization project in Europe. The big projects they work with us on, such as maintenance outages, wouldn’t be possible without having the right policies and culture to ensure they are delivered safely.” 

Doosan Babcock has supported Drax throughout the full lifecycle in helping to build, maintain and extend the life of Drax Power Station. As the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) of the boilers, Doosan Babcock played a critical role in an unprecedented construction project which involved a workforce peaking at around 8000. 

In 2003 Drax Power Station started co-firing biomass as a renewable energy alternative to coal. Doosan Babcock has supported Drax with research and development of biomass firing equipment through to the full project delivery of key technologies in this conversion process. 

Drax’s biomass conversion project was one of the largest power plant modernization programs in U.K. history. Drax committed to transforming the business into a mainly biomass-fuelled generator using compressed wood pellets in place of coal. 

During 2018, a fourth generating unit was converted from coal to use biomass—enabling Drax to generate more renewable power at the times the grid needs it the most. Ninety-four percent of the power produced by Drax Power Station in the first half of 2019 was renewable, enough for 4 million households. 

Drax also plans to repower its remaining two coal generating units to use high efficiency gas turbine technology and build up to 200MW of battery storage on site to provide additional flexibility. If these plans are approved, Drax could stop using coal as soon as 2023—well ahead of the government’s 2025 deadline for unabated coal to no longer be used in power generation. Doosan Babcock will continue to support Drax throughout this transition.