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Doosan Babcock Celebrates 10 years of safety success at Drax Power Station

Published by , Digital Editorial Assistant
World Coal,

Doosan Babcock is responsible for the provision of maintenance and outage services to Drax Power Station and is now celebrating an important safety milestone of ten 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% 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.


Transition to renewables


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 modernisation programmes in UK 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. 94% of the power produced by Drax Power Station in the first half of 2019 was renewable, enough for four 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 UK 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.

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