Drax goes from coal to bioenergy

Drax goes from coal to bioenergy

The Drax power station in Yorkshire has announced that, after nearly 50 years, it will end all coal-fired power generation by March 2021.

This is well ahead of the UK Governments 2025 deadline for reaching “net-zero” on carbon emissions. With other power stations in Cheshire and Wales following suit, this indicates a significant moving away from carbon-based fuels.

Over the last ten years, four of the power station’s six generating units have been converted to use biomass, thus reducing carbon savings of more than 80% compared to when it was all coal-based.

By using BECCS (BioEnergy with Carbon Capture and Storage) Drax has now been transformed into the UK’s largest renewable power generator and the biggest decarbonisation project in Europe, with the capacity to generate electricity for six million households. BECCS has been described as “The only negative emissions technology which enables the permanent removal of CO2 from the atmosphere whilst renewable electricity is generated.”

By taking the lead, Drax power station may now be seen as a shining example to the rest of the power generation industry wanting to reduce carbon emissions.


Header image © Copyright Alan Murray-Rust and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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Green energy overtakes Fossil Fuels and Nuclear in Europe

Green energy overtakes Fossil Fuels and Nuclear in Europe

Environmental group Ember in London has reported that Renewable Energy has contributed a larger percentage to the European energy mix than fossil fuels or nuclear in the first half of 2020.

They state that in the first half of this year, approximately 40% of all the energy produced in the EU’s 27 countries came from renewable energy whereas fossil fuels accounted for 34%. The other 26% of energy production came from Nuclear and imports. Ember also reports that carbon dioxide emissions fell by 23%.

A continuing trend
This continues the trend of the last decade, as renewable energy generation gradually replaces fossil fuels based generation. In the first half of 2020:

  • renewables generated 40% of the EU-27’s electricity, whereas fossil fuels generated 34%. Most of this is as a result of coal being replaced by wind and solar.
  • Coal’s market share has halved since 2016 to just 12% of the EU-27’s electricity generation.
    Every country that had coal to start with saw a fall in coal generation.
  • Wind and solar has increased its market share from 13% in 2016 to 21% in the first half of 2020.
  • Hydro generated 13% of Europe’s electricity.
  • Bioenergy generated 6% of Europe’s electricity.


This article and the graph used are based on an original report by Dave Jones and Charles Moore at Ember under CC BY-SA 4.0

Header image produced in-house using original photography by Jörg Peter

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