What do we think of Drax?

Britain backs bio-mass energy in race to hit emissions targets​

Burning renewable trees promises carbon-free power – but it may not stack up

ByRachel Millard2 March 2020 • 6:00am

A person holding wood chips

Burning wood chips for power is controversial CREDIT: Daniel Lewis
Rising and falling with the tides of the Humber Estuary, two giant mechanical arms work non-stop to empty the red cargo ships that have sailed across the Atlantic and through the North Sea to Immingham.
Wood chips from the forests of Louisiana and Mississippi are unloaded at 2,300 tons per hour to be whisked by train to Drax power station in Selby, and burned to create electricity for millions of homes.
At a time when the Government wants to plant millions of trees each year to suck carbon out of the atmosphere and is banning the use of wet wood in stoves, burning wood to power homes feels more counter-intuitive than ever.
Yet the use of low-carbon bio-energy –such as crops for vehicle fuel or wood chips for boilers – has been growing in a shift from fossil fuels. The Renewable Energy Association says bio-energy accounts for 7.4pc of the UK’s energy consumption.


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The popularity of such fuels is likely to grow in the race to hit the government’s binding target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Bio-energy is particularly attractive given its alluring prospect of generating “negative” carbon emissions, as policy makers look for ways to hit Paris climate agreement targets. In the UK, that prospect might get a boost in next week’s Budget. “We are going to have to use all the low-carbon technologies available,” says Simon Virley, KPMG head of energy.
“That includes bio-energy with carbon capture and storage which, with sustainable sources and proper monitoring, can deliver negative emissions, thereby potentially offsetting some harder to treat sectors in the economy, like agriculture or aviation.”
UK energy mix
Pie chart with 7 slices.
In the third quarter of 2019
View as data table, UK energy mix




End of interactive chart.
Despite emitting carbon at the smokestack, bio-mass and other bio-fuels have, broadly speaking, sequestered that carbon in their lifetime and will be regrown. So, if you can also remove the emissions at the smokestack through the emerging technology of carbon capture and storage (CCS), they will have sequestered more than they emit.
As far as individual countries’ and companies’ carbon ledgers are concerned, any benefit also rests on the complex system for counting carbon from bio-mass, which critics say creates perverse incentives.
Under guidelines set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, carbon from bio-mass is reported upon harvesting rather than at burning. Hence Drax’s emissions are counted as zero at the smokestack.
The UK Office for National Statistics says emissions from bio-mass are not counted in the total emissions of the country where the fuel is used, if they have been counted at harvest. That helps the UK, which imported 7.8 million tons of wood pellets in 2018. How savings from carbon capture are counted is also not straightforward.
Despite complications, the Government backed bio-mass for power production in generous subsidies for Drax which are set to run out in 2027, helping it switch from coal which it is set to stop using next year.
Amid the hopes for negative emissions, there is speculation the Conservatives may be about to announce a lump sum for the UK’s first CCS system in the Budget, having pledged £800m for the technology in their manifesto. CCS has failed to get off the ground in the UK not least as it is difficult and expensive, and is likely to require ongoing subsidies.
Biomass furnace at Drax Power Station

A biomass furnace at Drax power station CREDIT: Daniel Lewis
A previous Conservative government broke a manifesto promise by pulling a £1bn grant for the technology in 2015, but the current administration looks set to make good on its £800m promise as it tries to boost northern areas that helped it win the election.
Drax is working with firms such as National Grid and Equinor on a CCS network in the Humber. Carbon emissions from Drax and other polluters in the area might be piped to and stashed in depleted oil fields in the North Sea, providing a blueprint for other CCS systems in the UK and abroad.
Yet just as the rush to burn wood chips for power is controversial, so is the siren call of negative emissions. The Committee on Climate Change, the Government’s independent climate advisors, sees a role for CCS as it helps make the most of harvested bio-mass.
“The level to which sustainable low-carbon bio-mass production can be increased is finite, given land constraints and competition from other uses (e.g. food production),” it notes in a report. “It is therefore important to pursue ways of using this finite resource that maximise its contribution to emissions reduction.”
In its models of how to reach net zero, it sees a scenario in which bio-energy produces about 10pc of UK energy consumption in 2050, including 6pc of electricity, with CCS removing about 51 metric tonnes of its carbon emissions.

Yet there are also warnings of over-reliance globally. In February 2019, the European Academies Science Advisory Council – which includes the Royal Society – warned that the combination “remains associated with substantial risks and uncertainties, both over its environmental impact and ability to achieve net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere.”
The Chatham House think tank echoed that and warned the use of bio-energy with CCS at the scale hoped for globally to meet net zero “would consume land on a scale comparable to half that currently taken up by global cropland, entailing massive land-use change, potentially endangering food security and biodiversity.”
“The danger” it said in a report in January, “... is that policy makers are sleepwalking towards bio-energy with carbon capture simply because most models incorporate it.
“Or, almost as bad, it may be that they are simply ignoring the need for any meaningful action on carbon dioxide removal as a whole.”

Drax in the dock over worker safety concerns​

Power producer faces criminal prosecution over allegations that employees' health and safety is being endangered

ByRachel Millard2 September 2021 • 2:43pm

The owner of a biomass power station key to Boris Johnson’s net-zero ambitions is facing criminal prosecution over allegations that employees' health and safety is being endangered.
Drax, the FTSE 250 power company, has been taken to court by The Health and Safety Executive due to concerns that dust from wood pellets burned at its site poses a risk to workers’ health, Sky News reported.
Drax produces about 5pc of the country’s electricity from its Yorkshire power plant, where it has converted turbines to run on woody biomass instead of coal to cut carbon emissions.
Burning the pellets, much of which are shipped in from forests in the US, does produce carbon emissions at the smokestack, but these are counted as neutral in the UK under international carbon accounting rules.
In 2019, Drax was granted £790m in Government subsidies for generating renewable electricity, with a further £820m awarded in 2020, according to think-tank Ember.
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Advertisement : 30 sec

The company is due to appear at Leeds Magistrate Court on November 30 to face two charges under health and safety laws. The HSE has also accused Drax of breaching risk assessment obligations before allowing employees to work with potentially "hazardous substances".
A Drax spokesman said: “We can confirm that we have received notice of legal action from the Health and Safety Executive in relation to wood dust at Drax Power Station.
“As this is an ongoing legal issue we cannot provide any further information at this time. The health, safety and wellbeing of our colleagues is a priority for Drax.”





Drax is now seeking Government support to add carbon capture systems to its turbines. According to the company, this will remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it produces, because carbon dioxide absorbed in the biomass is not released and the biomass is re-grown.
Supporters argue this can help the UK reach its goal to slash carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, as it can help offset emissions from sectors which struggle to decarbonise, such as shipping and aviation.
Burning biomass for energy is controversial, however, with critics questioning whether it puts too much strain on land use and whether trees are re-grown quickly enough.
Carbon capture systems are also not yet in place at scale in the UK, although several companies are investing heavily in their development.
Drax made £52m profit during the first half of 2021, increasing its dividend by 10pc to 7.5 cents per share.
The HSE has been contacted for comment.
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the bit I got from the article, was that importing wood chip and burning it was considered Carbon neutral for the UK, so that is the reason we are doing it, so we can claim we are doing our bit, the fact that looking at the world as a whole it is not carbon neutral is neither here nor there, which I think in wrong.
 

HatsOff

Member
Mixed Farmer
I think that, it's a good idea. Obviously playing fast and loose with worker safety is not OK, but the science behind the CO2 emissions is sound. Also, I like their idea of combining it with carbon capture and storage so that it becomes negative carbon in the future. That is actually a really good idea for use everywhere.

It'd be a bigger benefit if the forests used where adjacent to the station, but as transportation (including shipping) decarbonises, there is no good reason not to be at the forefront of this technology.
 
I have read articles that show when trees are planted on pasture land, there is a change in the soil biology as the trees grow, causing Carbon held in the soil to be emitted back into the atmosphere (at the same time as carbon is being "captured" by the trees growing), this makes it only equal to carbon capture in grazed pasture, but only if the wood grown is never burnt. If the wood is burned (in somewhere like Drax), then grazed pasture is far better for climate change, unfortunately the answer for global warming is consume less which is not a message anyone wants to say.
 

BrianV

Member
Livestock Farmer

Britain backs bio-mass energy in race to hit emissions targets​

Burning renewable trees promises carbon-free power – but it may not stack up

ByRachel Millard2 March 2020 • 6:00am

A person holding wood chips

Burning wood chips for power is controversial CREDIT: Daniel Lewis
Rising and falling with the tides of the Humber Estuary, two giant mechanical arms work non-stop to empty the red cargo ships that have sailed across the Atlantic and through the North Sea to Immingham.
Wood chips from the forests of Louisiana and Mississippi are unloaded at 2,300 tons per hour to be whisked by train to Drax power station in Selby, and burned to create electricity for millions of homes.
At a time when the Government wants to plant millions of trees each year to suck carbon out of the atmosphere and is banning the use of wet wood in stoves, burning wood to power homes feels more counter-intuitive than ever.
Yet the use of low-carbon bio-energy –such as crops for vehicle fuel or wood chips for boilers – has been growing in a shift from fossil fuels. The Renewable Energy Association says bio-energy accounts for 7.4pc of the UK’s energy consumption.


ADVERTISING

The popularity of such fuels is likely to grow in the race to hit the government’s binding target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Bio-energy is particularly attractive given its alluring prospect of generating “negative” carbon emissions, as policy makers look for ways to hit Paris climate agreement targets. In the UK, that prospect might get a boost in next week’s Budget. “We are going to have to use all the low-carbon technologies available,” says Simon Virley, KPMG head of energy.
“That includes bio-energy with carbon capture and storage which, with sustainable sources and proper monitoring, can deliver negative emissions, thereby potentially offsetting some harder to treat sectors in the economy, like agriculture or aviation.”
UK energy mix
Pie chart with 7 slices.
In the third quarter of 2019
View as data table, UK energy mix




End of interactive chart.
Despite emitting carbon at the smokestack, bio-mass and other bio-fuels have, broadly speaking, sequestered that carbon in their lifetime and will be regrown. So, if you can also remove the emissions at the smokestack through the emerging technology of carbon capture and storage (CCS), they will have sequestered more than they emit.
As far as individual countries’ and companies’ carbon ledgers are concerned, any benefit also rests on the complex system for counting carbon from bio-mass, which critics say creates perverse incentives.
Under guidelines set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, carbon from bio-mass is reported upon harvesting rather than at burning. Hence Drax’s emissions are counted as zero at the smokestack.
The UK Office for National Statistics says emissions from bio-mass are not counted in the total emissions of the country where the fuel is used, if they have been counted at harvest. That helps the UK, which imported 7.8 million tons of wood pellets in 2018. How savings from carbon capture are counted is also not straightforward.
Despite complications, the Government backed bio-mass for power production in generous subsidies for Drax which are set to run out in 2027, helping it switch from coal which it is set to stop using next year.
Amid the hopes for negative emissions, there is speculation the Conservatives may be about to announce a lump sum for the UK’s first CCS system in the Budget, having pledged £800m for the technology in their manifesto. CCS has failed to get off the ground in the UK not least as it is difficult and expensive, and is likely to require ongoing subsidies.
Biomass furnace at Drax Power Station

A biomass furnace at Drax power station CREDIT: Daniel Lewis
A previous Conservative government broke a manifesto promise by pulling a £1bn grant for the technology in 2015, but the current administration looks set to make good on its £800m promise as it tries to boost northern areas that helped it win the election.
Drax is working with firms such as National Grid and Equinor on a CCS network in the Humber. Carbon emissions from Drax and other polluters in the area might be piped to and stashed in depleted oil fields in the North Sea, providing a blueprint for other CCS systems in the UK and abroad.
Yet just as the rush to burn wood chips for power is controversial, so is the siren call of negative emissions. The Committee on Climate Change, the Government’s independent climate advisors, sees a role for CCS as it helps make the most of harvested bio-mass.
“The level to which sustainable low-carbon bio-mass production can be increased is finite, given land constraints and competition from other uses (e.g. food production),” it notes in a report. “It is therefore important to pursue ways of using this finite resource that maximise its contribution to emissions reduction.”
In its models of how to reach net zero, it sees a scenario in which bio-energy produces about 10pc of UK energy consumption in 2050, including 6pc of electricity, with CCS removing about 51 metric tonnes of its carbon emissions.

Yet there are also warnings of over-reliance globally. In February 2019, the European Academies Science Advisory Council – which includes the Royal Society – warned that the combination “remains associated with substantial risks and uncertainties, both over its environmental impact and ability to achieve net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere.”
The Chatham House think tank echoed that and warned the use of bio-energy with CCS at the scale hoped for globally to meet net zero “would consume land on a scale comparable to half that currently taken up by global cropland, entailing massive land-use change, potentially endangering food security and biodiversity.”
“The danger” it said in a report in January, “... is that policy makers are sleepwalking towards bio-energy with carbon capture simply because most models incorporate it.
“Or, almost as bad, it may be that they are simply ignoring the need for any meaningful action on carbon dioxide removal as a whole.”

Drax in the dock over worker safety concerns​

Power producer faces criminal prosecution over allegations that employees' health and safety is being endangered

ByRachel Millard2 September 2021 • 2:43pm

The owner of a biomass power station key to Boris Johnson’s net-zero ambitions is facing criminal prosecution over allegations that employees' health and safety is being endangered.
Drax, the FTSE 250 power company, has been taken to court by The Health and Safety Executive due to concerns that dust from wood pellets burned at its site poses a risk to workers’ health, Sky News reported.
Drax produces about 5pc of the country’s electricity from its Yorkshire power plant, where it has converted turbines to run on woody biomass instead of coal to cut carbon emissions.
Burning the pellets, much of which are shipped in from forests in the US, does produce carbon emissions at the smokestack, but these are counted as neutral in the UK under international carbon accounting rules.
In 2019, Drax was granted £790m in Government subsidies for generating renewable electricity, with a further £820m awarded in 2020, according to think-tank Ember.
Advertisement


Advertisement : 30 sec

The company is due to appear at Leeds Magistrate Court on November 30 to face two charges under health and safety laws. The HSE has also accused Drax of breaching risk assessment obligations before allowing employees to work with potentially "hazardous substances".
A Drax spokesman said: “We can confirm that we have received notice of legal action from the Health and Safety Executive in relation to wood dust at Drax Power Station.
“As this is an ongoing legal issue we cannot provide any further information at this time. The health, safety and wellbeing of our colleagues is a priority for Drax.”





Drax is now seeking Government support to add carbon capture systems to its turbines. According to the company, this will remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it produces, because carbon dioxide absorbed in the biomass is not released and the biomass is re-grown.
Supporters argue this can help the UK reach its goal to slash carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, as it can help offset emissions from sectors which struggle to decarbonise, such as shipping and aviation.
Burning biomass for energy is controversial, however, with critics questioning whether it puts too much strain on land use and whether trees are re-grown quickly enough.
Carbon capture systems are also not yet in place at scale in the UK, although several companies are investing heavily in their development.
Drax made £52m profit during the first half of 2021, increasing its dividend by 10pc to 7.5 cents per share.
The HSE has been contacted for comment.
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This is a complete load of rollicks, by the time you add in the pollution caused by felling, transporting, chipping, drying & transporting across the world these wood chips there is no way this is carbon neutral, if the millions of trees felled had been left to continue growing they would have continued to soak up carbon, never mind the hundreds of millions of pounds the government pays to Drax to burn these wood chips each year which would have been far better spent planting more trees.
Any fool knows the amount of heat ( energy) you get from wood is nothing in comparison to the heat energy you get from burning coal, this is just smoke & mirrors to try & make it seem the government is serious about climate change
 

HatsOff

Member
Mixed Farmer
Why is there a difference between burning a piece of wood and a piece of coal?? They’re both forms of stored carbon aren’t they.
Yes, the difference is that the carbon inside the tree was in the atmosphere a few years (decades?) ago, and is an active part of the carbon cycle, since if the tree was left to die and rot away, it would re-enter the atmosphere anyway.

Conversely coal has not been part of the carbon cycle for millions and millions of years. It is the massive amount of fossil carbon humans have put into the atmosphere which is the primary cause of climate change.

There is some fossil fuel use to fell and transport the timber - but that is no significant extra as compared to coal mining, processing and transportation. Transport decarbonisation is also progressing rapidly.
 

delilah

Member
I have read articles that show when trees are planted on pasture land, there is a change in the soil biology as the trees grow, causing Carbon held in the soil to be emitted back into the atmosphere (at the same time as carbon is being "captured" by the trees growing), this makes it only equal to carbon capture in grazed pasture, but only if the wood grown is never burnt. If the wood is burned (in somewhere like Drax), then grazed pasture is far better for climate change, unfortunately the answer for global warming is consume less which is not a message anyone wants to say.

Someone put this on here a while ago, i've saved it as a go-to quote for whenever trees are touted as being better than PP.

In the work of Guo and Gifford (2002) a meta-analysis was undertaken of data from 74 international land use change and soil carbon storage studies. It measured the effects of land use change in 537 instances and was used to determine the importance of land use and land use change on soil carbon stocks. The analysis showed that there was a decline in soil carbon stocks after land use conversion from grassland to plantation forest (−10 percent), native forest to plantation forest (−13 percent), native forest to cropland (−42 percent), and grassland to cropland (−59 percent). There were significant increases in soil carbon stocks after land use changes from native forest to grassland (+8 percent), cropland to grassland (+19 percent), cropland to plantation (+18 percent), and cropland to secondary forest (+53 percent). The conversion of native forest or grassland to broadleaf deciduous tree plantation had no effect on soil carbon stocks, but conversion to pine or conifer forest reduced soil carbon by between 12 and 15 percent. This analysis of land use change and soil carbon data also suggested that, if a given land use change is responsible for soil carbon losses, then the reverse change could potentially increase soil carbon stocks. But it is important to recognise that it can take decades if not centuries to recover to the original level of soil carbon stocks after disturbance due to land use change (Guo and Gifford, 2002).
 

DaveGrohl

Member
Location
Cumbria
Can't be arsed to read that frankly. I know it will be full of bollox that will make me angry.

"Burning renewable trees promises carbon-free power – but it may not stack up" right at the start got my pee simmering to start with. May not?!?

People (ie CEOs) need taking to court over the wanton use of terms like net zero. I'm getting sick to the back teeth of listening to the crap they spout. Govts actually encouraging all this nonsense is beyond belief.
 


Create a monopoly and then exploit it.

Lots of money, lots of dependancy and lots of power.

The plebs are kept in their shells, cant move away from their local whilst the rich and famous will be guaranteed ship loads of resources.

And they actually convinced some plebs to help keep the plebs down. They have the smarts alright.
 
Someone put this on here a while ago, i've saved it as a go-to quote for whenever trees are touted as being better than PP.

In the work of Guo and Gifford (2002) a meta-analysis was undertaken of data from 74 international land use change and soil carbon storage studies. It measured the effects of land use change in 537 instances and was used to determine the importance of land use and land use change on soil carbon stocks. The analysis showed that there was a decline in soil carbon stocks after land use conversion from grassland to plantation forest (−10 percent), native forest to plantation forest (−13 percent), native forest to cropland (−42 percent), and grassland to cropland (−59 percent). There were significant increases in soil carbon stocks after land use changes from native forest to grassland (+8 percent), cropland to grassland (+19 percent), cropland to plantation (+18 percent), and cropland to secondary forest (+53 percent). The conversion of native forest or grassland to broadleaf deciduous tree plantation had no effect on soil carbon stocks, but conversion to pine or conifer forest reduced soil carbon by between 12 and 15 percent. This analysis of land use change and soil carbon data also suggested that, if a given land use change is responsible for soil carbon losses, then the reverse change could potentially increase soil carbon stocks. But it is important to recognise that it can take decades if not centuries to recover to the original level of soil carbon stocks after disturbance due to land use change (Guo and Gifford, 2002).


I don't think Carbon does anything of any real significance. Good for taxxing humans that's about it.

IF temperatures are SO important then why aren't deserts being tackled ?
IF temperatures are SO important then why isn't vegetation being promoted in Cities and Towns ?

I don't believe the hype, this is all about power and money.
 

35% of English and Welsh farmers possibly/probably depressed

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Written by Michelle Martin from Agriland

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) has today, Thursday, October 14, published the findings of The Big Farming Survey, which shows 35% of English and Welsh farmers are either possibly or probably depressed.

The survey, based on over 15,000 responses, concentrates on the health and well-being of the farming community in England and Wales in the 2020s.

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) is a national charity that provides support to the farming community across England and Wales.

Mental health​


Mental well-being, the survey notes, describes our ability to cope with the ‘ups and downs’ of everyday life.

According to the survey, 14% of the farming community is ‘possibly depressed’ while...
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