New milestone reached in biomass supply chain

Drax Power Station has taken delivery of its 200th specially designed biomass rail freight wagon.

The 200th specially designed biomass rail freight wagon is the culmination of a three year partnership between Lloyds Register Rail, UK manufacturer W H Davis and Drax.

The partnership has pushed the boundaries of rail engineering and lead to the design and manufacturing of the largest ever rail freight wagons in the UK.

Drax biomass rail freight wagon
The wagons are 30% larger than any other rail freight wagon currently used in the UK.

It has also played a major role in ongoing developments in Drax’s supply chain as part of the firm’s conversion to burning sustainable biomass in place of coal – a process which has seen Drax transform from the UK’s largest emitter of CO2 to Europe’s largest decarbonisation project.

Since entering operations in 2013, the wagons – designed by Lloyd’s Register Rail and manufactured by W H Davis – have collectively travelled more than 12m miles between the Ports of Tyne, Hull and Immingham, and Drax.

Over the course of these journeys, they have transported upwards of 4.5m tonnes of sustainable biomass – enough to power 2.5m homes with low carbon, affordable and reliable renewable electricity.

The wagons are 30% larger than any other rail freight wagon currently used in the UK, and are able to carry a biomass load weighing 71.6 tonnes.

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

Drax biomass rail freight wagon
The wagons are able to carry a biomass load weighing 71.6 tonnes.

“Lloyds Register Rail and W H 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.”

Managing director of W H Davis, Mark Jackson added: “We’re proud of what we’ve achieved for Drax, providing UK 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.”