Drax has switched on the fourth biomass unit at its power station in Yorkshire after completing its conversion from coal.

The unit was taken offline in June as part of a planned maintenance programme. The company says the work has been finished on schedule in just two months.

The latest conversion means two thirds of the plant is now running on biomass. With the two remaining coal units set to be converted into combined-cycle gas turbines, Drax said it is on course to be completely coal-free ahead of the government’s 2025 deadline.

Drax Power chief executive Andy Koss, said: “This is another major milestone in the transformation of the power station. It will extend the life of the plant, protecting jobs, whilst delivering cleaner, reliable power for millions of homes and businesses.

“It is testament to the engineering expertise, skill and ingenuity we have at Drax. The team has developed some very innovative solutions for this upgrade, using all the knowledge we’ve gained throughout the work we have done so far to transform the business using sustainable biomass.”

By reusing redundant infrastructure left over from when it first began co-firing biomass with coal on a large scale around eight years ago, the company has been able to significantly reduce the cost of the conversion to £30 million.

It had already invested around £700 million converting the first three units and associated supply chain infrastructure to use biomass.

Back in May, the company announced plans to trial carbon capture and storage on one of the three other biomass units.

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