Drax marks 100th biomass cargo from Baton Rouge

(Courtesy Drax)

Drax has received the 100th cargo of sustainable biomass from its dedicated U.S. export facility at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge.

The company, in operation for five years, supplies the renewable fuel to the UK’s largest power station.

The Port of Greater Baton Rouge is the final deepwater port on the Mississippi River and the closest to Drax’s three pellet plants in the U.S. South. In 2015, Drax completed work on its export facility at the port to process and ship biomass to its power station in the UK.

The company announced the landmark shipment, which arrived at ABP’s Port of Immingham in late March, will help Drax to continue to produce the electricity the UK needs during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We’re very proud of what Drax has achieved since we started using sustainable biomass instead of coal at the power station—by developing a global supply chain for sustainable biomass, our operations support thousands of jobs and have delivered economic growth across the North of England and in the U.S. South.

“Maintaining our supply chain so we can continue to generate the renewable electricity the country needs is all the more important right now as we continue to play a critical role in producing power to help the fight against COVID-19,” Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner said in a statement on the company’s website. “Our teams are working around the clock to keep generating the power the country needs.”

Baton Rouge Transit has shipped over 5 million tons of sustainable biomass to ports on the U.K.’s east and west coast in the five years since the first vessel was dispatched in April 2015.

Once in the U.K., the wood pellets are loaded on to bespoke biomass freight trains bound for Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire, where they are used to generate the renewable electricity for millions of U.K. homes and businesses.

Drax Biomass Senior VP Matt White noted the company’s first vessel carried 20,000 tons of sustainable wood pellets, while this most recent one loaded almost 63,000 tons.

Roughly two-thirds of the 7.5 million tons of biomass Drax uses each year comes from the U.S., where Drax owns and operates three pellet mills producing compressed wood pellets sourced from working forests in Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi.

The pellets are sent by rail and truck from the plants in Louisiana and Mississippi to Drax’s Baton Rouge facility before being loaded onto ships for their transatlantic journey.

Read the full announcement.