Drax Power has awarded a contract to Siemens for the upgrade of turbines on three of its biomass units in North Yorkshire, UK.

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Image: A Drax engineer at a power station in UK. Photo: courtesy of Drax Group plc.

Under the £40m contract, Siemens will provide upgrades for the biomass units and reduce the cost of biomass electricity production at the plant in North Yorkshire.

The upgrade project will not only improve the efficiency of the biomass generating units but will make its power production more cost effective, Drax said.

Drax Power CEO Andy Koss said: “We firmly believe that biomass has a long-term role to play in the UK’s energy infrastructure. We’re looking at a number of ways to bring down the costs of our biomass generation – and these turbine upgrades are an important part of that work.

“Reducing the costs of our biomass operations will help to preserve the life of the plant and protect jobs, whilst we continue to produce the flexible, renewable power millions of homes and businesses rely on.”

Work under the three-year contract is planned to commence in 2019, with one biomass unit planned to be upgraded each year.

The upgrade work involves fitting new, high tech pipework and valves, with new high efficiency blading and long life seals within the turbines on biomass units 1, 2 and 3.

Siemens Power and Gas power generation services managing director Darren Davidson said: “Siemens and Drax have a long-standing and proud partnership so it’s fantastic that we will now help them further develop their biomass solution.

“Once delivered this project will improve plant efficiency and flexibility and provide a further source of low carbon power to UK homes, businesses and services.”

Drax said it has upgraded three of its coal units to run on biomass while the fourth unit is being converted.

The firm is also planning to repower the remaining two coal units to use gas and develop up to 200MW of battery storage.