Drax Biomass, a subsidiary of Drax Group PLC, of the United Kingdom, is using wood products to change the way energy is generated, supplied and used.
Drax Biomass has three U.S. manufacturing facilities: two in Louisiana and one in Mississippi. Morehouse BioEnergy in Bastrop, Louisiana, can produce up to 575,000 tons of pellets annually; LaSalle BioEnergy in Urania, Louisiana, can produce approximately 500,000 tons of wood pellets annually; and Amite BioEnergy in Gloster, Mississippi, can produce up to 575,000 metric tons of pellets annually.
Baton Rouge Transit on the Mississippi River at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge in Port Allen, Louisiana, is the closest deep-water port to Drax Biomass plants and was custom-built to process and ship up to 2.2 million tons of pellets annually, including pellets manufactured by other producers. At peak operation, the transit facility is capable of loading approximately 40 vessels per year.
“Our pellets allow electric utilities to reduce their dependence on coal, lower carbon emissions and provide new sources of safe, reliable and affordable power,” said Richard Peberdy, Drax vice president for sustainability.
Biomass is renewable fuel made from organic matter that can be burned to generate energy. “In our case, we create wood pellets that we supply to Drax Power Station — the largest power plant in the UK and the world’s largest individual consumer of pellets,” Peberdy said. On any given day, Drax generates roughly 7 percent of the UK’s total electricity.
The company supports the communities in which it operates by promoting sustainable forestry and investing in local economic development.
“Our operations are regularly audited by independent third-party bodies to certify compliance with our sourcing policies, long-established forestry standards and regulatory requirements,” Peberdy said. Drax Biomass only sources low-grade wood, such as thinnings, mill residues, wood chips and smaller or diseased or misshapen trees with little commercial value that may have few or no alternative markets.
Rick Bogren is a professor in LSU AgCenter Communications and associate editor of Louisiana Agriculture magazine.
This article appears in the spring 2018 issue of Louisiana Agriculture magazine.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture