As a responsible, forward-thinking business it is essential that we source from certified and sustainable, suppliers and take actions to combat the climate change crisis.
Where do our wood pellets come from? How do they get to Yorkshire? And what role do they play in ensuring more productive, healthy forests and a decarbonised economy?
Although the area of many of our source forests has remained around the same size for years, active management of these resources increases growth and carbon storage.
Thinning operations increase the growth of the biggest and best trees, ensuring more carbon is stored in longer term, solid wood products such as those used in furniture and construction.
Opening the forest floor and clearing debris reduces the risk of fire and increases the growth of ground flora.
Responsible, active management also boosts carbon stock as the stands of younger, faster growing trees that are re-established after felling absorb even more carbon dioxide than stands of older, over-mature trees.
With these practices in use, the volume of trees in our US source forests, which we refer to as growing stock, has significantly increased since the 1950s.
Annual forest growth in the US South increased from 193 million cubic metres in 1953 to 408 million cubic metres in 2015. During that same 62-year period, inventory more than doubled from 4 billion cubic metres in 1953 to 8.4 billion in 2015.
The more sustainable wood we use, the more forests can be encouraged to grow. Increased demand for wood in the US South has been statistically correlated with increased annual tree growth and more wood volume available in the forest.
But this increased growth has also created excess supply. Over the last 25 years, the US South has not only increased its total wood supply – the surplus annual growth (compared to removals) each year has quadrupled.
Drax does not take high quality wood from other industries. Sustainable biomass is largely made up of low grade wood and low value residues produced as a bi-product of the production and processing of higher value solid wood products (e.g. saw-timber for construction and furniture). These feedstocks can be used for renewable, low carbon energy.
The primary proportions of a wood harvest are broken into four distinct categories:
Low grade wood and residues used for pellets:
13.43 million cubic metres3.34% of the total harvest
Total renewable electricity, UK
of the UK's renewable power was produced by US wood pellets at Drax
By wood pellets at Drax from Canada, Europe and Brazil
By other renewable power generators - wind, solar, biomass and hydro
We are focused on self-supplying 80% of Drax Power Station's sustainable biomass needs by 2027.
By operating a profitable, safe and sustainable business close to the well-managed forests that we rely on, we're able to control a growing part of our supply chain in a cost-efficient way.
Each harvest gets delivered to one of our bespoke processing plants before going through a process called pelletisation – turning harvested material into biomass fuel.
In addition to being a prominent feature across the global landscape, forests and trees also play a significant role in how we live. They make the air cleaner in cities and absorb carbon from the atmosphere. They provide bio-diversity and habits for wildlife. They also provide essential forest products such as paper, building materials and wood pellets for energy.
Forests and wood fuel are more powerful than you might think:
Thanks for taking the time to visit Drax ForestScope. We hope to improve this website to include data from a wider variety of our suppliers, from multiple countries.