Drax Power Station Biomass Storage and Handling

This was a technically complex project requiring in-house design and build functions combined with the requisite rail, process design and M&E capabilities. The facility was designed to facilitate the unloading of six 1100t capacity trains per day, and was constructed with minimal disruption to the existing petcoke and coal delivery lines supplying the power station.

Key Project Details

Client Drax Power Ltd
Duration 18 months
Location Selby, North Yorkshire

Project Scope

Full turn-key delivery (civil, structural, mechanical, EC&I).Two bulk storage silos capable of holding 24,000m3 of biomass wood pellets. These circular concrete vessels are 30m in diameter and are supported on 300 piles. The non-stop unloading of six 1,200 tonne capacity trains a day within an innovative subterranean facility, housing seven vibrating feeders and two conveyors that can deliver biomass fuel to the silos at a rate of 2,800 tonnes per hour.

A 22 metre high structure housing screening and sampling equipment, a magnetic separator and metal detector. All areas linked by 800m of high capacity conveyor systems. 8,000m3 of material moved, 3,500m3 of poured concrete and over 1,000 tonnes of fabricated steel. ATEX compliant

The project involved

Facilities unloading of six 1100 tonne trains per day
Silo capacity of 12,000m3


Close collaboration with the Drax team allowed us to overcome challenges through meticulous project and design management.

We developed a continuous unloading system to transfer biomass from moving trains as opposed to the industry standard of unloading trains in a stationary position. Our value engineering design also proposed a solution to Drax that enabled the discharge of biomass in 30 minutes rather than the stipulated 1 hour. The site presented a vast network of overhead and buried utilities and services, such as HV and LV supplies, fibre optic cables, telecoms and potable water. We developed a site specific system of work within the relevant Method Statements detailing control measures to protect the various services.

Find out more about our Materials Handling and Bulk Storage services

The project involved

Trains unloaded in 40 minutes
800m of high capacity conveyor systems