Drax and Sheffield Uni to revolutionise energy production

Drax and Sheffield Uni to revolutionise energy production

Drax Power Station is now working with the University of Sheffield on research which​ it said​ could potentially revolutionise the future of UK energy.

The company, which owns the country’s largest power station, near Selby in North Yorkshire, is collaborating with academics to meet the UK’s changing energy needs.

Drax has already transformed half of its coal-fired power station in North Yorkshire to sustainable biomass, making it the UK’s largest single-site renewable generator.

The firm is now developing four rapid response gas power stations.

Dorothy Thompson, the outgoing CEO of Drax Group said: “The energy sector is changing beyond recognition in the UK and modern companies like Drax are transforming with it.

“ The work with the University of Sheffield will help us to deliver on our aim of changing the way energy is generated, supplied and used for a better future.”

Now, Drax is working on projects with the University of Sheffield’s Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Storage and its Applications to hopefully increase understanding of developing technologies, to enable Drax to support the UK’s energy system in the future.

Jason Shipstone, head of Drax Group’s research and innovation team, said: “Flexibility is already important for the UK’s electricity system, but it’s going to become vital as we continue to decarbonise and more electric vehicles take to the roads.

“ Without the right storage and flexibility, the UK’s power systems will struggle to meet the increasing demand.

“This collaboration with the University of Sheffield will provide us with insights which I believe could help us to deliver better, smarter solutions for our future energy needs.”

As part of the partnership, the group will sponsor three PhD projects at the university.

One of the projects is focusing on flow batteries and will look at their potential to offer longer life, faster charging and high er storage capacities.

A second project will be based on vehicle to grid systems will look at the impact of human behaviour on smart energy technologies.

This will help electric cars to store excess power from the grid and then release the power again when needed.

The third project relates to exhaust cleaning and will look at ways of using exhaust scrubbing technology in combination with small diesel or rapid response gas to reduce the environmental impact of these assets.

Dr Solomon Brown, deputy director of the Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Storage and its Applications at the University of Sheffield, said: “We are delighted the Drax Group have decided to work with us to develop their business in response to the changing energy economy, consumer demands and how energy needs to be generated.

“ Energy storage is a critical translational technology for the UK, and this collaboration indicates a commitment to low carbon energy generation and deployment .”