Electrical students visit Europe’s biggest carbon saving project

Students from Warrington & Vale Royal College have been to see Europe’s biggest carbon saving project as part of their studies in electrical installation, to develop the skills needed for careers in the industry.

The group of 15 studying Electrical Installation Level 1 at the college visited Drax Power Station, near Selby, which has upgraded half its generating capacity to use compressed wood pellets in place of coal.

This makes Drax the UK’s largest single site renewable power generator, generating 17% of the UK’s renewable electricity – enough to power four million homes a year.

A tour of the site included the 427-metre turbine hall that houses the six huge turbines which power the generators to produce electricity, a close-up view of the UK’s first wood pellet storage domes, each large enough to fit The Royal Albert Hall inside, and the 12 cooling towers, which at 115 metres high are taller than the Statue of Liberty.

Drax Head of Corporate Responsibility Vicky Bullivant said: “The scale of Drax is always a real eye-opener for visitors and our operations are a fascinating way to further science understanding and learn about the importance of renewable electricity in tackling climate change and meeting the UK’s future energy needs.”

The tour also included a session at the interactive Visitor Centre where the students learnt more about how electricity is made and discovered how growing, harvesting, processing and transporting sustainable compressed wood pellets has enabled Drax to reduce carbon emissions by over 80% compared with coal.

David Love, Curriculum Manager, Electrical Installation, Engineering and Science at the college, said: “With the demise of fossil fuels in power generation it is important that students understand how electricity is generated with the environment in mind.

He added: “Touring Drax gave the students a fantastic insight to how the electricity that they will be dealing with every day is made. It was also important for them to see how skills they are learning are used in a real-life workplace.”

Drax has a long tradition of supporting education and helping to find and inspire the engineers of the future by encouraging greater interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects.

The students are among some 10,000 expected to visit Drax this year. Tours are free to all primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, with content tailored to suit the curriculum or area of study.