Will Gardiner

CEO and Chairperson, Drax

At a time when most UK plants are grappling to phase out coal-fired generation, Will Gardiner, the CEO of Drax has been modifying its current coal power plants to be more efficient and sustainable on an accelerated timetable.

Gardiner tells Business Insider: “The next few years are crucial in the fight against climate change, and Drax has a vital role to play. In March 2021, we will stop using coal, ending almost 50 years of coal-fired power generation at Drax Power Station.”

He adds: “Whereas other coal-fired power stations in Britain have been closing, we’ve converted two-thirds of ours to use sustainable biomass, transforming the plant to become the UK’s largest single site renewable electricity generator and the biggest decarbonisation project in Europe.

Gardiner, who became CEO in early 2018, was tasked with driving the utility to carbon neutrality by 2030 and pioneering the ground-breaking negative emissions technology bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, known as BECCS.

BECCS is the process of extracting bioenergy from biomass and capturing and storing the carbon. This removes the carbon from the atmosphere.

Gardiner says the company is also progressing plans with partners and the government to develop bioenergy with carbon capture technologies to deliver negative emissions needed to help the UK meet its 2050 net-zero-carbon target.