Stepping stone to a tour of discovery
Drax Power Station provides schoolchildren of all ages with an introduction to the electricity generating business and we have developed a range of visits to support National Curriculum studies.
Our Visitors Centre provides a stepping stone to a tour of the UK’s largest, cleanest and most efficient coal-fired power station with highlights at every turn and takes in the massive power station including our £680 million flue gas desulphurisation plant – the biggest in the world!
A centre for education
The Centre is of particular interest to school parties as it aims to provide children with a learning experience, related to the National Curriculum, where teachers and pupils can explore the properties of electricity, discover how a power station works and consider the environmental issues related to electricity generation.
For students in further and higher education the inner workings of the power station bring to life studies into the technical engineering equipment and complex processes used to harness energy from coal and coal blends.
Our interactive displays have been designed in consultation with educationalists to help children develop an understanding of the electricity business – the life blood of today’s modern society.
Together with a station tour these encourage children and students to learn more about electricity; the basic principles and development of electricity generation; the role of different fuels in electricity generation; trading of electricity; environmental issues related to burning fossil fuels and recycling by-products; and the role of a large industrial complex in the local economy and community.
Impressive sights and sounds
A tour enables school groups to marvel at the sights, sounds and smells of a typical working day in the life of Drax Power Station. Watch as huge trainloads of coal weighing an average of 1,400 tonnes are delivered and the giant coal scrapers and reclaim machines continue working on the coal stock “mountain”. Listen to the rumbling noise of the coal grinding mills preparing the fuel for burning inside massive boilers the size of a 15-storey building and experience the heat being produced by combustion on a scale that is hard to imagine. Then wonder at the harnessed power of the turbines and the mighty generators used to create electricity.
Protecting the environment
Equally important is how the environment is being protected by removing at least 90% of the sulphur dioxide gas produced by burning coal as it is transferred through the flue gas desulphurisation plant.
Away from the heat and noise there is the calm of the main control room where operators keep a watchful eye on the complex array of instruments, computer screens and TV monitors.
The sights to be seen in the grounds outside the main buildings and the area surrounding the power station are just as impressive in size and scale. The role of the 12 cooling towers, each standing 115 metres high is explained and we show how ash, a by-product of burning coal to generate electricity, has been used to reclaim a derelict area to create a nature reserve.
Pauline in the Visitor Centre helping children understand how electricity is produced