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TOPIC: Biomass Solutions

Biomass Solutions 4 months, 3 weeks ago #1

Ian Gibbs wants to ask the following;

We are looking for Biomass Boiler solutions for a large scale Biomass Project at our largest student residence. The project is to abate 1,000 tCO2 annually. An option is for us to burn a local byproduct "Rape Meal"... Any experiences?

  • Emission and particulate issues
  • Boiler plant suitability


Last Edit: 4 months, 3 weeks ago by Scott Buckler.

Re: Biomass Solutions 4 weeks ago #2


It is very likely that you can use Rape meal as a fuel. We have looked into a number of fuels recently and this could be useable. Do you have any details of the composition, calorific values etc. If so I amy be able to assist.

Re: Biomass Solutions 4 weeks ago #3


Just carried out further research and yes it is very achievable as Rape meal is a good fuel dependent on its moisture content. What sort of heating requirements do you require and what quantity of fuel do you have available?


Re: Biomass Solutions 2 weeks ago #4

Hi, I would say "local" and "byproduct" sound good.

However, beware of tying yourself into any exclusive fuel, especially a minority/newish commodity like this, unless you can agree a long term supply contract from a supplier, who actively conducts regular quality (e.g. moisture, consistency) monitoring and one where you are confident they themselves will last the course of that contract should major changes occur in that fuel market. This is the case for all fuels but it can especially affect those closely dependent on the primary industry producing it (in this case food & agriculture) regarding price and availability.

Also all aspects of the system from the fuel vehicles, delivery mechanism, fuel store, feed, the boiler itself and even ash disposal will need to be planned as an integrated whole. Each will need to be designed and guaranteed by the respective manufacturer/supplier to accept the specific characteristics of the primary (and substitute) fuel(s) you are intending to use. On top of that you will need a backup fuel supplier, not to mention a backup fuel type, in case of short or long term disruptions to Plan A.

In other words, I recommend not plungeing head first into a given fuel type, installer or fuel supplier without .

Re: Biomass Solutions 1 week, 3 days ago #5


If you are looking for funding on this project, Solar Selections has funds looking to invest in renewable technologies such as biomass. The Energy Efficiency Funding looks to package up technologies such as Biomass and other measures suitable for a property like the student residence, such as LEDs. There is zero capital outlay for the residence and the upgrades can remain off of the balance sheet. The maintenance of the technologies is the responsibility of the funding, so Biomass fuel would not be your concern for the duration of the contract term (5 - 10 years). The fund sees their return by taking a share of the actual energy bill savings.

Once the contract is up, all of the assets and incentives are handed to the residence entirely.

For more information please contact Solar Selections; 0844 567 9835 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Kind Regards,


Re: Biomass Solutions 1 week ago #6

At West Berks we have had a pilot running for several years at a local primary school (Curridge) based on heat, provided by an on-site biomass (woodchip) boiler and charged at a price per unit for the heat. This agreement is delivered via an ESCO and is priced to reflect fluctuation in the price of oil on the annual price review. Because the cost review is based on both RPI and oil price the resulting increase is competitive when measured against oil and over time the price has continually dropped, albeit slowly. The deal is for a 'large' number of years and reflects the sites need to predict and manage price increases and fuel supply and the suppliers need to cover costs and make a reasonable return on investment. We have just undertaken a review of the case study and the responses from the site have been extremely positive - all this after 3+ years of operation.
The existing solution was implemented with capital assistance from government funding. We are looking at a model where the capital cost is borne by the supplier, supported by RHI payments, and the operational costs (fuel maintenance etc) are covered by the payments for heat. This is looking more scalable, although this is still based on woodchip. Given the discussion of the potential for other sources of biomass fuel and the need to protect, especially public sector institutions, from excessive market price and supply variation perhaps this style of agreement could act as a risk mitigation - assuming the right price point model could be designed.

Re: Biomass Solutions 1 week ago #7

One of the greatest drivers for adoption of biomass heating is the RHI. In order to make a claim the boiler should be fired using 'wood fuel'. If you balance forgoing RHI income, requiring a boiler designed to cope with the larger ash quantity produced by the agricultural by-product (usually larger and more expensive), potentially not being able to use ceramic filtration particulate abatement (higher ash concentrations and unburnt volatile gases not present in wood fuel), potential planning issues clarifying that the boiler is working as a heat generator and not an incinerator, and likely higher maintenance against pre-engineered designs for quality wood fuel you may conclude that wood pellet or wood chip are more cost effective and practical.
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