Helping local farmer Roger get his biomass heat system back on track
|Client||eco farm, Nottinghamshire|
|We installed...||An extension to the existing bale burning biomass boiler system - two 6000 litre buffer vessels, four 30kW unit heaters, and a new distribution pump and pipe network|
|Annual fuel saving||None|
|Annual RHI income||£18,396, or £367,920 over 20 years|
Roger is a local farmer and eco entrepreneur and owns one of Europe’s largest solar photovoltaic installations on his land in Nottinghamshire. He had previously had a 300kw big bale biomass boiler installed to heat the cottages, main farm house, farm office and workshops – but unfortunately it wasn’t delivering the returns he was expecting. He invited Lime-Circle in to troubleshoot…
Due to safety problems, poor system installation and heavy smoking issues, Roger’s boiler installation wasn’t performing as well as expected. It didn’t reach its yearly financial Renewable Heating Incentive (RHI) rewards, only making a meagre £3,500 a year, so Roger approached us for a consultation on how improvements could be made to his biomass system.
We carefully prepared a report and recommendations with on-site meetings to demonstrate how improvements could be made to achieve the expected annual RHI income of £18,396.
We were very flattered to be given carte blanche permission to reinstall Roger’s system based on trust. There were many changes to be made, but the biggest challenge was installing two 6,000 litre buffer vessels. These buffer vessels are designed to store the heat generated by the bales burning. Effectively, the boiler now charges the buffer vessels and heat is taken from the vessels as required by the farm – this means the boiler no longer has to rapidly cycle every time a heat or hot water demand is made from the farm, massively increasing its efficiency.
We also installed a wireless programmable thermostat, to optimise and aid efficiency, and a three-way computer controlled valve, which allows the boiler water jacket to be heated. Now, rather than the boiler going into slumber mode as the returning water has reached its energy holding capacity, it runs constantly – this increases energy up take, efficiency and greatly reduces smoking, and also prevents burn chambers failing.
While we can see why they appeal to farmers, bale burning boilers aren’t our recommended choice of biomass system because they aren’t particularly efficient. Despite this, we were very pleased to help Roger make the most of the investment he had already made, and he’s now on track to earn £367,920 over 20 years.