Back to Carbon Reduction

Installing a Biomass woodchip burner

What was the challenge?

As an isolated dwelling, FSC Blencathra Centre is not connected to the mains gas supply. Blencathra Centre initially ran from an oil burner system for the hot water supply and heating. The aging and outdated oil system needed replacing, preferably with a sustainable system rather than fossil fuel.

What did we do?

It was decided a biomass woodchip burner would meet the centre needs and environmental requirements. A 300kW Herz Firematic biomass boiler was installed with a capability of meeting all hot water and heating needs to a 130 bed centre, offices, and cottages across 10 buildings.

How did it help? What are the benefits?

The system has replaced up to 80% of the centres energy that was previously derived from fossil fuels, and saves 215 tonnes of CO2 per year. The system is part of the OFGEM renewable heat incentive scheme (RHI), so the centre receives money back for the heat energy used in the buildings. On average the new heating systems saves the FSC £18,000 each year, as well as an RHI refund of around £40,000 annually.

Another factor for this sustainable scheme is the wood fuel source. The woodchip comes from a local supplier in Cumbria so has a low carbon footprint from delivery. The woodchip itself is waste cut offs from the timber industry, meaning we are repurposing an otherwise waste material.

What else does Blencathra do to support nature?

Tree planting is taking place on land that the centre acquired when the farmer next door retired.

” We’re putting in hedgerows and areas of woodland to boost biodiversity around the centre.”

Richard Peasland
Senior Tutor 

The project is funded by a grant from the Cumbria Woodlands and United Utilities West Cumbria Water Supplies Tree Planting Fund. This fund is as part of their project to build a new water pipeline across Cumbria.