Biomass Boiler Helps College Cut Its Heating Costs

27th Jun 2011

The Royal Agricultural College has reduced its heating costs – and its carbon footprint – by installing a new biomass boiler.

The college, in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, now features a 500kW woodchip boiler, which is capable of heating almost all of the college’s teaching area, and will soon supply a new student residence as well.

Around 60 cubic metres of woodchip a week will be used at peak times, although average consumption will be nearer 30 cubic metres. The college pays just over 3p/kWh, instead of on a tonnage basis. And running costs are minimal, with ash being emptied once a week and the system serviced twice a year.

“The college had some hefty fuel bills and an out-of-date heating system,” said director of estates Graham Barton.

“We had also set ourselves a target of reducing our carbon footprint by 34% by 2020. The biomass boiler has helped us to achieve a cut of 40% in one fell swoop.”

With a capital cost of £500,000 for the installation, the college received a £150,000 grant, which helped off-set the initial cost of the new boiler. It’s annual savings on heating costs will be at least £10,000.