Wood pellets sourced from sustainably managed woodlands.

Biomass Boiler to heat University greenhouses

The University of Exeter is taking an unusual approach to sustainable gardening by installing a state-of-the-art biomass boiler to heat its three greenhouses.

The boiler will protect young plants through the winter, before they are planted in the University’s award-winning grounds and gardens.

The new boiler will produce up to 600,000kWh of heat energy each year from renewable sources, which is equivalent to the energy consumption of twenty four three-bedroom houses. It will save up to 114 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, helping the University reach its target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by at least 28% by 2020.

The biomass boiler burns wood pellets, sourced from sustainably managed woodlands. It has reduced the need to use the gas boiler and was chosen for its Carbon Saving which is in line with the University’s Carbon Management Plan.

Although the combustion of biomass releases carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, this is offset by the carbon dioxide absorbed in the original growth of the biomass. Thus, biomass heating is considered “carbon neutral” and results in very low net lifecycle carbon emissions relative to fossil fired heating systems.

The University of Exeter is committed to minimising its carbon dioxide emissions by appropriate planning and investment, by involving staff, and by providing students with an education in sustainability relevant to a world threatened by climate change.

Guy Head, Project Manager for Estate Development Service (EDS) said "EDS are proud to have managed this project to install the Estate Services Centre Biomass Boiler. The boiler is the first wood burning boiler on campus and will serve as a great carbon saving facility for years to come."

The Boiler will also save £14,000 a year due to the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).  Iain Park, Director of Grounds at the University of Exeter said "The Streatham Campus is a registered botanic garden with many rare plants and is enjoyed by students and visitors who take pride in walking around a green environment. We strive to ensure that the beautiful gardens are maintained and enjoyed by future students”

Date: 3 April 2012

Read more University News