Stackpole Biomass – How are we doing?

Stackpole CentreFollowing Keith’s recent blog on the Stackpole biomass system –Welsh biomass, biomass, biomass…makes a change from hydro – we have been conducting a “post occupancy assessment” of the system to check actual performance against the anticipated performance of the big box that burns things.

As Keith stated, the new 380 kW biomass boiler replaced 17 independent LPG fired systems, and for the first time linked the whole Stackpole Centre heating operation together. No mean feat when you consider the varied demands on heating and hot water required to the many different areas – Stackpole Centre

The system is also eligible for the governments Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Scheme, designed to allow the recouping of capital costs associated with the integration of renewable means of providing heating and hot water. As you can imagine the distribution of this heat across the site made for an interesting process of registration.So how are we doing?stackpole biomass

The big box that burns things (Froling Turbomat) is working extremely well. The boiler is performing as expected and provides the heat required efficiently and effectively.

As Keith mentioned, there has been some feedback from property staff on the Building management System controls. We commissioned a trusted independent consultant to look over the operation of these controls with an eye to ease of use for the end user (or victims of a bright idea as we call them).

There is some work still to do to ensure that the BMS fully integrates the heating and hot water distribution requirements of the whole site (“balancing” of loads) to ensure all areas hit required temperatures in an efficient manner. controls

We need to also ensure that the computer software interface allows staff to adjust settings and timeclocks simply and quickly without having to spend time confirming several times in several different places.

This element to me shows how we are continuing to become a better informed client, with a better understanding of what we want the system to do, and how this can be achieved. Work is now underway to make these changes in order to ensure the big box that burns things (biomass in this case) does so “when we want, where we want, and for exactly how long we want”.

The final piece in the jigsaw was registration for RHI. At least now I have an excuse I can use when asked why I am grey and balding – not a straightforward process by any means. 

We developed a spreadsheet of information required by Ofgem in order to ensure that designers, staff, specialist engineers and contractors all knew what was required – we identified 67 seperate steps to the process.

We then completed system specific heat loss calculation reports, independent meter reports, site specific schematics, photographs, simple layout plans, gathered comissioning certification and approvals for the types of meters installed….. you get the idea. All of this information allowed us to satisfy Ofgem that the Stackpole biomass met the criterea for RHI payments.

In summary –

  • Boilers that efficiently provide all the heating and hot water requirements of the Stackpole Centre.
  • Removal of the 17 old and inefficient LPG boilers.
  • A huge reduction in the fossil fuel consumption of the National Trust in Wales as Stackpole was the largest LPG user we had.
  • Once “tweaked” we will have fully integrated control and distribution of heating and hot water that does not require a phd to manage.
  • Happy staff and visitors to the Stackpole Centre.
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