Week three at the Trust completed and I’m entering the latter stages of the project. This week my focus was directed towards investigating the Trust’s potential to produce their own biomass wood fuel to almost eliminate heating expenses entirely.
I began Monday morning generally researching this topic to get an overview of the process and identify all aspect that would require consideration. In the afternoon I accompanied one of the team on a visit to two of the Trust’s nature reserves to get some idea of what is there and where it is.
I spent Tuesday morning investigating any legal requirements of producing your own wood fuel, and what the government requires for this to still be eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments. The assessment from the first installation consultation had come in with predictions of annual heat demand so I used this to calculate estimates of the annual quantity of wood fuel required. I considered soft and hardwood tree species, in various moisture content scenarios, and produced a spreadsheet to allow estimates to be calculated quickly for comparison, once the remaining three assessments are in.
On Wednesday I spent the morning documenting the work from Monday and Tuesday. I also had a consultation with a boiler replacement service for a quote to replace the current boiler in one of the buildings at the site, to include this in the analysis. This work needs to be performed but a biomass installation for the whole site would eliminate this need. In the afternoon I calculated estimates of the current greenhouse gas emissions and the potential emissions for various biomass installation scenarios. To do this I again used the estimate of annual heating demand provided by the renewable installation company, and so again produced a spreadsheet to quickly do this when I receive the other assessments.
On Thursday I researched the seasoning process required to dry felled trees before they can be burnt as wood fuel. I continued to work on my report, documenting my work, and also investigated the potential for any scrap/resale value in the equipment currently installed on-site, which would be replaced; looking at the quantity and potential value of radiators, water heaters and hot water cylinders.
Friday was spent just working on my report: adding additional information, where necessary; editing sections; checking references and formatting the document.
The project progressed well again in my third week but there’s still a lot to do before I finish! Next week will involve scrutinising the installation assessments to summarise the results and draw conclusions so that I can compile recommendations for the Trust.