Biomass Community Heating Study
Assessing the feasibility of using a biomass boiler to supply social housing blocks
Project duration: October 2003 to May 2004
The aim of the study was to assess the feasibility of using a biomass boiler to supply a community heat-main serving a number of social housing blocks located in Hartcliffe, south Bristol.
The existing boiler plant comprises two gas-fired boilers and supplies heat for 186 dwellings. As the boilers will soon be due for renewal, an opportunity was identified to incorporate an automatic wood-fired boiler within the refurbishment plans.
A detailed options appraisal was undertaken to assess the following:
- detailed biomass supply options
- detailed site and load profile analysis
- options for heating, including sizing, functional specification and schematics
- whole life costing
A business plan was also compiled to cover:
- options for organisational structure
- finance options
- future growth
- cash flow forecasts
- process for gaining approvals
The study was completed in May 2004 and concluded that a wood-fired boiler, with full gas back-up, was a technically feasible option, having a payback period of ten years or more, depending on a number of economic factors being in place. With the wood boiler supplying the baseload, annual CO2 savings of 219 tonnes could be achieved.
Planning approval would be required for the suggested flue arrangement and fuel delivery option. Bristol City Council plans to replace the existing gas boilers during 2006 but no plans to date have been made on incorporating biomass at the site.