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Case Studies

Whiston Hall - West Midlands

Sector: Commercial/Agricultural
Project: Biomass
Location: West Midlands
Energy Output: 260,000kWh per year
Carbon Saving: 62 tonnes CO2 per year

“Initially, I was looking for an efficient and economical system to replace the 1930s heating system in the main farmhouse, originally solid fuel, later converted to oil. TGE Group demonstrated how a well-designed biomass boiler installation would not only provide all the heat I needed for the main farmhouse but also the four barn conversions, three listed hard-to-heat cottages,  hot water to the stable block and heat to the tack room. All this and at less cost! We can hardly believe the difference it will make over winter!”
Charlie Sankey, Sankey Farms.

The Project

Oil heating systems had become unreliable and costly at Whiston Hall, a mixed crop farm near Wolverhampton. With eight residential properties on the estate, farmer, Charlie Sankey, was keen to move to a more efficient and cost effective source of heating.

The Solution 

Working closely with the client, TGE Group’s technical team designed a reliable energy-efficient, low emission system using a 199kW ETA Hack biomass boiler, eligible for the top bracket of RHI payments (under 200kW). The system was installed to supply space and water heating to eight residential properties, including the main farmhouse and four barn conversions along with hot water only to the stable block.

We installed the system with a 5,000 litre buffer tank linked to four high efficiency pumps.  To provide the district heating system, an underground heat distribution network was laid with 900m of pre-insulated pipe. Each property had its own RHI compliant class 2 heat meter and heat exchanger ranging from 10-100kWp. The system was linked into existing heat controls with an added remote access option so boiler and buffer temperatures and use can be monitored over the internet.

The robust ETA boiler can run on a range of fuels including wood pellet, chip, miscanthus and willow with sensors and an automatic control system that ensures maximum burn efficiency. TGE Group installed a system that could run on wood chip and wood pellet, with a panelled storage area with floor agitator and auger fed system.  The system was commissioned using wood pellet whilst a further 50-tonne storage container for wood chip was prepared, enabling bulk ordering to reduce the cost further.

“The choice between wood pellet and wood chip is based on a number of factors, and is basically down to customer choice.  Pellet is denser, easier to handle and has a higher combustion rate, however, it is more than twice as expensive per tonne. Wood chip requires more storage and management, however, particularly when a local supply is available, it can be a far more cost effective option.” Matthew Evans, Heat Director, TGE Group.

Energy Saving

The 199kW ETA Hack biomass boiler has a design efficiency of around 95%. Depending on the fuel source, the cost of heat is around 3.8p from wood pellet, with a calorific value of 4.8kWh/kg and 2.3p from wood chip with a calorific value of 3.5kWh/kg (this value is subject to the moisture content of the fuel).