South Yorkshire Woodfuel

Site Requirements - Is my Site suitable?

Before undertaking a woodfuel installation you will need to make a site appraisal to establish that your site and building are suitable for woodfuel. For example, there are three separate elements within fuel handling alone: - reception, storage and feed to boiler, which need to be considered with great care, since they impact significantly on the cost and design of the installation.

Boiler housing, fuel storage and delivery

The woodfuel boilers tend to have a 'footprint' not much bigger than a traditional solid fuel boiler, along with the necessary pipe work and boiler/heating system controls, of an equivalent kW rated boiler. However woodfuel has a far greater bulk density than coal so it is essential that a well thought out, designed and executed, delivery and storage area is investigated first so that avoidable problems are not built into the design. The fuel storage area and the boiler installation need to be close to each other, options for fuel storage are as follows:-

  • A site will probably need to be able to accommodate a delivery vehicle such as a tractor-trailer unit or a delivery vehicle with upto 8 wheeled wagon - both of which may need to be able to raise their tipping backs several meters into the air.
    Tipping a load
  • The type of the fuel bunker or hopper needs serious thought. The most straight forward in terms of 'fuel to store' is a subterranean installation. These however tend to be expensive due to construction costs. Delivery is simply a matter of tipping the chip into a waterproof bunker set in the ground. The boiler would generally be at the same level as the bunker, otherwise additional series of augers etc. may be needed to raise the fuel up to the boiler level, this will add to the cost of the project. Consideration should be given to see if the sites natural topography can assist with location of this type of storage.
    A bunker
  • A ground level fuel reception hopper can be provided either via an existing building space such as an existing solid fuel bunker or storage room. Standard purpose built, bolt on hoppers are available.
    A ground level hopper
  • The RoRo or Roll on Roll off bin system is also straightforward. These are delivered by standard 8-wheeled skip wagons, the full bin placed on the reception bed housing the hook-up for the bin & auger to the boiler. The empty bin is then taken away for refilling, ready for the next delivery. This is a quick and convenient method, but the walking floor RoRo bins are in the region of £25k - £30k each.
    A Roll On Roll Off bin
  • The size of the fuel store is obviously dependent on the boiler size . Examples such as RSPB's, 100kW boiler with its 16m3 hopper requires refilling approximately once a week in winter and once every 3 or 4 weeks in summer. BMBC's Sheffield Road flats with approx. 100m3 (useable) storage area (9.5m x 4m x 3m) for its 470kW installation, has a similar usage profile.

If you are satisfied that your site has potential to accommodate one of the above requirements, having a specialist to give an initial opinion on the project would be the next step.