Epic Lincolnshire

The Biomass Heating System at the EPIC Centre

5 tonnes of wood chip being tipped into the fuel hopper at the EPIC Centre

The main heating source in the EPIC building is a biomass boiler. This particular model, a Herz firematic, comes from Austria. The pictures shows the boiler installation and fuel being delivered to the woodchip hopper which contains an agitator to make the fuel flow through an auger to the boiler’s furnace.

The EPIC building uses an integrated heating system in which several heat sources feed a buffer store . The biomass boiler is the main source of heat. Additional heat is collected through a solar water heating panel on the roof of the EPIC building. When it is very cold or large parts of the building need to be heated there are two small back up boilers  that can then be switched on by the building management system.

The biomass used in the EPIC heating system is wood chip produced locally from managed woodland. On average the EPIC Centre consumes approximately 150 tonnes a year. In the future the Lincolnshire Showground may produce its own woodchip from Short Rotation Coppiced willow grown on site. The Herz can be recalibrated to use wood pellets as an alternative fuel.

EPIC's Biomass boiler

For further information see www.ruralenergy.co.uk

Graphics are courtesy of www.herz-feuerung.com

Other general interest websites include: www.biomassenergycentre.org.uk  and www.nef.org.uk/logpile/index.htm

Operating experiences

The biomass boiler has proved a success. Its target performance was to to supply up to 80% of the heating needs of the EPIC Centre. However, given the extreme cold of the 2009 / 2010 and 2010 / 2011 winters, the back up heating systems have been worked quite hard as well and this target has yet to be achieved. There have been days when the heat requirement differential has been 0ver 30 C whilst the original system specification was for no more than 21 C. The main lesson learned has been that if the building’s thermal mass is used to store heat then the system will cope with fluctuations in demand very well. The team at EPIC have learned to hold their nerve and put a significant amount of background heat into the building even in periods of low heat heat demand.