Highland Energy Supply Co

Procuring Fuel and Fuel Types

The size of the system is a large factor in procurement. Some schemes are able to run based on wind fall from local landowners or the by-products of businesses eg wood manufacturing, waste recycling and local tree surgeons etc. Larger schemes can require multiple 26 tonne truck deliveries per day, which calls for a much more detailed procurement strategy.

There are a number of issues which impact on a scheme’s success and some of these are listed below:

  • Fuel Types – We can advise on the cost, availability and reliability of a range of fuel types and have experience choosing the right one to meet with each project:
    • Virgin Wood – (Wood chip and wood pellet)
    • Recycled Wood
    • Energy Crops
    • Agricultural Residues
    • Industrial Waste
  • Quality – Poor quality biomass fuel will reduce both the environmental and financial efficiency of the system. The main areas of concern are: moisture/wet content and contamination; the size of the wood chip; and the amount of bark included. Each of these factors can have a substantial effect on overall performance.
  • Moisture Content – This can have a huge impact on the efficiency of a system as moisture contributes to the weight of the product when it is purchased, but when burned, does not contribute to efficiency. On a recent installation we saw that reducing the moisture content of the woodchip by 8% generated almost 40 tonnes of additional CO2 savings each year.
  • Storage – Biomass material can decompose, take on more moisture and become contaminated. Correct storage is as important as any other consideration when it comes to fuel procurement as even the best quality fuel can become compromised if this essential step of the process is mishandled.
  • Location – One of the reasons for the success of biomass in areas such as Scotland, as opposed to large cities like London, is the proximity to biomass material and forestry in particular. The transport of biomass generates CO2 and this reduces the overall carbon savings. It is regarded as good practice to procure biomass from within a 50 mile radius where possible.
  • BSL and Woodsure Accreditation – Our wood fuel suppliers are companies within our group and this ensures that we only purchase fuel from suppliers that are fully compliant with all biomass wood fuel regulations.

Fuel Suppliers

In order to ensure our Biomass District Heating Customers receive only the highest quality Biomass woodchip fuel, we have our own woodchip fuel supply companies with woodchip drying plants at Central Woodchip Co in Irvine covering the central belt and Ayrshire and Highland Woodchip Co in Grantown-on-Spey covering the Scottish Highlands down to Perth. To meet with demand, we have 5MW Herz Biomass boilers in operation over these two sites ensuring that we have premium quality dried biomass wood fuel for all of our sites

Both plants are dedicated to producing and supplying top quality woodchip fuel. We are a BSL registered and Woodsure accredited with full RHI compliance.

Below are some pictures of our woodchip drying plants that supply all our District Heating Networks.

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