Gilmour & Aitken Ltd, Scotland
500kW woodchip boiler
Gilmour and Aitken is a family run timber merchant established in 1852. The company specialises in joinery hardwood for the UK market and heavy constructional hardwood for marine and civil engineering projects. They also have a trade centre on site which supplies timber related products to local small businesses and the public.
Dunster was contacted to determine the feasibility of installing a biomass boiler to replace the mains gas boiler heating the drying kilns and to provide heat to the offices, yard bothies and trade centre areas. Timber drying via kilns is a fundamental, but energy intensive, process in the preparation of timber for sale and the company aim was to become self-sufficient in heating fuel by using slab wood offcuts from timber processing. Dunster was quickly able to propose a biomass scheme to fulfil this ambition and provided a ‘one stop shop’, not only undertaking all the boiler and pipework installation, but project managing the associated joinery and building work and advising on RHI qualification and application. Dunster was chosen to deliver the project due to the professional, fully inclusive, nature of their quote and their ability to install the boiler within a tight timeframe.
Fuel supply and chip handling
Offcuts from timber processing are chipped periodically by a contractor into a bulk chip store situated adjacent to the hopper and plant room. A telehandler with bucket is used to transfer chips as required from the bulk store to the hopper.
System design and installation
Dunster designed a heat distribution system which minimised disruption to the ongoing business but provides enhanced heating for the offices, meeting rooms and trade centre. The mains gas boiler has been retained as an automatic back-up system for the kilns providing a welcome level of redundancy which was not available in the past. The 15,000 litre Galu thermal store allows the biomass boiler to operate at peak efficiency even when demand is low in the summer or when the kilns or off.
Not only does the company benefit from substantial CO2 savings and a return on investment of around 20% but, instead of arranging to dispose of timbers slabs, they have become a valuable fuel resource. The project has also resulted in improved heating of the offices whilst the addition of heating in the trade centre allows long term storage of building products such as plaster board which used to deteriorate rapidly in the cold and damp conditions.
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