Wood energy boiler for seaweed plant

Biomass heating specialist, Wood Energy has extended its reach to the furthest shores of the UK, with the installation of a 999kW Binder wood chip boiler, at a unique Outer Hebridean production plant.


Hitched to a drying mill at a ‘state of the art’ Uist Asco production facility on North Uist Island, the fully automatic boiler uses timber from the company’s own renewable supply to process Knotted Wrack (Ascophyllum nodosum) seaweed, freshly harvested from the shores of the island, into feedstuffs and organic fertilizer for the agricultural sector.


It is estimated that around six million tonnes of wood is wasted by being sent to landfill in the UK each year and that the forestry industry wastes enough biomass annually to heat 1,500,000 homes.  But the highly efficient and robust Binder unit – which has a low ash residue and the capability to burn fuel with moisture content of up to 55% (the same as a freshly felled tree) – will allow Asco to make full use of even the very low grade brash and branch wood material recovered from its sustainable forestry operations.


Uist Asco Managing Director Raghnall MacIain explained: “We are unique in the UK because of the low carbon method we use to dry the hand-harvested seaweed.  Our plant is the culmination of five years’ work and Wood Energy worked closely with us to make sure we got the unit that would best suit our needs. We have our own 720ha of coniferous forest, which my father originally planted over twenty years ago; and last year alone we planted an additional 5,000 trees.  This produces over 1,500 tonnes of wood chip for us each year. The Binder is remarkable and can reduce tonnes of wood to mere handfuls of ash, so we have a low amount of waste; and, because we don’t use traditional fossil fuels, we are able to compete on price and quality and operate a carbon neutral system.  We are proud to be a totally local, sustainable ‘organic’ operation.”


Wood Energy offers a variety of wood chip, wood pellet and log boiler systems, ranging in size from 9kW to 10MW.  Applications are for commercial, industrial, public sector, agricultural and domestic buildings of all sizes and almost all temperature ranges including steam and thermal oil.   The company’s in-house installation team has delivered over 100,000kW of medium and large-sized projects across the UK and has the exclusive UK market rights for Binder and Hargassner biomass boilers – both made in Austria and acknowledged for their high quality, controllability, efficiency and longevity.


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