Forestry Commission backs region's biggest woodfuel project

by Search Gate staff. Published Tue 19 Jan 2010 21:49
Campus has drastically cut its carbon footprint

A Christian holiday centre and bible school has become the first and largest organisation of its kind in Lancashire to switch its energy supply to woodfuel and take a step closer to becoming totally environmentally friendly.

Capernwray Hall, at Carnforth in north Lancashire, attracts more than 250 students and 2,000 holiday guests each year, and has been backed by the Forestry Commission to think green to switch to this cleaner, more efficient and renewable energy source.

The Commission is driving forward the development of woodfuel in England, to increase the output of wood by two million tonnes each year by 2020, enough to supply 250,000 more homes with energy.

Capernwray utilises its own woodland in helping to fuel a woodchip boiler, which provides the heating and hot water source for the whole campus, including accommodation areas, dining room, kitchens, sports hall and swimming pool.

Peter Fox, Woodfuel Officer for the Forestry Commission, says:

"There is huge potential to increase the use of woodfuel using wood from Lancashire's undermanaged woodlands. Well managed woodlands can benefit the local economy by creating and supporting jobs in the woodfuel supply chain. They also provide increased biodiversity benefits and a renewable source of carbon lean fuel.

"The Capernwray scheme is a perfect model of how woodfuel can provide financial and carbon savings and will hopefully encourage others to follow.

"It is just one of several schemes that the Forestry Commission has supported in the past year in North West England, injecting over £1.4m in grants to regenerate woodlands and to boost the local economy."

As well as the annual fuel cost savings, the campus has drastically cut its carbon footprint by 367 tonnes a year. And it is anticipated that Capernwray's present forestry plantations can provide 34 tonnes of timber per year for the woodfuel system over the next ten years.

There are 12 hectares of woodland on the Capernwray estate and in addition to the local timber supply, the estate operation includes a working farm, which provides the labour, material and buildings necessary for the woodfuel that the system uses.

The majority of the woodfuel project work was carried out by Capernwray's own workforce, from heating design through boiler construction, installation of pipework and much of the internal control systems.

It involved replacing the oil boilers and renewing flues through the old building and after allowing for the grants obtained, it should take less than five years for the scheme to pay for itself with the savings on heating costs.

Phil Burt from Capernwray Hall, added: "The boiler and the whole new heating system is proving to be an excellent investment in terms of both cost and efficiency.

"We entered into this project with some trepidation, unsure of how it would work out, but results have shown that our decision was right.

"We did consider all other 'green' options before making our choice. In the end, our final decision in plumping for woodfuel was influenced by the amount of wood we can source from our own land, the cost, control of our own heat source and the environmental aspect."

The added advantage of community-based schemes like Capernwray is that local residents and visitors are fully involved in the estate's timber production. It is hoped that the scheme encourages other organisation's to consider the environmental, economic and social benefits of using local wood to produce renewable energy.

It is anticipated that further business opportunities may be created in the local area by supplying chip to local users or hiring equipment plus operator to others.



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Comments about Forestry Commission backs region's biggest woodfuel project

please sir can you please give me a detailed information about fuel wood marketing in the world. and a world wide definition on fuel wood.
owusu ansah kwasi, ghana around 2 years, 8 months ago


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