Island dreams

Island dreams

When a new heating system was required at a key council building on the Shetland islands, a cascade system of biomass boilers was seen as the ideal option.

Island dreams

The Shetland Islands Council, as the Harbour Authority, is responsible for the operation and management of every harbour, except Lerwick Harbour, in over 900 miles of coastline on the Isles. All marine operations are monitored and controlled from the Port Administration Building, which is crucial in the smooth running of council business. Windhager UK has been able to provide a heating system more suited to the council’s needs than the building’s original oil boilers, which were approaching 30 years old.
The initial scheme to upgrade the two existing 350kW oil boilers was changed due to the efficiency and cost savings offered by the Windhager solution. The oversized oil system has been replaced by a 180kW cascade system using three BioWIN boilers. This approach delivers a flexibility of heat output that perfectly suits the conditions of the Port Administration Building because major parts of the system are switched off at times throughout the heating season.
John Simpson from the Shetland Islands Council believes that this project is vitally important in assessing the suitability of biomass as an option for other council buildings.
“The Council’s Building and Transport Services managed this trial installation of three biomass boilers to supply the heating and hot water to buildings on the council’s Port Administration site. The objective of this trial is to assess how a biomass system performs in practice, the footprint involved, and the cost benefits to the council with the advent of the RHI scheme.
“Although the system has not yet been tested in cold weather, it has performed very well so far, and we look forward to it continuing to do so.”
The Windhager system includes a thermal buffer vessel, meaning that boiler capacity has been reduced from 700kW to 180kW.
Specified and installed by Ness Engineering, who are specialists in electrical, mechanical and building services, the Windhager boilers are set to considerably reduce energy costs for the Shetland Islands Council and improve its green credentials.
David Williamson of Ness Engineering believes that this installation highlights all of the benefits of biomass and can help the Shetland Island Council to move closer to its goal of reducing its high oil usage.
“It fulfils our client’s requirement to lower its carbon footprint and save money from its revenue budgets. We have provided a service to our client for many years and the working relationship we have built up has enabled our promotion of biomass to be taken seriously.
“The professional cost analysis provided showed in pounds and pence that biomass is the correct solution. Promotion of biomass in this installation will show over the coming years that biomass is a sustainable and economic solution for commercial heating systems in Shetland as well as in other remote locations.”
The Windhager cascade system is developed to maximise fuel efficiency, and each BioWIN boiler allows a metered and economical output through thermal controlled combustion technology. A patented flexible feed system supplies the pellets, which allows, if necessary, the position of the pellet storage room to be independent of the boiler room. The boilers are reliable and efficient with virtually no maintenance, and with long intervals between cleaning.