Shetland Isles councilWhen the Shetland Islands Council needed to upgrade the heating system in its Port Administration Building on Sella Ness, biomass proved the most cost effective solution. Windhager UK has provided a highly efficient wood pellet boiler system to heat the workshop areas of the building, increasing the comfort of users and considerably reducing energy costs. The solution is the most Northerly installation of a biomass plant servicing the heating requirements of a building in the UK.

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, a market leader in biomass and heating solutions, 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 The oversized oil system has been replaced by a 180kW cascade system using three BioWIN boilers, which has a flexibility of heat output that perfectly suits the conditions of the Port Administration Building, where major parts of the system are switched off at times throughout the heating season.

John Simpson from the Shetland Islands Council explains the importance of this project 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.” The Windhager system includes a thermal buffer vessel, meaning that boiler capacity has been reduced from 700kW to 180kW. John Simpson continues: “Although the system has not yet been tested in cold weather, to-date it has performed very well, and we look forward to it continuing to do so.”

Specified and installed by Ness Engineering, specialists in electrical, mechanical and building services, the Windhager boilers are set to considerably reduce energy costs for the Shetland Island Council and improve its green credentials. David Williamson of Ness Engineering comments: “We believe this installation highlights the benefits of biomass from all angles. 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 move to biomass in the Port Administration Building is another step for the Shetland Island Council in reducing its high oil usage. David Williamson continues, “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.

Available in outputs of 35kW, 45kW, and 60kW and in cascade versions of up to 240kW, the high output BioWIN is the ideal heating solution for large buildings, hotels, schools, public buildings, apartment blocks, care homes and district heating systems. The BioWIN system is both versatile and flexible, equipped for use with other systems. It is also available as a pre-packaged plant room, BioCabin, for a total turn key solution for an energy efficient renewable heating solution.