River Cottage goes for sustainable biomass heating2River Cottage has rebuilt its damaged buildings after a devastating fire in early 2012, choosing a Windhager biomass wood pellet boiler as the form of sustainable heating. The famous property near Axminster in Devon is well known for its promotion of environmentally friendly living, endorsed by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

West Dorset based installers, A P Chant, were chosen to install a Windhager BioWIN Excel 60 kW pellet boiler, which will provide heating for the main farmhouse and the newly renovated barn via circulation pumping.

The fire gutted the 17th Century barn that housed the River Cottage cookery school and provided event space. Since being rebuilt River Cottage has further endorsed its ethos of sustainable living by choosing a biomass heating system. With many buildings and relatively open spaces to heat, an efficient and reliable system was vital to ensure the smooth running of the site’s busy schedule while keeping costs and carbon output as low as possible.

Having had less than desirable previous experience of a poorly optimised biomass system, River Cottage HQ had strict criteria to be filled by the successful applicant. Windhager’s excellent reputation for high quality engineering and fully automated systems combined with A P Chant’s extensive experience in biomass installations resulted in them being awarded the contract.

A Windhager BioWIN Excel wood pellet boiler was installed in the newly built plant room, which utilised the footprint of existing farm buildings to incorporate a bespoke wood pellet storage hopper. An accumulator tank is also situated within the plant room to increase the boiler’s efficiency by storing large volumes of primary heating water for long periods.

The heating and hot water is supplied to the main house and renovated barn via underground heat main, an insulated underground pipe system to minimise heat loss when transferring hot water from the accumulator tank which in turn helps to maximise the non-domestic RHI payments the business will receive.

The low maintenance required of the BioWIN Excel due to its fully automated system is another reason Windhager was specified for the project. A fully automated cleaning technology ensures the burner bowl is kept clear of ash and the automatic pellet feed means there is no manual aspect to the day to day running of the biomass system. A Modular Energy System (MES) control solution ensures the complete Windhager system operates to its maximum efficiency with features such as advanced weather control and the ability to operate 10 separate heating circuits from a single master controller.

Picture: The famous River Cottage, owned by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall, is benefiting from an energy efficient and environmentally friendly heating system after having a Windhager BioWIN Excel wood pellet boiler installed to heat the farmhouse and cookery school.