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£25m Guardbridge Project heats up with arrival of 130-tonne biomass boiler

The £25 million Guardbridge Energy Project in Scotland moved a step closer to completion when the Vital Energi project team took delivery of a 6.5MW biomass boiler furnace.

The furnace made the 1,300 mile journey from Sweden, where it was manufactured at Jernforsen’s facility in the remote town of Järnforsen.

The biomass boiler and furnace is 10m high, will weigh more than 130 tonnes with fuel when operational, and it is capable of generating heat above 1,000°C.

It will be used to generate high temperature flue gases, which pass through an exhaust gas heat exchanger, generating medium temperature hot water (MTHW) within the energy centre. 

The MTHW passes through a system of heat exchangers generating low temperature hot water (LTHW), which will be pumped through a district heating network to the University of St. Andrews’ North Haugh campus, where it will deliver heat and hot water for the next 50 years.

When completed, the project will deliver approximately 6,000 tonnes of CO2 reduction per annum.

The use of LTHW minimises system losses and operational construction costs of the heat network, which is designed to operate at pressures in excess of 16 bar.

Regional Director for Vital Energi, Mike Cooke, commented: “I believe that this is one of the most exciting energy projects in the whole of the UK and the scale of the network, the carbon savings generated, and the benefits to the local community make it unique.

“The biomass boiler will be the heart of this energy solution, using up to 17,000 tonnes of locally sourced wood to deliver greener, more affordable heat and hot water to the University’s buildings.”

The Guardbridge Energy Scheme is a 75-week project, which sees Vital Energi retrofit a state-of-the-art energy centre into the former paper mill alongside a 14 mile district heating network that will connect to 37 buildings and plant rooms.

The boiler can produce heat in excess of 8MW and will achieve 87% efficiency at full load conditions.