Woodchip biomass and gas centre heats University of Northampton

A new biomass centre had been opened at the University of Northampton. The facility uses woodchip biomass and gas to provide hot water and low carbon heating to buildings around the University’s Waterside campus.

Renewable energy specialists Vital Energi worked closely with the University’s Project Management team to build the 1.5MW biomass powered energy centre. It will work as part of the newly completed 1.6km district heating network to distribute heat and hot water to 16 buildings around the campus.

The biomass scheme was designed with the intention of producing less emissions than traditional systems. It will lower carbon emissions by over 1,000 tonnes initially. Later this year, when the combined heat and power engine is added, carbon savings will increase again to 2,200 tonnes per year. According to a statement, this is equivalent to taking 431 cars off the road.

Mike Cooke, regional director at Vital Energi, commented, “Creating a renewable energy solution for a new city centre campus is an ambitious objective however the University have achieved this while demonstrating their commitment to sustainability. From the energy centres unique architecture and cladding, through to the LED screen on the flue shaft; creating a great example for industry.” 

As well as the biomass boiler, the new facility contains three 4MW gas boilers and a 120m3 thermal store.

Bob Griggs, Project Director at the University of Northampton said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to develop the University’s commitment to its sustainability agenda and environmental infrastructure has been a key factor in the planning and construction of the Waterside Campus. By working with Vital Energi we have a sustainable, future proof heating network which will service the campus well.”

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