College leads by example with biomass

28 Jul 2010

Derry-based green energy company Rural Generation has signed a contract with South West College in Omagh, Co Tyrone, which will save the college up to £25,000 on heat costs annually.

The college, which houses its own Renewable Energy Academy at the Omagh campus, has already been enjoying the benefits of renewable energy for four years. Its initial biomass boiler was installed when the new college was built in 2006 and supplied about 25pc of the building’s heat requirement.

South West College bought a second larger biomass boiler six months ago, which was installed by Rural Generation, and now up to 70pc of the college’s heat requirement is provided by biomass.

John Moore, curriculum manager, technology at South West College was on the team that was the main driving force behind the college’s investment in renewable energy technology.

He said: “Our boilers use approximately 350 tonnes of wood chip from short rotation coppice willow grown locally and they are very reliable. Our heat contract with Rural Generation works very well for us and we are very happy indeed with the savings we have made on heating costs.

“Using biomass energy has also helped us reduce the building’s carbon footprint, as our carbon dioxide savings are estimated to be over 400 tonnes per year, and is a good learning resource for our students, especially as we teach renewable technology at the college. It also of course provides a local market for biomass fuel.”

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