The replacement of the degrading boiler system at the Welsh Wildlife Centre with a new biomass boiler has finally been completed. The Austrian ‘Guntamatic Powerchip 50’ biomass boiler was installed by TRECO, a UK company, and was commissioned in the middle of October. This boiler was chosen for to its ability to utilise a variety of fuel sources such as woodchip, grain, pellets and more importantly, common reed.
Teifi Marshes has large expanses of common reed covering most of the reserve. This habitat is managed on an annual basis through a regime of reed cuts which helps to remove the build-up of dead matter from the site and prevent the reedbed from drying out. It also promotes new fresh growth. As added benefits, it provides material to help support the business of one of Wales’ Master Thatchers and now also supplies biomass which can be chipped to utilise in the biomass boiler. The boiler will also run on woodchip coming from local reserve management arising’s although the majority will have to be bought in. None-the-less, this is a far cheaper alternative to the LPG that was used before.
Nathan Walton, Wildlife Trust Officer for Pembrokeshire and project manager for the installation of the boiler, stated: "After much research and development and support from the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park’s Sustainability Development Fund, I am extremely pleased to see the boiler up and running. To be able to utilise biomass from various nature reserve management regimes is a great step to becoming more sustainable as a organisation and promoting the use of renewable energy to the wider public."
The boiler has been a huge financial investment for the Wildlife Trust yet it goes some way to meet our commitments to implementing renewable energy in our visitor centres and offices. We are now also able to claim the Renewable Heat Incentive which is a feed in tariff provided by the government for every unit of energy we produce. It is estimated that, all being well, we should have paid off the cost of the boiler by 2025.