Benefiting from biomass

Glen Tanar Estate

Glen Tanar Estate in Royal Deeside is managed by owners Michael and Claire Bruce alongside a team of skilled staff. Always keen to embrace more environmentally friendly ways of doing things, Michael Bruce set himself the challenge of reducing the estate’s reliance on fossil fuels. Posing the question how many fuel miles is too many, Glen Tanar estate can now boast of fewer than 2 fuel miles for the running of their biomass plant – pretty impressive stuff!

The biomass system was installed in April 2015, and has reduced the estate’s reliance on oil and electricity by over 60%.

The heating system itself is powered by two Biotech 190 kilowatt kW boilers, totalling 380 kilowatts. It is a medium sized scheme for RHI. The heat is distributed to 15 properties through a district heating (pipe) network. The estate is registered on the UK Biomass Suppliers List and Forestry Stewardship Council group member, an independent quality assurance scheme.

The biomass comes from woods on the estate cut to small Roundwood sizes. It is then stacked to dry in sunny windy locations near to access tracks, for up to 2 years before being transported to an old cattle court. It’s then chipped and stored in the cattle court before being transported to the biomass hopper next to the boiler and burned. In the winter the hopper needs to be filled every two weeks in the summer it may only need to be filled every 4 – 6 weeks.

The tenants in the houses are charged a fixed fee for their heating, while the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property is used as an independent guide to set the fee for heat. In general the tenants are paying 40% less per kW/hour than they were on electricity before, which is a massive saving all-round.

Commenting on the changes, owner Michael Bruce said: “I am delighted to have reduced the carbon footprint of the estate so significantly with such a small change. We are saving our tenants money in their energy bills, as well as reducing our own costs. Having such a low number of fuel miles does make me smile – I wonder if we can be beaten?”