Monitoring technology also enables thorough data collection, such as exhaust temperature and composition, rest-oxygen linked with the supply air, combustion chamber temperature and hydraulic aggregates. Control systems are available to link with back-up gas or oil-fired boilers.
Monitoring data enables a boiler manager to fine-tune and optimise the behaviour of a biomass boiler depending on loads, the weather or changes in the type of fuel. Data can also be mined for energy reports.
Purchasing most of the key boiler components (including the controls) from a single supplier can deliver clear advantages, not only in product sourcing, installation and commissioning, but also in having a single point of contact. That person' s task will be to lead the entire process from initial briefing through to design, construction and initial operation, preferably with a period of fine-tuning to match the boiler's operating characteristics to the users' requirements.
Only the boiler manufacturer will have in-depth knowledge of the product, and the one most likely to understand any faults and reduce downtime.
A specialist supplier should not present a standard load and exhaust test report to a potential client. They should be able to demonstrate the performance of their system by reference to similar projects, using similar boiler plant, fuel composition and emission characteristics.
Funding for biomass boilers is available from DEFRA (click here for details). A five-year biomass capital-grant scheme was announced in 2006 in the Climate Change Programme Review. The aim of this scheme is to support the installation of biomass-fuelled heating and combined heat and power projects in the industrial, commercial and community sectors in England.
Capital grants will be awarded towards the cost of the heat or combined heat and power equipment. There will be a variable rate up to a maximum of 40% of the difference in cost compared with installation of a fossil-fuel alternative. The minimum grant will be £25,000 and the maximum single award will be £1 million.
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BSRIA provides independent consultancy for energy efficiency including the feasibility and application of renewable technologies, as well as market intelligence and testing and certification of renewable products and systems.
BSRIA has also published an Illustrated Guide to Renewable Technologies BG1/2008 and runs an Introduction to renewables training course.
Part two of this article will address commissioning and operational issues.