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Biomass energy production to triple for £100m housing project

An energy management firm is to expand its biomass energy centre to heat 500 homes at a low-carbon development in Derwenthorpe, York.

Dalkia has signed a 25-year agreement with the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust to supply renewable heating and hot water.

There are currently 64 homes at the site and this will grow to 500 homes once completed.

Existing homes receive heat and hot water from a communal heating system that already heavily relies on biomass for heat generation.

The development, expected to be completed in 2019, will triple biomass energy production and reduce reliance on gas.

Owen Daggett, sustainability manager at the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, said: “The plant is located in the centre of the development and will be supplied by deliveries of wood chip up to twice a week during the winter months once all the houses have been built.

“The biomass heating plant is an integral part of this master plan and in line with the project’s green ambitions. Because Dalkia supplies heat from biomass fuel, we are making CO2 savings of over 60% compared with burning natural gas.”

Heat is currently generated by one 320kW biomass boiler and by two 640kW natural gas boilers. The biomass boiler is fuelled by wood chip that Dalkia sources internally whereas the gas boilers serve as an emergency backup and for heat top-ups when demand exceeds the biomass heat capacity.

Jason Clarke, project development manager at Dalkia, said that over the next six years the company will add a second biomass boiler to create a total biomass heat capacity of 990kW and these boilers are expected to use 18 tonnes of wood chip weekly.

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