Institute for Manufacturing, Cambridge

Institute for Manufacturing, Cambridge

Client: Clean Room Construction
Type of works: supplied a wood pellet Herz BioMatic 220 kW

When the Institute for Manufacturing decided to relocate to the new University of Cambridge site in 2008, the objective to provide heating from a biomass boiler was a key requirement.

The IFM's new home is the Alan Reece building, which forms a centre for research excellence and a hub for the rapid conversion of ideas into products and services. The building provides teaching and research facilities, a design studio and industrial systems workshops.

At building design stage, it was soon realised that the optimum location for the boiler was up on the third level, so a plant room was located on the roof.

As always, fuel supply was a consideration. Space, location and ease of unsupervised use were criteria that led to wood pellets being the obvious choice.

Despite the unusual request to house the fuel store on the roof, Rural Energy rose to the design challenge. Working closely with client "Clean Room Construction", and with support from their fuel supply partner "English Wood Fuels", Rural Energy devised the installation of a free standing weather proof storage hopper with automatic feed to the boiler.

This means pellets are air blown from a bulk delivery vehicle, parked as near as practical, and travel around 26 metres up to the roof storage, with much of the distance being vertical.

Two water storage tanks, each at 1500 litres, act as a buffer and ensure the biomass boiler runs efficiently, and the auxiliary 172 kW gas boiler is used only at peak load.

Another unusual requirement was for the ash from the biomass boiler to be automatically ejected at third floor level and conveyed to the ground floor for disposal. Modern biomass boilers are so efficient that they generate small amounts of ash, but in this case, the removal to ground floor maintained a clean environment around the boiler, and positioned the ash bin in a convenient location for ash disposal.

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