wood chip

LC Energy acquires Harvest Wood Fuels bulk pellet business

LC Energy, one of the region’s leading specialists in sustainable wood fuel supply, has announced its acquisition of Harvest Wood Fuels bulk pellet business, a top supplier of high grade wood pellets based in Tilford, Surrey.

LC Energy operates across the South and East of England with an established base of public, private and commercial sectors from primary schools and care homes to global hotel groups, leisure parks, hospitals and international airports. As well as developing a leading reputation for the supply of biomass wood fuel solutions – including design and feasibility, service and maintenance, LC Energy has been recognised for its policy of supplying wood chip fuel which is sustainably harvested and sourced locally.

Mark Lebus, managing director of LC Energy, said: “Harvest Wood Fuels has built a reputation for supplying sustainably sourced pellets to customers across the region, and this responsible approach chimes perfectly with ours. Additionally, their expertise in the bulk pellet market complements our experience and, in bringing the two companies together, we feel we will be able to grow the market for wood fuel energy across the board.

He added: “There is no doubt that this is a market with excellent potential. We’re already seeing a significant increase in the numbers of organisations and householders recognising the value of wood fuel energy, both for reducing their carbon footprint and lessening their reliance on fossil fuels.” Harvest Wood Fuels source their premium pellets from local producers who use local woodland management arisings as a raw material. Wood chip is used to fire boilers in industrial, commercial and some large residential applications but the carbon-neutral1 pellets are used in a variety of other heaters, including wood pellet boilers, existing hearths or solid fuel burners in private homes. Being more compact and requiring less storage space than wood chip fuel, the pellets are ideal for domestic use and in smaller buildings.

Richard Dunne, head teacher at Ashley Primary School in Walton on Thames, one of Harvest Wood Fuels’ longest standing customers, says: “We place sustainability at the centre of all that we do and this is why we chose a wood pellet boiler to heat our school. We have been very pleased with the service provided by Harvest Wood Fuels and the merging of their pellet business with LC Energy, together with the opportunities this will provide is really exciting.”

James Little, former MD of Harvest Wood Fuels and newly appointed head of business development at LC energy commented: “Our raw materials do not have to be transported far, reducing the carbon footprint and the cost of producing the fuel. It also provides much needed support to the local woodland industry of the Surrey Hills – one of the most beautiful and wooded parts of the UK.

“I am thrilled to be moving to LC Energy. We will have a tremendous opportunity to build and invest in the future of the pellet supply business. This is especially important in view of the expected introduction of the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for householders in summer 2013. Industrial and commercial customers already benefit from grants available through RHI.”

Mr Little added: “Our vision is to establish a sustainable local supply of wood pellets throughout the UK by setting up a network of small scale production plants at sawmills and other sources of raw material.”

Business entrepreneur, Lance Trevellyan who founded and sold Harvest Wood Fuels bulk pellet business to LC Energy, said: “The sale of Harvest Wood Fuels to LC Energy makes a lot of sense, and I look forward to seeing the two sides of the business flourish in this fledgling, but rapidly growing industry.” Mr Trevellyan has recently received planning permission at his Group’s Tilford site to develop a sawmill, a wood chip fired Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant and wood pellet production. The plant will generate both electricity and heat from wood chip to be used in the production of dry wood chip (a proportion of which will be used to fuel the CHP plant) and Grade A1 wood pellets for wholesale to LC Energy.

“This development fits perfectly with our ethos of supplying locally made wood pellets to local end users – we are very excited about the prospect of being able to purchase quality wood pellets, produced so close to our main customer base. ” said James Little.

-Ends-


Notes to editors

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1. Why is wood fuel better for the environment?

Biomass takes carbon out of the atmosphere while it is growing, and returns it as it is burned. If managed on a sustainable basis, biomass is harvested as part of a constantly replenished crop. This is either during woodland or arboricultural management or coppicing, or as part of a continuous programme of replanting with the new growth taking up CO2 from the atmosphere at the same time as it is released by combustion of the previous harvest. This maintains a closed carbon cycle with no net increase in atmospheric CO2 levels, sometimes referred to as ‘carbon neutral’.

2. What are the carbon costs of wood fuel?

All traditional fuel (excluding nuclear) releases carbon dioxide (CO2) when it is burned. However, the net CO2 released by burning sustainably produced wood is considerably less than the CO2 released when fossil fuels are burned as the following table shows: Net COemissions by fuel type

Fuel type:

Life cycle COemission

Wood

7 kg/MWh

Natural Gas

270 kg/MWh

Oil

350 kg/MWh

Coal

480 kg/MWh

Electricity

530 kg/MWh

 

In essence, CO2 is not saved by burning wood fuel – it is only saved by displacing the fossil fuel equivalent, and savings depend on what fuel is being displaced.

CO2 savings when wood is substituted for fossil fuels

 

 

Net CO2 released

CO2 Saved by substituting 1m3  of wood for fossil fuel

1 m3 of wood provides 2,500kWhrs of energy (when seasoned)

17.5kg

Fossil fuels delivering the same amount of energy

Natural Gas

675kg

657kg

Oil

875kg

857kg

Coal

1,200kg

1,182kg

Electric

1,325kg

1,307kg

To convert from CO2 saved to carbon you divide by 44 (the molecular weight of CO2) then multiply by 12 (the atomic weight of carbon).  So 1kg of CO2 would equate to 0.27 kg of carbon.

3. What are the cost advantages of wood fuels compared with other fuels?

Using a domestic home requiring about 15,000kWhrs of heat per year. At this rate, and at current average prices for usable heat, here are the costings:

Fuel type:

Cost p Per  KWhr

Cost Per Year

Electricity

15 p

£2,250

Oil

(based on 63 pence per litre and 10kWhrs per litre)

6.3 P

£945

Coal

5 p

£750

Mains Gas

4.8 p

£720

Wood Pellets

(based on £216 per tonne (loose bulk blown) and 4,800 kWhrs per tonne)

4.5 p

£720

Woodchip

3.5 p

£530

 

4.    What is the Renewable Heat Incentive?

The Renewable Heat Incentive is a financial incentive scheme for renewable heat generation that will help the UK reduce carbon emissions and hit its EU renewable energy targets.

Heat generated in accredited wood fuelled boiler installations after 15th July 2009 is eligible for incentive payments under the scheme. The scheme was introduced in November 2011 for non-domestic biomass boiler installations and is due to be introduced in summer 2012 for households.

Under the existing (non-domestic) scheme owners of biomass boilers are paid for metered heat over a twenty year period following approval from Ofgem.

Payments are index linked to the rate of inflation and are currently as follows:

•    Small biomass (less than 200kW) – 8.3p/ kWh up to 15% of peak load* (tier 1) and 2.1p/ kWh thereafter (tier 2).
•    Medium Biomass (200Kw to 999kW) – 5.1p/ kWh (tier 1) and 2.1p/ kWh (tier 2).
•    Large Biomass (1,000kW and above) – 1p / kWh

* Peak load is defined as 15% of the total hours in the year = 365 x 24 = 8,760 x 0.15 = 1,314 x boiler size (kW).

It is anticipated that domestic installation with be eligible from summer 2013, though the period of payment and tariff rates are currently under review.

 



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Wood Fuel Magazine 2016