Poultry Farm gains healthy returns from installing wood chip biomass boiler
Steart Farms Ltd is a broiler chicken farm spread over three sites. The farm has a total of nine purpose built broiler poultry houses for rearing chickens for meat production. The birds are introduced to the poultry houses as day old chicks and harvested at approximately 6-7 weeks of age. Steart Farm grow 840,000 birds annually.
Woodpecker Energy Ltd worked in partnership with moleenergy,the renewables division of Mole Valley Farmers, to design and install a bespoke Biomass Heating Solution for Steart Farm. The biomass solution will be installed in 3 phases. Phase one was completed in August 2012.
"The financial return of using biomass heating, via the Renewable Heat Incentive, was a key driver in our decision to have the Woodpecker Blaze system installed. We will also save around 50% on fuel costs per year.
Using biomass means we can improve the atmosphere and condition of the poultry houses. The cost of using more heat is no longer prohibitive – in fact it generates more income for us. This means we can use additional heat to benefit our crops. If we dry the sheds out after each crop the process of disinfecting is much more effective. We can also improve the atmosphere of the sheds by pre-heating them before introducing the chicks. We usually switch the heating off after 4 weeks but additional background heat during the cycle will help maintain the condition and quality of the bedding litter." Mr Darch, Steart Farm.
After a thorough survey of Steart Farm, Woodpecker Energy specified a Woodpecker Blaze 199kW Wood Chip boiler solution to deliver space heating for two 10,000 square foot poultry houses and a residential bungalow.
The supply of heat to the poultry houses is critical for the survival and growth of the crops of birds. Target temperatures range between 90F and 70F depending on the age of the birds. Although the heating of the poultry houses is usually turned off at about three weeks Steart Farms specified that it would be a great advantage to continue with a background level of heating longer into the growing cycle, as this could substantially improve both the atmosphere and condition of the bedding litter inside the sheds.
The system design was completed by Woodpecker's in house design team to the specific customer requirements. The Woodpecker Blaze is fuelled by wood chips stored in a purpose built chip store with an agitator and transferred to the boiler via an auger system. The two poultry houses are then connected to the biomass system via underground heat main. The pipework, control system and power cabling were installed by Woodpecker to give a fully automated system. Woodpecker Energy also installed a Hoval oil boiler as a back-up system and for use as a 'top up' if required for peak demand.