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Conservation charity funds U.K. biomass thermal pilots

By Erin Voegele | April 18, 2013

A U.K.-based conservation charity, the National Trust, is investing £3.5 million ($5.35 million)in five pilot products as a part of a plant to provide clean energy to 43 historic properties. The plan is being carried out in conjunction with renewable power supplier Good Energy.

One of the biomass pilot products will be located at Croft Castle near Leominster, where a 150 kW biomass boiler will supply 74 percent of the property’s heating needs. The second biomass pilot is located at Ickworth, a historical country estate located near Bury St. Edmunds. The Ickworth pilot consists of a 300 kW biomass boiler that supplies 100 percent of the estate’s heating needs. Other pilot projects include a 300 kW marine source heat pump, 100 kW hydro generation and a 90 kW hydro-electric project.

If the pilot projects prove successful, the National Trust said it expects to spend approximately £35 million to install 38 additional renewable energy projects, with the goal of generating 50 percent of its energy from energy from renewable resources by 2020. That investment is projected to save the Natural Trust more than £4 million each year on energy costs.

The National Trust currently spends nearly £6 million per year to provide heat and power to its 300 major historic houses, as well as its office buildings and 360 holiday cottages.