As part of the the University of York's £750 million expansion programme, a new biomass CHP district heating system was installed to provide heating and hor water to the existing Heslington West campus and the brand new Heslington East campus.
The new energy system will enable the University of York to generate heat and power more efficiently, fulfil its expanding energy requirements and meet its target to use 10 per cent renewable energy to power its campus. This target is included in the University’s renewable energy strategy which has been developed to help it cut 43 per cent of its carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 to meet the requirements of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
The biomass boiler was specifically designed to meet expected criteria for the new Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, which was under consultation at the start of the project, in order to maximise revenues for the University.
Work to upgrade the University of York’s existing Heslington West campus and construct the new Heslington East campus has been divided into four phases. Phase 1 comprised the installation of a multi-utility corridor from the existing Heslington West boiler house to the new Heslington East campus. This work included the installation of around 2km of district heating pipes, telecoms and fibre optic networks and a high voltage cable ring. It also included the supply and installation of high voltage and low voltage equipment into two electrical substations and pipework modifications to the existing Heslington West boiler house.
Phase 2 was essentially an extension of Phase 1 with an increased scope of works and also included the supply and installation of two gas-fired Combined Heat and Power (CHP) engines and a biomass boiler. The extension of the multi-utility corridor was completed in September 2012, the biomass boiler was installed in October 2012 and the CHP engines were completed in December 2012.
This phase of work also included the replacement of one of the University’s three old and inefficient boilers, currently housed in the University’s existing energy centre on the Heslington West campus, with two new gas-fired 1.5MW Combined Heat and Power engines and the installation of a containerised 850kW biomass boiler on a separate site close to the Heslington East campus car park. This will contribute around 7,000,000 kW/hr of thermal energy to the overall University demand per year and is capable of operating on both woodchip and wood pellet fuel types which can be locally-sourced.
Sustainably sourced biomass fuels processed within 25 miles of the point of use are currently regarded as being ‘carbon neutral’. The biomass boiler has been designed to be re-locatable so that over time it can be moved into the redeveloped central energy centre on the Heslington West campus. It will inject hot water into the district heating network to support the primary supply from the Heslington West central energy centre.