‘For a safer, cleaner society’: Manchester firm need your help to get biomass boilers pumping out clean energy

An energy revolution has been taking place across the North West and a Whitefield-based firm are at the forefront as they have mastered turning landfill waste into ‘clean and safe’ renewable energy.

Biomass Energy Coop formed in 2012 and hold the rights to the multi-fuel biomass boiler range, Multibio.

The boilers utilise waste that would otherwise be sent to landfill and covert it into useful green energy, thereby reducing industry transport costs and CO2 and methane emissions.

Managing Director Ricky Davies, 50, had been working as management at a golf club when he noticed a gap in the market.

ENERGY REVOLUTION: The biomass boilers convert what would be landfill waste into renewable energy

He told MM: “I thought to myself it would be a good idea if we could use the waste that came off the golf course such as grass, the cuttings and the wood and put it into a boiler because I knew about biomass.

“It led me on a path to think about what other waste and things that are lying rotting away could be used productively in biomass – solutions that didn’t involve shipping and fetching wood pellets half way across the world.

“From there on, we began looking at what possible biomass boilers there were that could burn things other than wood.

“Mersey forest, a subsidiary of the forestry commission told us about a boiler that had taken the biomass industry by storm because it could utilise waste products in a way that other boilers couldn’t do.

“When we tried to get hold of it in the UK, we realised that there wasn’t a UK distributor – so we went over to the Czech Republic and came back with the UK rights.

“We were in the right place at the right time and we were prepared to try and look for a solution that other people hadn’t even thought of, which is the idea of burning waste streams in biomass boilers.”

Biomass is a renewable source of fuel whereby heat energy is generated from organic materials and is relatively young as a concept in the UK.

Multibio became the first boiler in the UK to be listed under the Clean Air Act as a multi-fuel boiler enabling its use in UK cities.

The Multibio team are registered and qualified and now renowned biomass boilers fitters.

Ricky explained: “It was necessary to build a team around me of engineers and competent people who knew about biomass, heating, technical engineering elements of the work.

“We had an idea but you’ve got to be technically competent to put that idea to the market.”

The company are now looking to Crowdfunder to raise £50,000, which will help them demonstrate that their complete boiler range can meet the legal requirements of the Clean Air Act legislation using a variety of different biofuel materials.

FIRST OF ITS KIND: Multibio became the first boiler in the UK to be listed under the Clean Air Act

They are offering up community shares, available to be bought worldwide and enabling the shareholder to become a member of the society and have equal voting rights at general meetings.

“The first thing anybody wants to know is does it work and we know it works, we just need to get the certification now.

“We want to make a safer, cleaner society and we feel that more can be achieved better from green energy solutions.

“We believe that we can do that by reducing transport costs and improving the air quality immediately around cities by reducing the amount of trucks that are going in and out to cart waste away.

“There’s lots of industries that require heat and there’s lots of industry and farms that have raw materials on site that they can use to provide that heat and therefore provide a very low carbon, a very efficient and financially viable way of replacing the cost of fossil fuels,” Ricky added.

Biomass Energy Coop is part of the cooperative group and was able to develop the business with a grant from the Big Potential Lottery Fund.

The company is a community benefit society meaning any profits are reinvested into the business or go on to serve the community.

Ricky’s career in the management of buildings had made him aware of the cost of heating and boilers in buildings.

Using government subsidies such as the Renewable Heat Incentive subsidy, means people can use the boiler for their energy use and receive a subsidy for doing it.

“There’s a saving of at least a third on people’s energy bills and where the larger buildings are concerned that becomes significant sums.

“The vast majority of our installations are in community buildings, anything from sports clubs to parish and church and community organisations.

“In a broader environmental sense, we’re assisting the community and finally we want to create skilled jobs for people, so the cooperative model and community businesses we feel give the best chance of doing that,” Ricky said.

With its portability and its application to be able to burn fuel locally, there are many future utilisations for the Multibio boiler.

DISASTER RELIEF: The boilers could be used to produce heat and hot water in the wake of natural disasters using wood waste

Ricky told MM: “We want to develop these boilers for use at festivals using the woody and paper waste and things like leaflets and catering vans and feed that into a boiler on site that will produce heat and hot water.

“The same principle can be used in disaster relief using fuel from the immediate area – woody waste or even waste streams from the camp itself.

“Biomass boilers have got a good capability of being a safe and portable means of making a lot of hot water and heat quite quickly.

“In refugee camps, one of the first things they need is heat and sanitation which is provided by hot water and there are plenty of fuel sources immediately around if you can utilise them.

“It’s not like having to ship tonnes and tonnes of diesel in or heating oil – it’s a much more viable solution.

“From that point of view I can see it building very much – we feel very confident of the commercial viability of this product because it’s flexible it’s portable and it’s green.”

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