Starbank uses waste wood to heat new factory

Project Overview

When Starbank Panel Products set out to create a new factory, a sustainable approach quickly became a key objective, this included the supply and use of heating and hot water.

Decorative panel specialists Starbank Panel Products is a family run business and have established a reputation for making high quality crafted wood, solid surface and plastic products throughout its 40 year history. As part of its successful company development, Starbank has invested £4M in a new factory which covers some 116,000 sq ft and includes new machinery, equipment and dispatch areas.

Keen to recycle a larger volume of waste material from its production facility and to reduce CO2 emissions across the site, Starbank looked toward biomass renewable energy to achieve its targets.

Viessmann biomass boiler plant room

The central point of the new factory is a Viessmann biomass boiler plant room, which includes wood storage, transfer, burning and supplying hot water to the complete facility. Utilising 1,000 tonnes of waste wood produced each year, the factory-produced wood off cuts and dust, is chipped and then stored as it is fed directly into the silo.

Constructed from concrete sections and towering 16m tall, the wood storage silo has a capacity of 900 cubic metres and is sufficient to provide Starbank with heat throughout the entire winter period. Storing through the summer will enable Starbank to maximise wood usage in the biomass boiler, which will burn 35 tonnes per week during the winter months.

Wood chips and dust are transferred automatically to a distribution section within the boiler house that feeds the boiler – a Vitoflex 300 – that is capable of providing 160,000kW hours per week of heat. The biomass boiler is automatically controlled by a flat moving grate with
water cooling that’s designed specifically for use with dry materials such as MDF, chipboard and melaminecovered boards.

Oxygen control to govern the combustion process

Oxygen control is used to govern the combustion process and in the Vitoflex 300 that extends to control of two sections of combustion, as well as recirculation and mixing of the flue gases with primary and secondary air to lower nitrous oxide emissions. The flue gases are passed through two sections – first a multi-cyclone that takes out the larger particles, and then on to an electrostatic filter that removes even smaller particles before emitting to the atmosphere. Each section has ash bin collection on the underside of each unit so dust can be removed easily.

The biomass installation is backed up by a three-pass Viessmann Vitomax 300 gas boiler that provides a full 1.8 MW capacity heating system. The hot water from both the biomass and gas boiler is pumped into a low loss distribution header from where it is circulated to
heaters throughout the factory production area, with different zones within the factory that can be adjusted independently via thermostatic controls.

In the roof area of the factory are stratification fans which circulate the warm air, sending it from the high sections of the building to the lower areas to ensure a more constant working temperature throughout the factory.

The development of the site has also included installing 1000 solar photovoltaic panels which will provide 65-70% of the required electricity and a new voltage loss optimisation substation to improve overall electric usage.

John McCaffrey, Business Development Manager at Starbank commented, “for such a significant investment we are already seeing great benefits, not simply financial but because environmentally it’s the right thing to do in maintaining an efficient system of waste removal
and energy recovery. We would highly recommend the system and its impressive installation speed and quality.”

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