At an event at the Bedfordshire campus recently, Gareth Ellis, Cranfield’s Energy & Environment Manager, along with colleagues Sam Engineer and Steve Shotter, explained how the biomass boiler, has delivered over two million kWh of heat across the University. The biomass is woodchip sourced by LC Energy, a supplier of sustainable wood fuel. A key part of the project is to eventually encourage local wood fuel supply within the new Marston Vale Forest close to where the University is located.

As well as heating the University in an environmentally-friendly way, the biomass boiler provides opportunities for energy and environment students at Cranfield to learn more about the technology and to see first-hand how it works.

The project has received support from HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) and is registered as part of the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, the world’s first long-term financial support programme for renewable heat.

Gareth Ellis commented: “We were delighted to welcome colleagues from other Universities, local authorities and organisations to learn about the impact our new biomass boiler has had. It’s great that our commitment to being environmentally-friendly is being publically supported through the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.”

The 960kW boiler, manufactured by Compte, was installed last year by Flogas Renewables. When the woodchip arrives on campus, it is measured for moisture and fed from the store into the boiler where the heat is generated. 

Woodchip for Cranfield's biomass boiler

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

Environment and Agrifood at Cranfield

For the past 50 years, Cranfield has been contributing to enhancing natural capital and ensuring that global food systems are more resilient for the future. We are recognised worldwide by industry, government and academe for our research and teaching in plants, soil, water and air.

We believe that environmental problems can be alleviated through technological innovation and risk management.

Cranfield is a key partner in two of the four UK Government-sponsored Agri-tech Centres – Agri-Epi (Agricultural Engineering Precision Innovation Centre) and CHaP (Crop Health and Protection), with over £10 million invested in new infrastructure since 2017.

Our education, research and consultancy is enhanced by our world-class facilities including the National Reference Centre for Soils, which houses the largest collection of its kind in Europe and is recognised as the UK’s definitive source of national soils information, and our big data visualisation suite, which has tools to analyse big data collections including environmental resources from 280 countries/territories worldwide.

In 2017, Cranfield was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for research and education in large-scale soil and environmental data for the sustainable use of natural resources in the UK and worldwide, the first time in the Prize’s history that an award has been given for soil science.