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Case Study 1: 300 kW Woodchip Boiler in Cahercalla, Co Clare

Cahercalla Community Hospital and Hospice in Ennis, Co. Clare provides nursing home care, hospice facilities and a day surgery. They are a not for profit organisation with the sole objective to provide quality care for local people.

Cahercalla first considered a Biomass boiler after they were approached by the Co Clare Wood Energy Project in 2006. The following year they invited boiler suppliers to tender and eventually chose a 300 kW KOB boiler supplied by Clearpower Ltd.

Maintenance manager, Gerard O’Halloran, says “we commissioned the boiler in late 2007 and are thrilled with it”. The hot water for Cahercalla is heated with a separate oil boiler and the only change Mr O’Halloran is considering is to convert this to woodchip also.

Woodchip is supplied by Clare Woodchip Ltd, based in Feakle, Co Clare. The owner of Clare Woodchip, Mr Pat Maloney, organises a delivery every week or two. The woodchip arrives in a tractor and trailer and is tipped into a hopper. A conveyor then lifts the fuel into the top of the fuel silo.

Mr O’Halloran feels a major reason for the success of this project is the close working relationship between Cahercalla and Clare Woodchip.

Once a month, Mr O’Hallorans team organise a full cleaning of the system. After they switch off the boiler it takes about 3 hours to cool down, and then 2/3 hours to give all parts a thorough scrub down. “It’s a messy job, but because we look after it will, we haven’t had any serious breakdowns. A clean boiler is more efficient so we get the most from the woodchip”

The occasional times that the maintenance team are unable to fix a problem they contact the boiler supplier, Clearpower.

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Case Study 2: 500 kW Woodchip Boiler in Letterkenny Leisure Centre

Letterkenny Leisure Centre is a state of the art facility, with a large gym and 25 meter swimming pool. It was built by Donegal County Council at a cost of €23 million and opened in July 2007. The operation of the site is outsourced to Aura Leisure who run the complex on a long term contract.

The primary source of heat for the entire leisure centre is a 500 kW Froeling woodchip boiler. 2 large oil boilers provide back up heat when required.

As the leisure centre is a new building it was possible to design the boiler house and fuel store underground. This means that woodchip can be tipped directly from a trailer into the fuel store.

Ecowood, based less than 45 minutes from Letterkenny, supply woodchip to the leisure centre. The centre manager, Patricia Coyle, commented on Ecowoods’ dedication to supply a quality service. “During the cold weather in December 2010, the ramp to the fuel store had iced over and the Ecowood lorry could not reverse up the slope. Instead, Ecowood organised for a tracked digger to unload from the lorry into the fuel store. One night they were here till 2 in the morning”.

During the winter a load of woodchip is needed every 3 – 4 days. In the summer, every week or two.
The site has had a number of teething problems with the boiler and they have taken some time to resolve. Luckily, an excellent service company, R&S Biomass based in Newtownstewart, Co Tyrone, specialise in Froeling boilers and have worked with the Leisure Centre to rectify many of these issues.

With the continuing rise in the price of oil, Ms Coyle is delighted with the Froeling boiler and grateful of the service provided by Ecowood and R&S Biomass.

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