The plant room at Goonhilly is unique because it is a containerised, ‘plug and play’ biomass plant room.

Renewable Energy students visit space station to see biomass technology in action

Renewable Energy students from the University of Exeter’s Penryn campus will be visiting Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall this month to find out more about the use of biomass wood heating technology.

A tour of the Earth Station’s cutting edge heating system and plant room with the site’s engineer will be followed by a talk about biomass from the technical director of Dunster Biomass Heating, the company which designed and installed it. The study trip is part of an ongoing collaboration between the Renewable Energy department and Dunster Biomass, a leading supplier of biomass technology based in Somerset.

Goonhilly Earth Station, a space science centre famous for its satellite communication, space educational resources and community engagement activities, installed the technology in its main building in December last year to enhance its green credentials and reduce energy costs.

The wood pellet heating system, which was purpose-built and designed for the Earth station, replaced an oil heating system and has allowed the organisation to reduce its CO2 emissions by over 95%.

Richard Cochrane, Director of Education and Senior Lecturer in Renewable Energy said: “We are endeavouring to teach students more about low carbon heating as this is an important area for Renewables in the UK. This is a great opportunity to be able to show students a real world installation and for them to hear from the ‘coal face’ about the challenges faced in deploying this technology. We are proud of our links with industry and grateful to Dunster Biomass and Goonhilly for facilitating this trip.”

John Witt, Technical Director at Dunster Biomass Heating said: “It is great to be able to offer students a unique insight into how a biomass system works and introduce them to top quality, best practice installations. Training and development is a fundamental part of our operations, and we are proud of our collaboration with the University of Exeter.”

Students will be accompanied on the visit, which will take place on June 9, by lecturers Dr Justin Hinshelwood and Ken O'Brien as part of a summer programme for first year students that will involve field trips, practical workshops and research skills and activities.

Date: 1 June 2016

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