Q: How much room do you need to leave under a log pile? A: About a terrier’s height!

 

You need one of these to measure a wood pile

You need one of these to measure a wood pile

This Q&A emerged during the visit to Ickworth by Neil Harris, Countryside Manager from National Trust London & Southeast region, who has successfully run and fed a woodchip boiler at Hughenden Manor, near High Wycombe, for the last four years. The feeding part was particularly useful as, like them, we are looking to self-supply our woodchip boiler, a pilot project under the Renewable Energy Investment Programme. Before I move onto that, for those of you who love all the juicy details (and I know there are a few of you out there), they have a Froling Turbomat 220 kW woodchip with a 4000 litre thermal store, all of which is supplied by a 40m3 woodchip store.

Neil Harris, Dee Gathorne Hardy (Senior Ranger, Ickworth) and Steph Hall (Project Manager) talking through the plans for the woodchip store

Neil Harris, Dee Gathorne-Hardy (Senior Ranger, Ickworth) and Steph Hall (Project Manager) talking through the plans for the woodchip store

Lots of useful, practical information was shared such as how often they sweep the flue (quarterly) and service (annually); how much ash is produced; make sure you have a heat, not a smoke, detector above the boiler; you’ll see a significant increase in the load on the boiler when people leave doors open or there are events (please don’t waste our hard-earned woodchip!); you may get more heat loss per m2 of district pipe than you are expecting (theirs is 80 m long); Corsican Pine is prone to re-wetting after seasoning, so may need a cover especially if it snows; and a good thinning regime can lead to around a third more timber in a woodland. Looking back would they have done anything differently? Having an “idiot’s guide” to running the boiler, with telephone contacts i.e. if this happens, call this number. All really valuable advice.

We went to have a look at the timber which was extracted from the 1979-planted woodland in September.

Before harvesting - planted in 1979, this woodland was dense with very little understory

Before harvesting – planted in 1979, this woodland was dense with very little understory

Contractors were employed to fell and extract the timber

Contractors were employed to fell and extract the timber

The first thing that hit you was the delicious aroma – sorry we haven’t got smell-o-vision. After seasoning and chipping, this should be able to keep the Ickworth and regional office boilers for at least 18 months. Very exciting to finally see it.

460 m3 of timber, including western red cedar

The next stage: seasoning 460 m3 of timber, including western red cedar

Ickworth Renewable Heating Project Manager, Steph Hall

The obligatory poses by the woodpile – Project Manager, Steph Hall…

Me, Lead Consultant on the project

…and I, Lead Consultant on the project

Whilst we were at Ickworth, we had a look at the Rangers’ office, which has been throughly insulated so that it can be heated by a 1.5 kW woodburning stove. Nice and cosy. In fact, they only need to use it for a few hours in the morning, or it becomes too cosy. With this, a log boiler in Visitor Reception, air source heat pump in plant centre & toilets and, all being well, the woodchip boiler to serve the House, Ickworth is taking a sensible pick ‘n’ mix approach when it comes to renewable technology.

Rangers at Ickworth keep warm through their own efforts

Rangers at Ickworth keep warm through their own efforts

 

 

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Interested in renewable energy, community energy? Fancy Joining us in the Welsh Assembly Senedd in Cardiff to learn and share?

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 17.36.32We have a few places left if you want to see life at the coal face of renewable and community energy. If your interested contact us for a place at this special event

Community Hydro ‘Working Together For Our Future’

Sponsored by Alun Ffred Jones AM and Llyr Huws Gruffydd AM

The Anafon Hydro Group, National Trust Wales and the Robert Owen Community Bank Fund invite you to join us in the Senedd

 November 27th 2014 12.30 – 2

Please join us for lunch and an opportunity to hear about the how the community have worked together to bring about the Anafon Hydro and how they have been supported by the Robert Owen Community Bank Fund and National Trust Wales, both of whom are supporting many other Welsh community energy projects. There will also be an opportunity to invest in the fast-selling shares of the Ynni Anafon Energy Cyf society.

Please RSVP by Friday 21st November. Emily.Keenan@nationaltrust.org.uk

Anafon Hydro   http://www.anafonhydro.co.uk/default.aspx

NT Wales Energy   http://ntenvironmentalwork.net/

Robert Owen Community Bank Fund https://www.rocbf.co.uk/CEDF 

.Cwmni Cymraeg, Turbin Cymraeg. Wedi ei osod gan yr Ymddiriedolaeth Genedlaethol yng Nghymru. Renewables are real. Hafod y Porth Hydro. Welsh Hydro, installed by a Welsh Company. Installed by the National Trust in Wales

Ynni Dŵr Cymunedol ‘Cydweithio ar gyfer ein dyfodol’

Dan nawdd Alun Ffred Jones AC a Llyr Huws Gruffydd AC

Dymuna Grŵp Ynni Dŵr Anafon, yr Ymddiriedolaeth Genedlaethol yng Nghymru a Chronfa Banc Cymunedol Robert Owen eich gwahodd i ymuno â ni yn y Senedd

27 Tachwedd 2014 12.30 – 2

Ymunwch â ni am ginio a chyfle i glywed am y modd y mae’r gymuned wedi cydweithio i ddatblygu cwmni Ynni Dŵr Anafon, a sut maen nhw wedi cael cymorth drwy Gronfa Gymunedol Banc Robert Owen a’r Ymddiriedolaeth Genedlaethol yng Nghymru, sydd ill dau yn cefnogi llawer o brosiectau ynni cymunedol eraill yng Nghymru. Bydd cyfle hefyd i fuddsoddi yng nghyfranddaliadau cymdeithas Ynni Anafon Energy Cyf, sy’n gwerthu’n gyflym.

Ateber erbyn dydd Gwener 21 Tachwedd

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Take your eye off the light and it keeps getting better…LED bulb development

Believe it or not this is an LED candle bulb. Looks like a filament bulb but its only 2.2watts. The heat sinc part of the eddison screw (the bottom bit for the bulb) is much smaller than anything else i have seen. Not sure if they are dimable but does not really matter for us

Believe it or not this is an LED candle bulb. Looks like a filament bulb but its only 2.2watts. The heat sinc part of the eddison screw (the bottom bit for the bulb) is much smaller than anything else i have seen. Not sure if they are dimable but does not really matter for us

On a visit to the Wallace collection in London last week as part of our work with the Fit for the Future Network we were introduced to a new LED candle bulb, which uses linear COB (Multiple-chips-on-board) LEDs to look like a tungsten filament.  It was ‘like’ at first look….and this is the strength of the sharing network. We were there to help but the NT might have gained a new opportunity as well. Early days but first impressions count for a lot. This one I got from B&Q earlier today for £6. From what i understand the use of the liner chips and a vacuum inside the bulb glass increases the lumens per watt (amount of light) and reduces the heat generation. The warranty is only 6000hrs, colour temp is a warm 2700k, 360 degree beam angle on this bulb. (loads out there and some claiming 50,000hr lifetime from well-known retailers)  All this needs testing. But on looks and predicted performance things are looking good. But we need to test quite a few more attributes to make sure

The Jones family lighting. Old style (feels weird saying that) anf the new bulb in the front. Initial completely subjective view. More light for less energy. took both bulbs out and the new bulb is much much cooler in terms of heat.

The Jones family lighting. Old style candle LED at the back and on the left (feels weird saying that having seen it develop) and the new bulb in the front. Initial completely subjective view. More light for less energy. (more efficient) Took both bulbs out after they had been on for 10 mins and the new bulb was much cooler in terms of heat. Usually means more of the electricity is being turned into light and not being wasted through the generation of heat

This was the one we were directed after our visit to the Wallace collection. It just looks right. But only 1W (120 lumens) means a specialist use.

 

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Life with electric cars in rural Wales. Guest blog from the coal face. Walking the walk!

Neil Lewis. EV Evangelist

As a member of the Community Energy Development Fund steering group which is run by the Robert Owen Community Bank Fund I have worked with Neil for a while now. Neil has many irons in the fire. One of which is managing the fund for ROCBF.  Coffee aficionado, community energy stalwart and Electric Vehicles (EV) evangelist. Neil is showing the way in making EV’s work.

GUEST BLOG

“Living in Carmarthen and working in the Gwendraeth Valley, my job helping small businesses  address environmental/energy concerns was taking me all over our beautiful County. The beaches of Carmarthen Bay one minute, the hills above Llandovery the next.

I had insulated my house, installed 3kw of West facing PVs and shouted at the kids on a daily basis for leaving lights on! (Less so, since installing LEDs). I’d held Court in the Pub about Climate change and environmental concerns for twenty years and was predictably running low on friends!!

The family car was our beloved Galaxy-7 seater with a 1.9 turbo diesel. State of the art when we bought it in 2000. We’d run a birdwatching business all over West Wales with it. Gone on family holidays to the Netherlands, Spain and the South of France (3 times). It had carried surf boards, dogs and especially mountain bikes. Permanently sandy and smelly! And that’s just the kids.

I’d even slept in it on a weekly basis in sub-zero temperatures whilst working as a private dentist in England (but that’s another blog entirely).

It’s old engine had covered 120,00 blissful miles and the puff of black smoke that followed me down the street evoked happy memories.

However the 35 miles per gallon was starting to nag at my conscience. I scanned the internet and newspaper adverts-Seemed electric technology was advancing-fancied an Ampera- but £30k!

My colleague mentioned that Citroen were leasing the C-zeros for £199 per month. Test drove one in Bristol whilst visiting my daughter at Uni. These cars fly!

I tried to order one, all the Zeros, I-ons and Mi-Evs had disappeared. For a week I searched the internet. Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, perplexed dealers couldn’t understand it.

In my research, I discovered that a dealer in Cornwall had bought them all as a job lot and was selling them at half-price!!  The deal was done, my lips red EV arrived on a flat bed and our family heirloom driven away in the traditional puff of smoke.

What have I done?  Surf boards, Mountain Bikes, dogs ………..for sale…..

There’s a steep hill to Pontyberem (Crwbin), will I be able to even get to work, 20 miles away?

My wife and I drove up to Cwmcerrig Farm Shop on a Sunday morning for breakfast in Cross Hands- half the charge had gone-will we be able to get home…. What have I done?

Slowly, but surely, I learned. We thrilled at the acceleration, marvelled at the recharging on the downhill sections. Slowly travelled further. Fixated by the range display the whole time, I started getting a neck ache…seriously. Crucially, I learnt eventually, that the range display is a “Guessometer”-based on how you’d been driving recently.

The range extended from 40 miles to 50 to 60 to 70…and now I’ll take on 80 miles!!

Where are the Charge points? What’s a Zap-map? At first, January 2013, the only charge point in the area was at Home Farm, Dinefwr Park, Llandeilo. Provided by Zerocarbonworld and installed / hosted by The National Trust near to their 50kw solar array. It was comforting to now that I wasn’t alone! Others believed in the technology. I was not alone.

Traffic jam at the National Trust Dinefwr EV charging point. Neil with his beloved Citroen (32 and 16amp changers). http://ecofunkytravelling.wordpress.com/

We’d put the kids and the dog in the back and visit Dinefwr, have a coffee and return home with the  smug satisfaction of spending our money on fairtrade coffee rather than diesel. The joys of slow travel were a revelation. We’d drive down to National Trust Stackpole, trying to catch sight of the Otters, whilst walking down to Broad Haven beach, stunning. Over the butterfly rich cliffs to the Boat House for coffees. Return via Bosherton, bat spotting, to a fully charged car. Bliss.

St David’s became a regular destination, charging at Caerfai OR TYF. Tresaith and back without a recharge. Confidence building the whole time.  Charge points being discovered in Llandovery, Llanwrtyd, Llandrindod, Swansea Transport Museum, Rhosili…..all slow chargers but the coffee!!

The Citroen flying along. We even get up to North Wales via Aberystwyth, CAT and the Eco guest House at Blaenau. Range Anxiety. Pah!

Then the wonder of the rapid chargers at the Motorway services. Fully charged in 20 minutes! We holidayed in the Cotswolds. Being an expert on Services I can highly recommend the eco-credentials of Gloucester Services (North).

We are saving £1000s every year with our low-carbon transport. I love plugging in to my panels on a Summer’s evening. My Westies filling the “tank”. It’s good having an “oil-well” in your garden!

However I am spending £100s on coffee”

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One in a million… hopefully several more. National Trust Hydro

1 million Kwh mark

1 million Kwh mark hit and past today

Wynn from the farm kindly sent me this image today. In 2478 hours of generation time we passed the million kilowatt-hour mark (1,000,000 kwh = 1000 Mwh = 1 Gwh) and to think in real terms we have only been generating since May  after the pipe joint problem and having gone through one of the driest period on record…not too shabby!. Oh and the stunt thumb was kindly supplied by John Millen the project Manager for the National Trust

The Hafod y Porth hydro is also now ‘on line’. Checking generation from the comfort of my home. Just an ikle likle bit sad!

Hafod y Porth running at a nice 100kwp consistent in the last week. Looks like we had a grid trip or something similar mid week.

Hafod y Porth running at a nice 100kwp consistent over the last week. Looks like we had a grid trip or something similar mid week. Red line is power and blue line is water level. Spot the rain showers!

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At the Houses of Parliament. Fit for the future work wins Gold National Award

Laura, Paul, Simon, Himself and Chloe last night at the Houses of Parliament receiving our Gold award for Environmental Management

Laura, Paul, Simon, Himself and Chloe last night at the Houses of Parliament receiving our Gold award for Environmental Management (Alex with the Camera)

Monday afternoon and the team (Paul, Alex, Chloe, Laura, Simon and myself) were in the rarefied atmosphere of the House of Parliament. Being at the heart of decision-making made it more special. The reason for the appearance was we were there to find out if the ‘Fit for the Future’ work had been nationally recognised by the Environmental Organisation  Green Apple award for ‘best environmental’ work. Better than that we won the ‘Gold Category’ (more on the network in the next blog…but is special!) The Network has developed way beyond what we envisaged. It shows that there is a hunger for solutions out there. Its  simple in concept but seems to be rare in practice. “Get people to talk and share!” This award now lines us up to go for the international award…but one step at a time. Now back to the safety of the mountains!

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One of our 5 a day!

One of our 5 a day!

 

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It was raining last week. Actually just like this week. We have happy hydros

Little film highlighting that when we have bad weather… we also have good energy! The National Trust’s Snowdonia Hydros

http://youtu.be/5f0L-RPAR_Q 

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