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05.01.06
Biomass boiler to heat world's biggest greenhouses at Eden

The Eden Project has won funding for a state-of-the-art biomass boiler run on purpose-grown miscanthus (elephant grass) and woodchip to supply heat to the world-famous Biomes.

The £175,000 boiler installation is due to take place in March 2006. It has been funded with investment of £76,000 from the Objective One programme and £64,000 from the Department of Trade and Industry's Clear Skies initiative, with the balance coming from Eden's own funds.

The Austrian-built 300kw boiler will be fuelled by biomass grown specifically as fuel and sourced from within Cornwall as close as practical to the Eden Project at Bodelva. It will be more cost effective than Eden's current gas boiler and will act as a high-profile demonstration site for the technology, promoting further installations and markets for regional suppliers of biomass.

The boiler will operate continuously and is expected to provide 50% of the supply for Eden's main system, heating the Foundation Building, where most of the project's administrative staff are based and the Humid Tropics and Warm Temperate Biomes, the largest greenhouses in the world.
Its introduction will reduce net carbon emissions from Eden's heating system by 49 per cent, representing a reduction of 483 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

Chris Hines, Eden's sustainability director, said: "This is a significant development for the Eden Project. Talking about sustainability is one thing, for Eden it is essential that we also walk our talk. This means looking at all of our operations behind the visitor destination and trying to ensure that we do these in as sustainable a manner as possible. This helps us tackle the way we heat our Biomes.

"Climate change and energy generation is the biggest issue facing humanity and this new boiler will help reduce our carbon impact and importantly acts as part of our educational content. It also helps protect us from fluctuations in the price of oil and gas and therefore helps secure the finances of the whole organisation.

"For other organisations and individuals the issues are all the same and we are delighted to be part of the vanguard driving this forward.

"In terms of producing emissions of harmful carbon dioxide, biomass is broadly neutral. It means we will be far less reliant on mains gas and that if the gas supply is ever cut off, we will still have a ready supply of heat to protect our plants, particularly in the Humid Tropics Biomes. Our aim is that the fuel which goes into the boiler will be sourced within 15 miles of Eden."

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership, said: "Sustainable development is a core theme running throughout the entire programme. This investment coupled with the iconic profile of Eden sets the standard for addressing alternative energy creation, the use of novel crops and the respect for our environment."

Clear Skies manager Chris Roberts, of built environment consultancy BRE, said: "We are delighted that Clear Skies has been able to help Eden meet a significant part of its energy needs with biomass technology, and that the project is taking a lead in the sort of sustainable energy use that is so important in combating climate change."

The boiler is the latest innovation at Eden aimed at protecting the environment. Last April the project installed a £200,000 Neter 30 composter, the first of its kind in the UK, which is designed to 'eat' leftover food and other waste and turn it into high-nutrient compost.

For further information please contact David Rowe head of press and PR, Eden Project on 01726 811901 or email: drowe@edenproject.com.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Eden Biomass Project through the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).

Anyone considering a new horticulture, food and land based industries project is advised to speak with Maria Ford, at Government Office South West on 01752 635015 before commencing development as there are now only limited funds available due to the successful uptake of funding by the agricultural sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

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Editor's notes:

 

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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