PRESS RELEASE: – BAA Stansted appoints LC Energy for wood chip supply
Surrey firm LC Energy, based in Albury and one of the UK’s leading suppliers of low carbon energy services and wood fuel, has won a five year contract to supply BAA’s Stansted Airport with 3,000 tonnes of sustainable wood chip for its newly installed wood fuel heating boiler which has formed a key part of a £50 million extension to the existing terminal building.
BAA Stansted is one of the first airports in the world to have its primary heat source provided by wood fuel and the new extension is carbon neutral¹. The wood chip being supplied could save approximately 1,750 tonnes² of carbon per year (when compared to burning fossil fuels) which is the equivalent output of over 400 family homes.
The wood for the boiler will be sourced from sustainably managed woodlands in the region, mainly situated within a 20 mile radius of the airport terminal. Once it has been harvested the wood is chipped and stored at LC Energy’s hub situated less than two miles from the airport, which significantly reduces the environmental impact of transporting the chip long distances to the boiler.
Dr. Andy Jefferson, BAA’s Stansted Head of Environment, said: “LC Energy has clearly demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of the expanding low carbon energy sector and has put forward a highly cost effective package to enable BAA Stansted to utilise this natural heat resource from the East of England. He continued, “The wood chip fuelled boiler was originally installed to provide heat for the new extension to the terminal, but has proved so effective that the entire airport terminal is now being heated by the boiler. As a result, we have been able to significantly reduce our reliance on the old natural gas boilers.” Mark Lebus, Managing Director of LC Energy said, “This is a highly significant contract for LC Energy as it demonstrates that woodchip fuel boilers are a genuinely viable alternative energy source for organisations wishing to not only reduce their carbon footprint, but also lessen their reliance on ever-decreasing fossil fuels.” He continued, “It is essential that the wood fuel is sourced from the immediate area as it capitalises on local wood to provide local heat, and enables a significant reduction in transport emissions.”
Now in its third year of trading, LC Energy supplies wood fuel to a number of schools, care homes, housing developments and private customers in the South and East of England including a recent supply contract with Flitch Green primary school in Essex.
The county of Surrey is the most wooded in the UK, with 22% of its area covered by trees, and yet only half of this is being proactively managed. By implementing sustainable woodland management practices, the Forestry Commission, a key partner of LC Energy, estimates that the South East could supply over 500,000 tonnes of timber a year to be converted into wood chips to fuel boilers. This would be enough sustainable fuel to heat 2,500 care homes or 1,000 large schools. To put this into perspective, in Surrey there are currently 450 care homes and approximately 550 large schools.
¹ Biomass takes carbon out of the atmosphere while it is growing, and returns it as it is burned. If it is managed on a sustainable basis, biomass is harvested as part of a constantly replenished crop. This is either during woodland or arboricultural management or coppicing or as part of a continuous programme of replanting with the new growth taking up CO2 from the atmosphere at the same time as it is released by combustion of the previous harvest. This maintains a closed carbon cycle with no net increase in atmospheric CO2 levels.
² The figure of 1,750 tonnes of CO2 being saved is based on the Stansted’s current Mega Watt Hour (MWh) power usage. Stansted currently uses 9,500 MWh per year. Natural gas has a CO2 emission of 185kg per MWh.
Hence 185 x 9,500 = 1,757,500kg or 1,750 tonnes per year. Therefore by using a heat fuel which is carbon neutral, Stansted is saving 1,750 tonnes of CO2 per year.