Crown Capital Management
Alex James: nothing more festive than a biomass boiler
It’s a miracle: the biomass boiler is in and ready to be fired up
There’s always plenty to see on a farm. The newborn lambs were a universal Christmassy hit with visitors, but we’re not lambing this year. I’ve diversified.
I was showing a local dignitary around on Saturday.
“So, where do you make the cheese?” he said.
“Ah, yeah. That all happens over there, but look at this.”
There are still one or two big holes in the garden, but the trenches are filled in. The place looks less like a First World War battlefield and more like a builder’s merchants. There’s a crane here, a cherry picker there, a 3-ton dumper blocking the drive, huge piles of insulation panels and pallets of breeze blocks all around.
I’m hell bent on getting the biomass heating system up and running by Christmas and the new boiler room has been taking shape rapidly this week.
Inside, the buffer tank, where the hot water is stored, is gigantic. It looks like a submarine standing on its nose.
“How was touring South America with the band?” said my dignitary.
“Oh yeah, that was great… and the wood chips flow into the boiler via the auger here…”
“And where did you say you make the cheese?”
I could see I was getting nowhere. Maybe boiler installation doesn’t have the glamour of newborn lambs, of rock-and-roll or even cheese, but I’ve found it a captivating.
Mark Allen, the Dairy Crest boss, invited me to the Cathedral City factory recently and the first thing he showed me was their new biomass boiler. Knowing nods were exchanged. There’s something about these contraptions that goes beyond the function of providing heat. They make energy, from stuff I can grow, for next to nothing.
And that’s almost a miracle. We’re going to fire it up on the 20th and go down the pub to celebrate.