Today we led over a dozen interested students on a special tour of the former Guardbridge paper mill, which is set to host one of the University’s two new macro scale renewable energy installations, the Guardbridge Biomass Energy Centre.
The second macro renewables project is Kenly Wind Farm which was recently given approval in October, 2013.
The Guardbridge site, located just 4 miles from St Andrews, is a former industrial paper mill which closed its doors in 2008. Soon after, the University purchased the site with designs for creating a biomass energy plant in order to reduce rising carbon emissions and ever increasing energy rates.
The biomass plant, currently in the design stage, will burn woodchips from the undesirables left after commercial logging sourced locally within a 50km radius. Woodchips, which absorb CO2 during their lifecycles, are burned in a boiler to heat hot water. The hot water is then pumped from Guardbridge to the University’s North Haugh campus, with only a small percentage of heat loss along the way within the insulated piping. From there the hot water is integrated into the current heating systems to provide warmth to all University buildings in that area.
Students were led on a walking tour through the old paper mill buildings conducted by the University’s Environment and Energy Manager, Dr Roddy Yarr. The group saw live wood chipping as part of a noise test for the mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) associated with planning permissions.
Dr Roddy Yarr helped explain how these facilities – once complete – will not only provide renewable energy directly to the University, but will also support the local timber industry and farmers, and set a precedent for other University and public sector bodies by demonstrating how an ambitious carbon neutral plan can be achieved in practice.
Judging by the success of today’s tour we are considering running another tour in semester 2 for those still interested in learning about the project up close. You can register your interest by email firstname.lastname@example.org – we will be in touch with further updates.
Check out additional student coverage of the tour below.
The Conscious Student blog: http://theconsciousstudent.com/2013/11/21/a-tour-of-the-guardbridge-biomass-plant-site/