Yeo Valley (Container, 160kW)

Yeo Valley Organics, heated by a wood chip system

Biomass boiler model:
Gilles HPK-RA 160kW

Biomass fuel:
G50, W30 Woodchip

Fuel store:
Steel-clad bespoke design hopper

Special features:
  • Automatic ignition
  • Automatic heat exchanger cleaning
  • Automatic ash removal
  • Containerised system


This 160kW Gilles containerised, biomass heating system has been installed at the Head Office of Yeo Valley Dairies & Holt Farms. These sister companies share the same office space in Blagdon, Somerset and this biomass project is a positive step forward by the companies to reduce their carbon footprint. Yeo Valley is best known as a thriving dairy business, that has been committed to improving its environmental credentials as a business. The whole of the 1200 acre farm has converted to being organic.

Key considerations to this project were to remove their dependence on oil and to convert to biomass to keep costs down, so that a favourable payback period could be achieved and where possible, to use existing facilities to keep costs to a minimum.

The Boiler

Yeo Valley Dairies & Holt Farms decided to use a Gilles boiler as the boilers are known for their high levels of automation and their robust nature, both of which were appealing. The ceramic lined burner allows for complete and controlled combustion of woodchips and maximises the efficiency of the burn. The boiler is self-lighting and self-cleaning and does not need day to day maintenance and overseeing. An ash bin only needs emptying every three weeks.

The boiler is designed to provide a base load of 160kW within this system. Oil boilers are still in use when there are peak heat loads, as the maximum peak heat load for this site can reach 300kW. However the vast majority of the heat is provided by the biomass boiler.

Energy Innovations designed a bespoke, containerised system which was put together offsite and then delivered to Holt Farms working and ready for immediate commissioning. This was appealing to the client as it meant that there would be minimal disruption to the day to day running of the business. Once the container was ready, it was craned into place and plumbed in to the site and was ready to run as soon as connection to the existing system was made. This took our engineers two days on site before the boiler was in full working order.

The Boiler Room and Fuel store

Energy Innovations also designed a hopper specifically for this site with fuel delivery being made as straightforward as possible.  The benefits of this are that different types of trailer can deliver woodchip, not limiting the site to a specific mode of delivery.  The hopper will take up to 12 tonnes of woodchip.  It has a fully automated lid which is hydraulically controlled and operated remotely by means of a key-switch, to ensure safety of operators. The hopper is designed to give sufficient capacity to heat the building for approximately three weeks, even at the coldest times of the year.

District Heating Main

A district heating main was used to distribute heat to two existing plant rooms at either end of the main building. The primary plant room is approximately ten metres from the new biomass boiler plant. The second plant room is fed by 150 metres of pre insulated district heating main.

Remote Maintenance and Fireview

This system at Yeo Valley Dairies can be remotely monitored and adjusted by Energy Innovations thanks to the implementation of Fireview software and a suitable broadband connection. In the event of technical queries from the user, Energy Innovations can dial into the system from their offices and review operational parameters and settings, making changes if necessary, without having to visit the site.

Grant Funding

This project was awarded a grant through the Bio Energy Capital Grants Scheme Round 5 to assist with initial financial costs.