Wood chip biomass

Collins Farming and Forestry Services produces quality wood chip biomass from the timber that is felled during our coppicing operations, and this is Biomass Suppliers List registered. This enables us to bring some value to what would otherwise be a waste material and would typically be burnt on the felling site, and differentiates us as one of the most carbon neutral BSL registered biomass producers in East Anglia and means that boiler operators who are claiming the RHI payment can use our fuel with confidence.

Environmentally sustainable timber sourcing

The vast majority of our coppicing and felling operations are as a result of trees and hedges becoming overgrown, dangerous or obstructive, or as part of management plans to bring unmanaged woodland back into production and biodiversity enhancement. With this being the primary justification for the felling, the timber felled can be regarded as either a by-product or a waste product depending on your point of view.

Local timber sourcing

Our timber supply is local to our production site and we feel that this is how it should be. After all one of the motivations for many biomass users is that it is a relatively environmentally friendly fuel where the carbon released during its burning is readily recaptured by the growth of new timber, and to have to transport the fuel or raw material great distances within the supply chain reduces this benefit.

The importance of consistently high quality wood chip biomass

The quality and consistency of the wood chip we supply is important to us and we feel that customers should be able to rely on that quality as they would when purchasing any other type of fuel. You would not expect to fill your car up from the garage one week and get a certain performance from the fuel, and then to refill the next week and find that you have a substantially different performance due to changes in the fuel, with all the associated implications that can have on engine reliability and the cost of motoring. The same is true for biomass boilers. With the vast majority of woodchip being sold by unit weight, the higher the moisture content of the woodchip the lower the energy value per unit weigh and the less heat generated.

Wet woodchip produces more tar in the furnace and boiler chambers and means boilers are less efficient and require more cleaning and servicing. Inconsistent woodchip particle size means boilers and boiler feed systems can be less efficient and unreliable. With all of this in mind our woodchip production is designed to produce a consistent product that gives the same results every time and allows boilers to run efficiently and reliably.

Traditional woodchip production

Over recent years as the fledgling woodchip biomass industry has become established to supply the demand created by the introduction of woodchip boilers, the majority of woodchip has been produced by chipping timber that has been stacked in the open for 12 to 18 months and allowed to dry naturally. This has worked reasonably well but has suffered from the difficulties that inconsistent UK weather and a rise in the volume demand for woodchip have created. The main difficulty is in attaining consistent moisture content in the woodchip, with factors such as the length of time the timber has been stacked to dry, the weather conditions over this time, and the initial moisture content of the timber all playing their part. With this production method Woodchip producers have little control over the drying process, and if a batch of timber is not dry enough all they can do is leave it longer in the hope that it will dry. When this is coupled to the tightening of the chip wood supply chain due to national volumes increasing, and the need to keep customers supplied with woodchip, the management of the production process can become very difficult.

Our woodchip production

Collins Farming and Forestry Services operate our own Jenz 593 chipper and produce all our own woodchip as well as contract chipping for other farms, estates and woodchip suppliers. This gives us control of quality and operational flexibility in woodchip production enabling us to tailor our output to market and customer demand. Typically we produce G30 and G50 woodchip but can produce other sizes on request.

Force drying of woodchip
While Collins Farming and Forestry services can supply both naturally dried and forced dried woodchip, it is forced dried woodchip that forms the vast majority of what we do, and produces the best quality of product. Our timber is chipped while still wet and then put onto a drying floor where warm air is blown through and the moisture of the chip reduced in a controlled environment over a period of about 36 to 48 hours. The heat for the drying comes from our own commercial woodchip boiler which runs on the waste woodchip that we screen out of the woodchip for sale. This controlled drying allows us to consistently produce woodchip for sale at a moisture content of 22% to 25%.

Screening of woodchip
All of our force dried woodchip is screened after drying to ensure a consistent particle size and distribution. While this is a cost which many woodchip producers do not wish to incur, we feel it is an essential part of ensuring consistency of product, and part of this cost for us is negated by the fact that we can use the screenings in our own boiler.

Storage and distribution
Once screened our woodchip is stored undercover ready for delivery. Each consignment of woodchip is moisture tested and weighed out over a weighbridge and delivered in either walking floor trailers, tractor towed ejector trailers or blower trailers as appropriate for the site that the chip is to be delivered to.

Customer Service
We aim to provide a high level of customer service both with the quality of product we supply and with the delivery, invoicing and customer care. We want to keep our customers and have repeated business from them, and strive to offer value for money in all aspects of our business. We hope that you have found this information informative and we would be pleased to answer any questions you may have. You can contact us through the contact page on our website and we look forward to hearing from you.