A NURSERY has increased its green credentials by installing the largest biomass boiler in the south east.
Cobbins, in Ferring, installed the boiler at its nine-acre site, where the company grows flowering pot plants and house plants for supply to garden centres.
The new biomass boiler – which replaces ageing coal and oil powered versions - will bring a number of benefits to the business, including a minimum annual fuel saving of £70,000.
Managing director George Lisher said: “We’ve been at maximum capacity for four or five years and so hopefully from May we’ll be able to enjoy 18 per cent more growing capacity.
“That will enable us to service more customers, with the longer-term plan being to replace more glasshouses and further increase our volumes.”
The boiler will allow the business to grow crops throughout the year, where previously it had not been cost-effective to heat the site’s glasshouses over the winter months.
Cobbins will also benefit from the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, which provides payments for heat generation from renewable sources.
Lombard – the asset finance arm of NatWest, provided funding of £650,000 for the boiler’s installation.
Mr Lisher added: “We initially went to NatWest with a proposal to build more glasshouses to enable us to increase capacity.
“We then realised that we could also take advantage of the RHI as part of that, so we added the biomass boiler to our requirements.
“Both Lombard and NatWest have been supportive and good to work with throughout the project.
“The biomass boiler is now operating and work is underway on demolishing existing glasshouses and replacing them with new ones, which is scheduled for completion in May.”
Lombard’s specialist teams work closely with a variety of business – including those in the horticulture and agriculture sectors – to help them meet the challenges around rising energy costs.
The use of biomass has been seen to be effective across many types of farms.