Researching the path to better wood fuel.

Optiwood is a 2-year EU-funded project under the EDRF-INTERREG (Channel-Manche) Programme.

It officially started in August 2018. It’s objective is to improve the efficiency and performance of biomass heat boilers in France and the UK through a targeted programme of data monitoring, training and dissemination of the results.

Total funding support by the EU amounts to €374,992.

12 Pilot Projects were chosen and were the focus of data recording through an innovative data logging system developed by the Project Team. These results provided the basis for an Action Plan with each Project Client to improve the operations, maintenance and overall running of each biomass system.

As of late 2019, significant data results allowed very clear Action Plans to be developed. These were being implemented through the 2019-2020 heating season with the potential for 5-22% savings for individual boiler systems. At the same time, training support for boiler Operators and related personnel was provided in order to upgrade the skills set of the Operators. The data and training results will be disseminated from late 2019 through 2020 to a wider audience of other boiler system clients-Operators, boiler specifiers and others.

Optiwood team workshop.

South East Wood Fuels estimates that as many as 25% of the UK’s 30,000 biomass boilers (non-domestic and domestic) are operating at lower efficiencies than they could be.

This reflects a mixture of poor initial design, inappropriate and low quality fuel, and poor maintenance. The latter can sometimes lead to boilers operating at 10-15% below their potential performance. A similar situation has arisen in France.

SEWF along with three French partners – AILE, Pays de Fougeres and Department Ille-et-Vilaines – are working together in a 2-year project ending in mid-2020 to improve this situation. It has involved data monitoring 12 Pilot Projects (5 in the UK, 7 in France) to assess the true performance of the biomass boiler systems. This has utilised innovative and cost-effective data loggers and analysers to assess flow and return temperatures, flue temperatures, Oxygen levels, and overall system efficiencies.

Data has been collected since late 2018 and throughout 2019 to date. The results have highlighted a wide range of issues and problems.

After meetings with clients, and some training sessions, an Action Plan has been drawn up for each of the Projects with targets savings of between 4% and 20%.

The remainder of 2019 and through 2020 will hopefully demonstrate the improvements calculated for the biomass boilers, and the further training of Operators on each site. We will also have a dissemination phase to spread the message over better maintenance, more trained Operators and data logging to highlight issues and solutions.

We will be sharing Case Studies and other short reports on lessons of the project in 2019 and 2020, as well as offering training sessions for a wider group of biomass installers, boiler owners, specifiers and engineers.

Get in touch

01323 340041


Shawfield, Laughton Lodge, Laughton, East Sussex, BN8 6BY