Windhager wood chip cascade warms a Volvo commercial vehicle centre
Energy efficiency and environmental compatibility also play an important role in road transport. The Volvo Commercial Vehicle Centre in Luxembourg has therefore specialised in the sale and service of environmentally friendly trucks and electric buses. The company also relies on an equally sustainable solution for its heat supply, which also runs very economically: a 240 kW PuroWIN wood chip gasification boiler cascade from Windhager.
At the Volvo Truck and Bus Centre in Livange/Luxembourg, thinking big is the order of the day. For many years, the renowned car dealership has been regarded as the first port of call when it comes to purchasing or servicing modern trucks and passenger buses. And business with these large transporters is booming. To meet the growing demand, Managing Director Pierre Antoine expanded the business premises to double its size in 2018. An identical building complex was added to the existing company headquarters for this purpose. This mainly houses the commercial vehicle workshops and a few rented office spaces. For the heat supply to the modern car centre, the company head wanted a solution that was as ecological as possible. "One of our most important customers is the country of Luxembourg, to which we supply environmentally friendly electric buses. Since a sustainable approach to the environment is very important to us, we wanted to set an example with a particularly ecological heat supply," Antoine explains.
Wood chips instead of pellets
That’s why the architect had already intended to install a 540 kW pellet cascade when planning the building extension. Although the structural arrangements for this heating solution had already been made, the owner wanted to get a second opinion from a professional. During a conversation with his acquaintance and Windhager partner Alain Stellmann, he learned about the PuroWIN wood chip gasification boiler. Antoine was immediately enthusiastic about this heating technology.
Clean, safe and very economical
The robust wood chip gasification boiler is impressive with a number of special features that enable very environmentally friendly and, above all, cost-effective heating. Thanks to zero-emission technology, the boiler burns so cleanly that the emissions can hardly even be measured. The sealed boiler design ensures that the ember bed lasts for a long time. During this time the boiler automatically reheats itself, and saves a great deal of ignition energyt. Its patented ash removal system means the PuroWIN is unaffected by foreign bodies and enables continuous heating operation at full power. The robust mixer protection and the safety auger with sideshift technology also ensure safe, quiet and power-saving fuel transport. As a cascade solution, the PuroWIN also enables a particularly flexible and cost-effective heat supply.
A payback period of only six years
At the request of his client, Stellmann prepared a profitability calculation and also took another look at the installation plans. With his detailed recalculation, Stellmann came to a surprising result. It wasn’t 540 kW that was needed to heat the building, but only 240 kW. Due to the radiant heat of the vehicles, the workshops hardly need to be heated. There was also a central ventilation system with heat recovery. That meant that the 240 kW wood chip cascade should also be able to heat the main building. After consultation with the architect, he was able to confirm the very substantial miscalculation. It also turned out that in the long term, the wood chip solution saves considerably more heating costs than the pellet heating system. As a result, the total investment costs would be recouped after only six years. For the company head, this was a foregone conclusion: In the future, the new Volvo commercial vehicle headquarters would be heated by a Windhager PuroWIN cascade with four 60 kW boilers.
A legal precedent
Together with the two Windhager technicians Robert Palli and Martin Westermayer and the installation company ProCalorLUX, the system has now been redesigned. Since there are no guidelines for wood chip systems in Luxembourg, the planners familiarised themselves with the legal requirements for pellet heating systems. Initial concerns of the Luxembourg Fire Brigade and the Chamber of Skilled Trades and Crafts were quickly dispelled.
Only two weeks for the conversion
The system was finally installed in January 2019. Thanks to the careful and professional planning and support from Windhager, the necessary conversion and the installation of the complete wood chip system were completed in a fortnight. For this purpose, a wood chip storage area was built in the second basement level. From there, the fuel is conveyed to the boilers by a robust mixer protection and four safety augers with sideshift technology. To optimise heating operation, each wood chip gasification boiler was also combined with a 1,500 litre accumulator tank. In order to be able to cover peak loads, the oil boiler already present in the existing building was integrated into the system.
The Windhager wood chip cascade has now been in operation since April 2019 and is running smoothly. The fact that operating the wood chip system also requires a certain amount of cleaning is not a problem for the operator. “The ash that accumulates is emptied out regularly by our vehicle technicians. It's doesn’t require a big effort and it's already part of the routine now,” confirms Bruno Thiel, Service Manager at Volvo Trucks. An electronic level indicator ensures that there is always enough fuel in stock. As soon as the minimum quantity is reached, the required fuel is automatically delivered by the wood chip supplier.
For the Volvo Managing Director, the new PuroWIN cascade is the ideal heating solution. "We can now supply our company with heat with a clear conscience. The PuroWIN cascade is not only very clean and environmentally friendly, but we were also able to save a considerable amount on heating costs in the first few months. That means that the investment in the new heating system has already paid off," beams Monsieur Antoine.
|Overview: Reference from Volvo Luxembourg|
|Energy type||Wood chips|
|Scope of property|| |
Existing building (workshop, offices and reception area): approx. 4,500 m2
New building (workshop and offices): approx. 6,000 m2
|Heating system for existing building||Oil condensing boiler, still used to cover peak loads|
|Heating system of new building||PuroWIN wood chip cascade 4x60 kW|
|Accessories||4x 1,500 l accumulator tank|
|Fuel transport||Discharge agitation system with 4 transport augers to the boilers|
|Fuel consumption||approx. 150 tonnes of wood chips or 650m3 per year|