A WASHINGTON chimney manufacturer has become the only industry-approved centre in Northern England and Scotland to train biomass boiler installers.
The industry is poised for rapid expansion if, as expected, the Government extends the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments for biomass from businesses to include domestic properties.
Schiedel Chimney Systems, which employs around 100 people in Washington, secured approval from sector watchdog HETAS and has already trained biomass engineers and installers from across the North, Scotland and Ireland.
David Wright, Schiedel UK’s marketing manager, said: “There is ongoing demand and the demand is going to increase once the Government makes its announcement on the RHI for biomass.
“We don’t have enough trained installers, it is an issue.”
The company, which was formerly known as Rite-Vent, became part of the Austrian-owned Schiedel group in 2004. It has been making chimneys in Washington for almost 45 years and is the UK’s leading manufacturer of stainless steel and ceramic system chimneys and chimney liners.
In addition to opening the training centre, the factory is also set to benefit from the upsurge of interest in biomass heating.
Wright said: “On every biomass appliance, they need a chimney so it made sense for us.
“We’re also big on this in central Europe; our mother company is headquartered in Austria and we have a big presence in Germany, where new developments are happening.
“It is all well established there. The UK is running behind Europe on this.”
He said the UK is now playing catch-up on biomass after earlier problems around producing the wood pellet fuel were overcome. Biomass is now gaining popularity in new-build homes and offices as well as businesses aiming to reduce their carbon footprint.
Andrew Cosgrove, who owns Acos Renewable Energy Company and works across Tyne and Wear, took one of the HETAS courses at Schiedel.
He said: “With the introduction of the Government’s Renewable Heating Incentive scheme I have seen a huge increase in the installation of biomass boiler solutions on the commercial side of things.
“If a biomass boiler system is set up and commissioned properly it can be a very effective heating solution, this set-up is critical in determining its performance.“