The historic Swisstulle factory at South Chard switched over to running on biomass with the help of Commercial Biomass Partnership.
The old oil-fired boilers were on their last legs and costing a fortune to run. Parts of the factory date back to the 1830s, when they didn’t care much for insulation, and the rest dates back to the 1930s, when steel framed windows and single glazing made matters worse – workers could finally see what they were doing during daylight hours at least, but you might as well count those windows as holes in the walls when it comes to heat loss calculations.
Swisstulle secured funding from NatWest bank for building works and the other associated costs of installation. The bank said the energy savings realised through this project far outweigh the costs of funding it. More on finance & grants for biomass…
The project included demolishing the old coal bunker (which was still full of coal from when the factory ran on steam), remove the oil boilers, erect a pellet silo and fit biomass boilers with an oil backup/topup.
Commercial Biomass Partnership project-managed the job from start to finish, delivering on time and on budget, and just scraping in before the first cut in RHI.
The installation received praise from industry magazine, The Manufacturer, Old meets new at Somerset textiles factory
The factory makes a material called bobbinet tulle, which is a very fine mesh fabric similar to lace. Machines that have hardly changed in 200 years turn out a uniform product in several grades, from a microscopic hole size, up to an alarmingly large hole size for use in parachutes. Materials they use include the finest Egyptian cotton, silk, and man made fibres.
These hulking machines weave fibres finer than a human hair into sheets of material four or five metres wide. The material is highly prized in the fashion and wig making industries for its uniformity.