Higher Combe

Single biomass system replaces three oil boilers in domestic district heating scheme

Key Facts


Dartmoor, Devon

Project included

  • Guntamatic Powerchip 100kW
  • The Estate utilises its own wood fuel supply, which is chipped on site
  • Heats the main house, two cottages and a pool house

Fuel consumption

Approximately 37 tonnes of wood chips per annum

Fuel cost saving

50-80% vs heating oil

CO₂ saving

Approximately 35 tonnes per annum

RHI payment

A project of this size would gain upwards of £11,500 every year for 20 years, index linked to inflation

Total project cost



4-5 years (RHI income & fuel cost saving)

“The Guntamatic Powerchip 100 has lived up to all expectations. Quite simply it does everything it says on the box”


Higher Combe, a large residential estate on Dartmoor, comprises a main residence, two cottages, office complex and swimming pool with a pool house. They wanted to reduce running costs and CO₂ by moving to biomass from oil. This would allow them to utilise their own wood fuel supply from the Estate’s 80 acres of woodland.

The challenge

Higher Combe specified a biomass district heating system, which would need to replace three oil boilers. The system would have to heat five separate buildings and a swimming pool from a single boiler and link to a solar thermal array for summer hot water.

Our custom solution

Treco supplied and installed a single, top-of-the-range 100kW Guntamatic Powerchip biomass boiler in a district heating scheme, which replaced the three existing oil boilers. The boiler and fuel store were installed in an outbuilding located 100 metres from the main properties. All of the buildings were linked using insulated underground pipe. In the short term, a reliable wood chip fuel supply was established through membership of the Dartmoor Biomass Cooperative. In the longer term, all fuel will be sourced for free from the Estate’s 80 acres of woodland, dried, chipped and stored on site.

More details on this specific biomass boiler used on this installation can be found on the Guntamatic Powerchip page, with further details of our entire range available through the biomass boilers page.

Solution snapshot

  • A top-of-the-range 100kW Guntamatic Powerchip biomass boiler
  • Existing outbuilding converted into a boiler house and wood chip fuel store 
  • 2,000 litre thermal store 
  • Requirement to be multi-fuel met– can run on wood pellets, wood chips, cereals or miscanthus. 
  • Distribution pipework, including internal connections to plate heat exchangers 
  • Self-cleaning moving step grate system improves efficiency and allows the boiler to cope with a wide variation in fuel quality. It also means that the boiler can switch between fuel types via a touch screen control panel, without the need for engineering works 
  • Automated adjustment to variable heat loads; modulation from 30% to 100% capacity at 96% efficiency, reducing fuel consumption 
  • Auto-ignition & de-ashing into a separate container 
  • Combustion efficiency measured by lambda probe 
  • Links to a solar thermal array for summer hot water

The incentive

The Estate now has the opportunity to apply for inclusion in the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). This will enable them to gain payments per kWh of green heat generated by submitting quarterly meter readings to Ofgem. These payments and the fuel cost saving will mean that the project will be not only environmentally, but financially rewarding.

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