Case Studies


Q Hotels, a prestigious group of luxury 4 star hotels, are at the forefront of environmental responsibility and energy saving and were awarded the AA Eco Hotel Group of the Year award in 2011. Their Norton Park Hotel in the heart of the Hampshire countryside is a prime example of the energy savings that can be made from switching to biomass. With 175 bedrooms, a conference centre and a leisure club with indoor swimming pool, the hotel has a high heat demand. Its central heating and hot water boilers are also quite old and inefficient and consumed almost 200,000 Litres of heating oil per annum.

Heating oil is a very expensive fuel and the annual cost of this oil was over £100,000 PA. At current prices of around 69p per Litre this would have been a staggering £137,000 PA.


In March 2012, Tomkinson Heating Ltd fitted a containerised 190kW Biomass boiler solution. The system was completely free to the hotel other than a small contribution towards some of the installation costs.

Biomass Energy Cabin

The existing oil system has now had help from a new 190kW Biomass energy cabin that sits alongside the original boiler room. This now takes the load for the Hotel but allows the existing boilers to come on as a backup supply in high demand situations.

The equipment specification is as follows:

  • Fully insulated and painted high cube 20’ x 10’ container complete with access doors and openings for chimney and pipework.
  • HDG 200 KW biomass boiler and equipment formulated for wood pellet.
  • Vacuum system to link unit 2 pellet store.
  • Primary circulating pump and loading valves.
  • 3 phase boiler control system.
  • Twin skin stainless steel chimney system.
  • All equipment bolted into position on reinforced plate floor and pre piped to outside the unit.
  • Unit delivered to site and positioned on base constructed by others.
  • Boiler and plant commissioned and tested.
  • Unit 2 Store.
  • Fully insulated and painted high cube 20’ x 10’ container complete with access doors and openings for pellet feed system and access.
  • Pellet auger system.

Click here to see a video of the unit in operation

Finished Container with Steve and David Tomkinson


In this case the system used was 2 twenty foot containers. The first is a simple silo with a capacity to hold in excess of 10 tonnes of wood pellets. The second is the plant room containing the biomass boiler, its modern control panel and associated equipment. At over 92%, the boiler is highly efficient and also very clean to operate with no noticeable noise or odours. It is also fully automated – the pellets are fed automatically from the silo into a day hopper which feeds the boiler via an auger system and a sophisticated control panel controls the operation of the boiler in order to match the heat production to the actual heat demand from the Hotel. Even the ash is automatically extracted into ash bins which can be simply spread in the gardens every 3 or 4 weeks.

Forever Fuels Pellet Delivery

The system sits close to their main plant room where it is connected into the hotel’s heating and hot water systems. It is set up so that the biomass boiler acts as the lead boiler for the Hotel and provides the majority of the heat required. The pre-existing oil boilers sit idle for much of the time, only kicking-in if needed to top up the heat provided by the biomass.

The Hotel have a contract with a leading wood pellet supplier who automatically delivers pellets when notified by the guage that is fitted within the pellet storage silo.


Oil produces about 10kW per Litre, so at 69p/Litre, this equates to 6.9p per kW. With old and inefficient boilers it was actually even more expensive than this.

The biomass is costing the hotel in the region of 3.8p per kW – a huge difference.

Over the course of the year, the Hotel is thus expected to save well in excess of £40,000.

Inside the boiler room