Ignite was developed in the North East of England in 2004 and since then has grown into the UK’s only integrated woodfuel training course leading to a recognised qualification. Over 500 people have benefitted from the Ignite course, which is delivered by a team of experienced and enthusiastic trainers.

Day 1

Session 1 – Setting the Scene

The course begins with an overview of the days objectives and an introduction to the tutors and the 3 day programme.

We then cover the background to the growth of renewable energies and woodfuels in particular before moving onto comparisons in costs, characteristics and the environmental performance of woodfuels against fossil fuels. Installation costs for woodfuel systems compared to other types of renewable energy technology are also covered in some detail.

Following this, the drivers for woodfuel are explored, with particular attention to the legislative framework and carbon reduction targets in the UK economy. Whilst this is a classroom based session, the focus is very much on giving trainees the information and ammunition needed to argue the case for woodfuels.

Following a short break we move onto the conversion of wood into energy, breaking down the process of combustion and gaining an understanding of pyrolysis in a modern woodfuel boiler. The session then progresses logically onto the three main types of woodfuel in use today – logs, chips and pellets – and the basic units and conversion factors for wood into energy. The session ends with an introduction to the UK woodfuel market and the types of customers for which woodfuel is a viable option.

Session 2 – The Woodfuel Resource

After a good lunch and time to pick up voicemail messages, the course progresses on to an afternoon looking at the woodfuel resource. Picking up on the conversion factors, these are given practical application in a variety of settings as we examine the UK’s available woodfuel resource in detail. Ranging from sawmill co-products to commercial forestry and arboriculture arisings, we’ll cover all the major sources of woodfuel, looking in turn at quantities, qualities and issues affecting availability and conversion for use as a fuel product.

Throughout this session, and the rest of the course, participants will complete short exercises individually, in pairs and in groups. These exercises focus on specific aspects of woodfuel and help participants gain a better understanding of the subject matter.


Day 2

Session 3 –Woodfuel Systems

Woodfuel has moved on a long way in the last 20 years, and with large sums being spent on research and development, the technology designed to turn wood into heat and/or electricity is constantly evolving. Day 2 of Ignite looks at woodfuel from the customers’ perspective. Starting with an exploration of what a woodfuel customer looks like and what they want from wood as a fuel source, we aim to give participants a solid grounding in the kinds of woodfuel schemes that they might find themselves supplying. Systems ranging from power stations to log burning stoves feature in
this component of the course, but the major focus is on woodchip heating systems in the 50kW – 5MW range.

The session looks in detail at fuel reception and handling at boiler installations, the process of combustion in a modern woodfuel boiler (and some not-so-modern applications) and discusses the relative benefits of different types of systems. Throughout the day constant reference is made to realworld examples of both good and bad practice to illustrate the range of systems and solutions currently in place in the UK and overseas.

The afternoon of this day is taken up with a visit to a working woodfuel installation. Visits in the past have included a power station, community district heating scheme, plant nursery, office accommodation, blocks of flats and a swimming pool. Where time and logistics allow we will visit more than one scheme or will look at elements of the supply chain to the boiler in question.

Day 3

Session 4 –Woodfuel Technology

The range of options for turning wood into woodfuel is perhaps the most confusing part of the woodfuel industry. With 3 principle types of wood chippers in use, dozens of log splitter designs and not to mention tub grinders, hammer mills, shredders and pelletisers, the array of technology available to a business wanting to enter the supply chain is mind boggling.

This session takes an objective look at the technology currently available to chip, split, grind, shred and pelletise wood from any source and turn it into a valuable woodfuel product. We will look at the main manufacturers, innovations and the range of products on offer. Following on from the processing, we look at handling, storage and delivery of woodfuel products to customers, drawing on good practice and experience from across the globe. Wherever possible, we include up to date costs for the various elements of the supply chain. If there are grants or other support available at the time we will often provide participants with information, guidance and if possible, application forms on the day.

Integrated Assessment

The course ends with an hour-long written assessment, with opportunities for questions and a short revision session before this starts. The assessment is straightforward and focuses on the practical application of the knowledge gained in the preceding two and a half days.
General Information throughout the course participants are encouraged to contribute their own experience either of woodfuel or of other aspects of forestry or arboriculture to the course. There is a lively, good humoured atmosphere at courses, where participants can discuss issues of particular relevance or interest to themselves and the group within the framework of the course.

Those who complete Ignite successfully will receive a Lantra Technical Award inWoodfuel Production and Supply and will be issued with a certificate of competence.

If you’re not familiar with some of the terminology in this document, don’t worry – by the end of the 3 day Ignite course it’ll be second nature!

For content or technical enquiries please contact Will Richardson on 01765 609355

Ignite is a series of training courses on the production and supply of woodfuel. The series includes the award winning 3 day Ignite Intensive course that provides a technical award in woodfuel production and supply from Lantra Awards. Ignite courses have been developed and are run by Rural Development Initiatives Ltd.

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