Pedralbes and other unique buildings surrender to the heat of Termosun's biomass

Palacio de Pedralbes uses biomass

The Pedralbes Palace of Barcelona has been one of the last unique buildings of the national geography to incorporate biomass powered equipment for thermal uses, that is, to meet the demand for heat and Sanitary Hot Water (ACS).

The building, declared of Cultural Interest, has renovated its facilities with a boiler Heart 500 kW firematic, which is supplied with wood pellets, and replaces the two obsolete gas boilers installed almost 40 years ago. Once the equipment's life has been exceeded and its current performance is out of date with respect to the current energy efficiency values, the site renovation project has opted to change the energy source and switch to biomass. With this action in the main building of the complex, which has 8.082 m², efficient criteria are prioritized and complies with the European directives for reducing CO emissions2.

The list of monumental constructions that have opted for the Austrian technology offered by the Catalan firm swell it: the Abbey of Monserrat (Barcelona); the Monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña, in Castrillo del Val (Burgos); the Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos (Burgos); the Monastery of the Star in San Asensio (La Rioja); and the Sanctuary of Javier (Navarra).

And although pellet and splinter-fed equipment seems to fit perfectly to the demands of these temples, the conclusion that biomass was the best energy solution did not come by divine inspiration. In fact, the arguments put forward by those responsible for Heritage of the different territorial entities were more earthly. All these unique buildings are characterized by their large dimensions that, although difficult to heat, have enough space for solid biofuel storage.

Another peculiarity that these constructions share is that they are far from the urban centers, located at points that do not have the necessary channeling to deliver natural gas, and usually cover their demand for energy with diesel or propane, more expensive than natural gas In these cases, "biomass is a very competitive energy solution”, Says Xavier Piñero, engineer and commercial director of Thermosun, which considers natural gas as "a tough rival for biomass."


The truth is that behind each of these facilities there is a history, generally of saving in the energy bill, although other factors converge in the final decision of the change to biomass. “In the end, in the 95% of the cases, the most important condition is the economic one, although other circumstances also influence such as, for example, the forest use that is practiced in the area, which is decisive to guarantee the supply of biofuel at a good price, ”says Piñero.

The improvement in the energy classification of the building and the need to project an image that is committed and respectful of the environment also intervene in the decision, because according to the representative of Termosun, “sometimes it meets the compliance of a directive of the local authority that forces a reduction in CO emissions2 at the municipal level ”, and the energy consumption of these buildings has an important weight in this balance.

The size of these monasteries, sanctuaries and abbeys makes them large facilities with high energy costs, so direct savings are also high. The savings generated by the use of biofuel oscillates, according to the particularities of each case, between 20% and 50%, depending on the reference we take: the pellet in relation to natural gas, the pellet in relation to diesel, or the splinter referenced to natural gas or diesel. Even though savings cases of up to 70% occur when the installation is limited to a municipality with abundant industrial waste of wood or the municipality itself is a forest owner.

In the case of the Abbey of Montserrat, the contract with the property included a savings proposal between 10% and 20% of its bill, during 10 years, through the modality of energy purchase from the Services Company Energy (ESE) contracted, which assumes the investment of the installation, which becomes the property of the Abbey, after those first years 10.

In the opinion of the manager of Termosun the difficult thing in this type of singular buildings is to get the first. Once the proper functioning and savings generated by the biomass in the first one are demonstrated, similar projects soon arrive. Other representative buildings that supply their heating needs with equipment of the same brand are the headquarters of the Presidency of the Junta de Castilla y León (Valladolid) and the Atapuerca Museum Foundation in Ibeas de Juarros (Burgos).

Although we also find other examples in residential, sanitary, educational or sports facilities. At the La Molina ski resort, in the Catalan Pyrenees, the annual consumption of diesel is estimated at 98.840 euros, currently its biomass installation would work using splinter worth 38.662 euros. However, the cost is reduced even more in this case, because more than 50% the splinter comes from its facilities, causing the direct cost of this splinter to be around 15.000 euros, and exceeding savings of 80%.

TERMOSUN and HERZ are exhibiting firms at EXPOBIOMASA