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Doncaster heating firm doubles turnover through biomass

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A Doncaster firm of heating engineers has doubled its turnover within a year thanks to a hike in orders for its bespoke biomass boiler systems.

RN Mechanical designs and builds made-to-measure renewable energy systems which generate heat and hot water for schools, stately homes including Chatsworth House, business premises, farms and industrial-sized greenhouses used by commercial flower growers.

The family firm, which has four generations of heating and ventilation know-how behind it, has seen demand for its self-contained biomass plant rooms, called Biopods, shoot up, with orders representing 80 per cent of its business today compared to 20 per cent a year ago.

This steep growth in the renewables, means RN Mechanical (RNM) achieved a record turnover of £3 million last year – twice the size of the previous year’s figure – and anticipates handling £4 million worth of orders before the end of this financial year (April 2015).

The company’s rapid expansion has been supported by Business Doncaster, a partner in the South Yorkshire Sector Growth Enhancement Programme (SYSGEP), which is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Yorkshire and The Humber ERDF Programme (2007-13).

RN Mechanical has had help in finding property, assessing funding packages, developing local supply chains and has been introduced to commercial customers looking at renewable energy to reduce their overheads and their carbon footprint.

RN Mechanical has just shipped its largest order yet for biomass boilers to a Sussex school.

In the deal worth over £1 million, the company has supplied Bede’s independent school with three Biopods to produce heating and hot water for over 2,000 staff and students.

RN Mechanical managing director Richard Nicklin said:

“This is our biggest biomass order yet and builds on growing interest in our green technology systems, both large and small.”

RNM’s Biopods, which are fuelled by wood chip pellets from renewable forests, are housed within stand-alone units tailored to meet customers’ energy requirements through the company’s own flexible, modular design system.

RN Mechanical handles every aspect of design, build, delivery and installation as well as remote monitoring and maintenance.

Richard said:

“Our Biopods arrive at customers’ premises as finished products and we get them connected to customers’ existing systems and up-and-running within days, with minimal disturbance.

“We then monitor the boilers virtually and see to any required maintenance.

“Our customers know how well their heating systems are performing and how much carbon they’re saving which, for schools, is a great way to teach their children about climate change.

“Our biomass innovation has had a massive impact on this business and it’s currently saving our customers about 3,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.”

Richard added that, biomass boiler systems allow customers to earn valuable green energy paybacks from the government-funded “Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme”, and other tax reliefs and low emissions incentives.

Richard said:

“Biomass is efficient, clean and much more responsive than it used to be thanks to our design improvements and virtual monitoring.

With the added bonus of giving customers an excellent return on investment, we are not surprised that renewables are such an area of growth for us.”

Business Doncaster helped RN Mechanical find a new 10,000 square foot factory to allow space for construction of Biopods, at Adwick-le-Street in Doncaster a year ago.

In addition, RNM have been introduced to local supply chains, potential customers, funding packages and other agencies.

Marysia Dubeck, Business Doncaster’s sector growth manager for energy and environmental technologies said:

“It is fantastic to see an established Doncaster company at the cutting edge of innovation in the renewables industry.

“RN Mechanical’s strength is that they do everything for the customer – through bespoke design, construction and delivery to day-to-day maintenance.

“They use their expertise and experience to present a complete package that is proving very attractive.”

RN Mechanical installed one of its first biomass boilers at Chatsworth House in 2012 and this heats the Duke of Devonshire’s estate office and other estate properties.

Other country homes such as Stowell Park in the Cotswolds and Alton Manor in Derbyshire are RNM customers.

Flower growers including Redford Flowers, of Spalding, Lincolnshire, have turned to the company to maintain temperatures at their large nurseries, where they grow flowers for supermarkets and garage forecourts.

Richard’s grandfather, Arthur Nicklin set up a Doncaster heating engineering business in the 1930s.

His father Peter continued in the trade and Richard set up RN Mechanical in 1999 with his son David, who has led on much of the design work for the Biopod. RN Mechanical employs a workforce of 16.

RN Mechanical is now looking at further innovation and R&D developments which will help them continue their growth.

Richard Nicklin of RN Mechanical
Richard Nicklin of RN Mechanical

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