Arbor ElectroGen45 - Alchemy Utilities

Biomass Gasification Comes of Age

The first professionally packaged small scale biomass CHP unit in the UK











Generate heat and electricity from woody biomass

Better returns than heat-only biomass technologies

Easy integration into existing heating systems

Deployment flexibility with indoor and outdoor models

More kWh per square metre than any comparable system on the market

The Arbor 45kWe unit generates 45kW of electricity and 100kW of heat and is designed to be installed either in an indoor location or can also be specified as a weatherproof acoustically attenuated outdoor plantroom . The quality and robustness of the engineering of the Arbor 45 unit is unparalleled within the small scale biogas CHP market, meaning that the system can operate longer, with less user interventions.

The system operates on dry (15% MC – dry basis) wood chips. The fuel feed mechanism is a reliable and proven system of chain conveyors and augers. The Gasifier unit is a proprietary downdraft design and has been proven in some of the harshest environments on earth.

I have done gasification research and development at VTT since 1981, Volter´s gasifier is the first ideal working downdraft gasifier that I have come across. Congratulations!”

Esa Kurkela

Development, VTT Technical Research

The lean burn nature of the air inlet means that fuel consumption is reduced and that the energy content of the gas is high. Before the gas is allowed into the engine, it is cooled and Particles within the syngas are filtered out using a dry filter with an automated cleaning function.

The engine is a robust and reliable 6 cylinder naturally aspirated inline unit which is designed for long service life.  There is no requirement for any other form of cleaning as the gas is tar free. The engine has been specifically designed by the manufacturer and Volter for operation on Wood Gas. It is an 8.4L naturally aspirated 6 cylinder in-line unit specifically designed for CHP duty.

Heat Output – Where does the heat come from?

The unit derives heat from 5 seperate sources. 4 of these sources being the engine cooling water, engine exhaust, syngas pre-cooling, syngas post filter cooling which are combined into a single hot water supply before connecting to the customers heating system.  The system automatically mixes these heat sources to maintain the heat output. Finally, the radiant heat (up to 20kw) from the Gasifier cabinet is captured independently. The arborElectroGen systems come complete with all the required RHI metering pre-installed as standard. These systems qualify for the ‘Biogas Combustion’ tariff, a flat rate (non-tiered) tariff that is drawn down on all of the heat produced by Biogas combustion (82kW) all year long. See the incentives section for more details.

Power – How does the Plant Produce Power?

The plant produces power via a generator which is located within the housing of the engine. The rotating mechanical power of the engine is converted into electricity using an induction motor. The motor is controlled and managed by a grid feeding unit which makes the power suitable for use by the customer and enables export and parallel operation on the National Grid. This grid feeding unit can also be specified to manage battery storage options making “off-grid” installations available in pre-packaged options. The arborElectroGen systems also come complete with all the required ROC metering pre-installed as standard. Due to the quality and energy content of the syngas produced, these systems qualify for the highest ROC banding available under the ‘Advanced Gasification’ tariff. This payment is claimed on all electricity generated regardless of weather it is used on-site or exported to the grid. See the incentives section for more details.

Available as a tailored package for indoor or outdoor locations.

The Arbor Electrogen 45 can be specified either as an indoor module, making the system incredibly compact for positioning within an existing building, or as a fully attenuated outdoor module where an existing building is not available. The basic engineering and underlying product is the same in both systems.

Arbor 45 Indoor installation

Arbor 45 Purpose Built Plant Room

Case Studies:

John Ruck Construction - Leominster


John Ruck Construction was founded in 1976 by John Ruck himself. John has been involved with steel fabrication since he was a boy and remains MD today, but the business has grown substantially over the years and now operates from purpose built premises in Herefordshire.

The arborElectrogen45 was the perfect solution that not only would be able to offset much of the sites existing electricity demand but would provide sufficient heat to add to the drying capacity of his existing operation and offset the need for space heating in his fabrication workshops.

Due to the high energy demands of the site John actually required a bank of three arborElectroGen45 systems to be installed. Each system works independently to feed heat to different buildings within the premises, and simultaneously generate electricity that is used to offset electricity that would have otherwise come from the National Grid, but outside of working hours will be exporting back to the grid. 

Not only will these systems offset a significant proportion of the sites energy demands but this coupled with the substantial benefits from the renewable incentives of Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC’s) and Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) means that the systems will provide an extremely attractive annual revenue to the site.

Boughton Estate - Northamptonshire


Boughton Estate has a thriving woodland management department. Nearly 25%, or 2500 acres, of Boughton Estate is covered in woodland and has been under the same management for over 300 years. 

Boughton harvest approximately 3500 tonnes of timber a year which can range from timber suitable for conversion into logs for stoves (often called cordwood) or woodchip boilers/CHP systems, to first quality ash and oak that may find itself into some of the furniture you might buy. Given the importance of the biodiversity in the woodland Boughton are very careful about how they harvest their wood so as to meet the sustainability requirements of the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Boughton have redeveloped their existing wood processing yard and building to now house a brand new drying floor and an arborElectrogen® 45. The newly installed CHP system produces all the renewable heat they require to now force dry the wood chip to the required level to produce a higher quality chip. All of the electricity produced by the system goes to offsetting the substantial uplift in electricity use that has occurred with the expanded operation with any of the excess being exported to the grid.

As part of the Buccleuch Estates Group, with sister estates in Scotland, the team at Boughton spent time investigating the options of CHP systems available. After extensive research including several site visits to operational installations in Scotland the arborElectrogen® was determined to be the perfect fit for the operation at Boughton. The Arbor system is the perfect size to make best use of the local resource from the estate. Because of the amount of chip the system requires, the amount it can dry for the local market its size and outputs fit really well with operation as a whole.

RM Group


RM Group supply and manufacture a wide range of manual & automated packaging machinery & systems. Including everything from Manual Bagging Machines, Robot Palletising Systems, Bulk filling and Material Handling systems, as well as supplying high speed Form Fill and Seal packaging lines and Horizontal Baling Machinery.

One of the biggest and growing costs of operating this type of business is energy. Keeping the buildings heated to a good temperature year round for the steel working and storage temperature, and operating the large machinery including laser cutters uses a huge amount of energy each year. 

In order to reduce the consumption of expensive fossil fuel energy RM Group Founder and Director Edward Rees looked into the potential of biogas CHP. The result was that a single arborElectrogen® 45 was the perfect fit to meet the site energy demands but importantly because of its compact nature, with a few modifications a suitable location was identified in an existing out building where the old oil tank was housed. Additionally, with an adjacent redundant water tank utilised for a woodchip fuel store the system was cleverly integrated without the need for any additional buildings.

In order to distribute the heat evenly around the factory 4 x 25kW space heaters were installed to provide an optimum working temperature in the workshop to maintain staff productivity. The electricity generated from the system is connected directly to the sites existing distribution board. Offsetting the vast majority of electricity that would have otherwise been imported from the grid. At times when the generation exceeds the onsite demands then the electricity is exported back to the grid.

3 Counties Wood Fuel - Leominster


A family run business by David Saer his son Louis, 3 Counties Wood Fuels source round timber from sustainable sources heavily supported by the Forestry commission and also private estates who manage their own woodlands. David and Louis diversified their timber harvesting business Chalford Timber which has been established for 35 years into 3 Counties Wood Fuels and has successfully progressed as a business over the last 35 years. The complete site operation and management is undertaken by 23 year old Louis who has always had a personal interest in renewables.

Louis has seen the business evolve and continues to grow as biomass technologies become more widespread. With a huge increase in demand for dry, high quality wood chip it lead the team at 3 Counties to increase their on-site drying capacity. Whilst previous drying had been done with traditional biomass boilers Louis was keen to explore the use of the next generation technology that would not only provide him with heat but a way to offset the large amounts of electricity that they use on a daily basis. Having the arborElectroGen 45 systems installed on his site, allows more heat production, in turn allowing drying of more wood chip. Simultaneous production of electricity onsite, allows the business to be more competitive with their woodchip sales, they are able to be more efficient and competitive with the price in the market.

After looking at other CHP systems, Louis was drawn to the look and attention to detail of the arborElectroGen 45 system, with a background of using forest machinery manufactured in Finland, this allowed Louis to feel certain that Arbor and the arborElectroGen45 were the right company and product for his site and further progression into the renewables sector.

The site incorporates two arborElectroGen 45 biogas CHP systems in conjunction with a Pezzolato EPG100 fuel pre-treatment system. This set up allows the drying and screening of chip for the two CHP systems with a significant excess produced that is then sold on to clients of 3 Counties for use in their own renewable systems.

Alton Court - Hereford


The Wellings family have been at Alton Court in Herefordshire for over 120 years. Will who is the 5th generation of farmers with his brother Richard and his father Stuart. They are predominantly beef and arable farmers with the addition of cider orchards producing apples for Gaymers, Aston Manor and Bulmers since the 1940’s. The first Bulmers cider was pressed by H P Bulmer in 1887, using apples from the orchard at his fathers rectory in Hereford. Since then the Bulmers brand has expanded globally, but still relies on the supply of quality apples from local orchards in Herefordshire, some of which are grown at Alton Court.

As their business has expanded, ultimately so have the energy demands of the site. With a desire to reduce both their carbon footprint and the electricity bills of the business they began their research into a selection of different renewable systems. 

The decision to choose the Arbor 45 system was due to the fact that the technology was more proven and the figures ultimately were more favourable than other similar systems. Will states that one of the main benefits is that the Arbor system uses less wood at a higher moisture content, allowing the fuel costs to be lower than with other systems available.

The existing biomass boiler manages to provide most of the sites demands for heat, heating the farm house, farm office and workshop, which means that the heat from the CHP can be used for wood drying. Therefore, Will added a Pezzolato EPG50 wood drying and screening system to his site. This addition has allowed Will to buy cheaper wood and dry chip for both the Arbor 45 CHP system and for his existing biomass boiler, while becoming a net exporter of electricity.

Old Ballikinrain House - Glasgow


The Percy family, of Old Ballikinrain, Balfron, Glasgow, have now lived at the residence for over 15 years. The family built up the site from a nearly derelict building to the beautiful home as it stands today. From as far back as 12 years ago they used timber from their own surrounding woodland in their wood burning stoves and log burning boilers. They soon appreciated the benefit of producing logs that were of sufficient quality to efficiently heat their own home. 

To increase production of their firewood, two complete arborElectrogen® biogas heat and power units have been installed. These units are powered by woodchip and generate all the electricity and heat that is used by the family in their homes and wood yard.

The installation of these market leading systems has provided the Percy’s with a number of benefits to be able to grow their business rapidly. Huge savings on what would have been increased diesel bills, electricity that is generated is used by both the upgraded drying systems but for all other uses in the building on site.

The compact and tidy nature of the systems meant that he could get a greater energy output from two arborElectroGen systems in the same space compared with other alternatives.

It is clear from WoodforFuel founder Melvyn that there is a real passion and understanding of the importance to achieve the highest, clean quality product for their fuel customers. The site operation is a testament to this and a perfect example of how to run a successful family woodchip business. The woodchip and logs are dried on powerful drying floors and in a purpose built kiln to establish the correct moisture content for each product. To ensure consistent quality and supply is one of a handful of suppliers in Scotland that are accredited under the Woodsure Plus scheme which is run by HETAS.

East Reston Farm - Eyemouth


Father and Son, David and Pete Allan, are predominantly arable farmers and potato growers but also have a residential property development business. Situated North of Berwick-upon-Tweed, near Eyemouth, David and Pete’s business covers 2000 acres of arable farmland and 400 acres of potato land. With business energy usage rising and the company growing just as rapidly an alternative energy source was required to ensure that energy bills remained manageable. 

Following the extensive research, the decision was to select two arborElectrogen®45 systems. One of the key factors in the decision was the ease of installation and the pre-shipping factory testing that is undertaken on the arborElectroGen®. Both of which considerably cut down the installation and commissioning time on site that can be crucial to getting a system installed within a tight timescale.

David Allan explains the decision to invest in the biogas CHP systems: The market for potatoes lasts 12 months of the year so being able to preserve them to release into the market at particular times is extremely important. To do this the potatoes are cooled to 2 degrees Celsius and stored in tonne box creates. When a gap in market appears the potatoes are removed from the cold store to be graded. However, to stop them bruising before they are graded they have to be warmed up to around 8 degrees Celsius this is where heat from the two arborElectroGen® systems comes in. Prior to the installation of this unit this ‘reheating’ process was using 1,000,000kWh a year of expensive fossil fuel.

As well as the potato processing, East Reston Farm use a drying floor to dry the grain from the 2000 acre farm. They were previously spending around £35,000 per year on diesel to fuel the drying floor. By installing a 500kW boiler and two arborElectroGen® units they were able to cut bills by two thirds.

Along with drying grain, they plan on drying their own wood fuel. By drying fuel onsite cost drops by approximately 50% for the two units. Consequently, along with this massive saving the excess chips will then be sold creating another valuable income.

Fuel and consumption

Fuel Wood chips (tested species: birch, spruce, pine,
Fuel moisture <18%, optimum <15%
Fuel particle size >80% between 16-50mm, >60% between 30-50mm,
≤9% 50-63mm, all below 63mm. ≤
1% below 3.2mm
Fuel consumption approx. 4.5 cubic metres /24h at full power level,
38kg per hour. May vary depending on the fuel
quality and moisture
Electrical consumption: approx. 1.5-2 kW
Ash produced: approx 1-2% of input fuel
Ash removal: Automatic ash removal


Arbor 45 Indoor

Output: Output 45kW electrical.
82kW heat from engine jacket & exhaust,
up to 18 kW from Gas cooling, up to 20kW
radiant heat from housing. Electrical output can
be adjusted between 30-100%.
Dimensions of the unit: Length 4820mm, Width 1270mm, Height 2500mm
Free space for maintenance (minimum): 1200mm on both sides or
1200mm in between each unit if installed side by
side, 1000mm in control panel end ,1000mm in
ash conveyor end
Weight of the unit: approx. 4500kg
Dimensions of grid feeding unit (separate installation by the unit): Length 500mm, width 600mm, height 1800mm
Weight of G59 grid feeding unit (separate): approx. 200kg

Key Product Features

Zero Tar Solution

A common problem with other gasification systems is their propensity to generate a sticky tar residue downstream of the Gasifier. The Arbor Electrogen 45 produces extremely low levels of tar.  Consequently the messy removal and handling of tar is not required with the system  thanks to the automation system if any conditions are sensed that would impact the operation (e.g. fuel too wet) then the system will automatically lock down the gas lines with pneumatic valves preventing any poor quality gas ingress into the system.

Lowest Fuel Consumption

The Arbor Electrogen 45 uses less fuel to create a kWh of power compared to other systems by generating 45kW every hour with just 38kg of wood chips. This is 0.84g per kW of electricity (at 15% Moisture content)

Sophisticated Automation

Our automation system takes the hassle out of day to day operation, and means that the plant can be completely remotely monitored and controlled from any location with a data connection. Off grid solutions are also available.

Robust Engine

Volter, together with Agco, the engine manufacturer, have developed this engine specifically to run wood gas. Consequently, there has never been a requirement for a single engine replacement from all the installations worldwide. The lead unit has been running trouble free for over 6 years.

Quality Engineering

Many of our customers undertook extensive research into our competitors before making the decisions to purchase the ArborElectrogen 45 system. In every case they stated they had made their selection on the basis of the quality of materials used, the extensive in house development and the outstanding engineering with a world leading supply base which cumulatively helps ensure the ability to operate for years to come – we are not prepared to compromise quality for cost.

All The Right Things

We are able to assist clients in either sourcing fuel from the market or creating and drying their own fuel.

Contact us for more information