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Pluscarden Abbey Monks Profit From New Biomass Boiler

By Kevin Burke
29th April, 2015

Monks at a Moray monastery are making a comfortable profit thanks to a new biomass boiler.

The boiler, at Pluscarden Abbey near Elgin, was fitted towards the end of 2012, and is making the Benedictine Order approximately £17,000 a year, the Press and Journal reports.

Previously, the monastery had a gas boiler, which cost around £40,000 every year to run, so the boiler replacement represents a significant change in the Order's fortunes.

Brother Michael De Klerk told the publication that the biomass boiler was greener, cheaper and quieter than its predecessor, and therefore its purchase was a "no-brainer".

He explained that the monastery had an outlay of from £300,000 to £350,000 in order to fit everything required for the biomass boiler. The appliance had to be fitted in several sections, including a boiler house and a wood shed.

Nonetheless, the Order is now spending just £6,000 on woodchips, Brother Michael added; this represents a saving of around £34,000.

Furthermore, thanks to the Renewable Heating Incentive scheme, the Order gets around £23,000 - so without the boiler, the monastery would have "gone bust", but instead it is making a profit, Brother Michael said.

He predicted that the boiler will secure the abbey's future for "some time to come".

The money the monastery is saving is being used for day-to-day living expenses, and the monks aim to have paid off the initial cost of the new boiler within the next five years.

Pluscarden Abbey dates back to 1230. Earlier this year, the monks revealed that they intend to restore the building's fourth and final wing to provide female accommodation for the first time in its 800-year history, in a plan that is expected to cost £4 million.

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