As its name implies, Heating in the Box is a box, or rather a semi-mobile container that includes all the biomass burner's components (see illustration), from the pellet hopper to the filter system that traps volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Because it is semi-mobile, the box can be easily moved and installed. More importantly, it can be connected to all types of existing systems and offer a dual-energy solution, giving users greater flexibility. "This modular system makes it possible to respond very precisely to different needs, without making the installation bigger than necessary," explains Stéphane Dumas, Project Manager at the M&S Strategy, Marketing and Research department.
The system delivers clear customer benefits by allowing users to reduce their energy costs with more competitively priced fuels (for example, a combination of wood pellets and heating fuel) while lowering their CO2 emissions by 80% in relation to a conventional heating solution. "Our sales ambition integrates a responsible approach to energy production. Helping our customers reduce their CO2 emissions is fully in line with our focus on being Committed to Better Energy." Further out, customers may have access to financing solutions such as leasing that would lessen the immediate cash outlay.
To demonstrate the concept's advantages to customers, M&S decided to install Heating in the Box on a real-world scale at its own sites. Thanks to Total Belgium's involvement and close cooperation with the M&S Strategy, Marketing and Research department, a first installation was inaugurated in late March at two service stations in Raeren, Belgium. This created a small heating network that can also be used by a neighboring hotel. As a result, the service stations transformed an expense into income, since they now sell calories to other network users. This pilot system has already attracted attention. Several potential orders are in the works and other Group sites such as the Oleum training school at the Dunkirk refinery in France have signaled their interest. For Benoît Luc, M&S Senior Vice President Europe: "The installation inaugurated in Belgium is a world first for the Group, and it's just a start. This project is set to be replicated at the regional, national and European levels."