HEREFORDSHIRE firewood company Certainly Wood has launched a new £400,000 firewood processing line – said to be among the largest of its kind in the world.

Part funded by the Rural Development Programme for England under the Countryside Productivity Forestry Grant scheme, the development is part of Certainly Wood’s ongoing commitment to sustainable methods, as it gives the business the means to deal with woodland thinnings of all sizes.

The new processor was manufactured by Italian firm Pinosa and runs alongside Certainly Wood’s existing Pinosa machine. It can handle trees of up to 780 mm in diameter and increases output with up to 100 tonnes produced each day.

Working alongside the manufacturer, Certainly Wood has also developed a grading system which sorts out the larger logs having been initially split and sends them to another machine to split them again – once a time-consuming process done by hand.

The logs then pass over a final cleaning system to remove any smaller pieces of wood that don’t make the grade, with any waste product going to the boiler to be fed into the kilns. The final quality product is sent directly to an automatic bin-filling system. This will enable the business to achieve its target output of 20,000 tonnes per annum of British kiln-dried logs and around 2,000 tonnes of poplar kindling.

Certainly Wood has also increased production of its wood wool and wax natural firelighters to 10 million.

Commenting on the machine, officially named Processo thanks to a competition run with a local forest school, Madley Primary, Certainly Wood’s Nic Snell said: “We’re constantly looking at new ways to be mindful about the planet – the kilns we use to dry our logs are primarily fired by our own wood waste whilst much of our electricity comes from our solar panels.

“We have seen a significant rise in the cost of raw materials over the last 12 months, which has not only increased firewood costs, but also that of drying it too. This new investment will help to offset some of these increases and keep costs of processing to a minimum.

“In 2019, we’ve changed our packaging so that our bags are 100 per cent recyclable and are made using 30 per cent recycled materials. Our logs also adhere to the Ready to Burn standard meaning they contain under 20 per cent moisture, ensuring they burn longer and hotter creating a cleaner burn to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal particulate emissions.

“We send out postage-paid bags with all the bulk bags we sell, allowing customers to return them free of charge via Collect Plus so they can be reused.”