New 8.55t Fuso Canter fuels biomass boiler firm’s growth

Customers on the Isle of Wight who rely on biomass to heat their homes, schools, hotels and other establishments, are now receiving regular deliveries of fuel from a ‘mini’ wood pellet tanker based on one of Britain’s first 8.55-tonne Fuso Canters.

The vehicle wears the logo of Island Sustainable Heat & Power (iSHP), a recently launched offshoot of Cowes-based Clarke’s Mechanical, an established supplier and installer of wood chip and wood pellet boilers.

The Canter 9C18 chassis arrived via Mercedes-Benz Dealer Sparshatts of Kent – the German manufacturer’s franchised UK network is also responsible for sales and support of the popular Fuso light truck range.

Its bodywork, meanwhile, was sourced through Hooklift Solutions, of Davenham, Cheshire, the UK agent for French company Transmanut, Europe’s largest supplier of biomass delivery systems.

An increasingly popular alternative fuel source to heating oil and lpg, wood pellets must conform to strict rules regarding their calorific value and maximum ash content. They must also be fed pneumatically into the customer’s storage silo or bunker, by a tanker equipped with dust extraction and certified ‘charge by weight’ equipment.

Clarke’s mechanical director Simon Clarke identified an opportunity to provide his customers on the Isle of Wight with a cost-effective wood pellet delivery service.

He approached Hooklift Solutions but its smallest previous tanker – a 16-tonner with 9-tonne pellet capacity – was too big. 

The 7.5-tonne Fuso Canter was also discounted because, despite offering the highest body and payload potential in its segment, the projected maximum load of 3.5 tonnes of pellets was deemed insufficient.

The new 8.55-tonne Canter, however, has a 6-tonne allowance of a typical 10-tonne truck, which allows it to carry of 4.5 tonnes of pellets.

It also offers the outstanding agility of its similarly-sized 7.5-tonne sibling, making it ideally suited to operation on the island’s rural lanes and at customers’ premises where access is restricted.

As well as installing biomass systems for which it supplies locally sourced wood chip in addition to wood pellets, iSHP offers solar heating and hot water, heat recovery and collection, and wind energy services.

The company’s first truck is powered by a range-topping 129 kW (175 hp) common-rail engine which drives through a smooth-shifting, fully automated Duoconic dual clutch transmission.

Factory-installed optional features include air conditioning, a 62 kW transmission PTO which powers the pneumatic discharge equipment and 24v provision for the weighing system.

Transmanut’s compact and non-pressurised body, meanwhile, can be loaded by shovel, conveyor or direct from a silo.

“We’re delighted with the Canter, which is very easy to drive and performing exactly as we’d hoped it would,” said Clarke.

“It’s allowed us to offer new customers a complete service which now comprises fuel supplies as well as installation and servicing of their boilers.

“We’re also picking up orders from customers who relied previously on deliveries of fuel from large companies based on the mainland.

“They have to send big tankers over but this raises access issues and means they can’t match us in terms of flexibility of service.”

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