Belfast Telegraph

Brian Hood BS holdings: The new kid turns up the heat

Brian Hood, managing director of BS Holdings, predicts a bright future for the biomass industry, which, despite being in its infancy, is growing fast

How has your career brought you to your present position in BS Holdings? I started as an apprentice at Sheridan & Hood in 1987 and worked my way through each trade within the organisation, learning hands-on the technical requirements and how to run a successful business before becoming managing director in 2000.

In 2000, we diversified our offering by launching a new innovative pre-packaged plant room and boiler manufacturing division, BS Holdings, which initially manufactured gas boilers and in recent years the technology has been revolutionised to utilise biomass. I was not interested in joining the business originally and had my heart set on farming when I left school. But I had my arm twisted - and went to technical college. My qualifications are in electronics and micro-electronics, but I am much more focused on the mechanical side today, as that has most potential thanks to renewables.

Who are the three people to whom you owe your present success?

My father and mother, Stewart and Lorna Hood for driving me so hard to grow and develop my skills, and the organisation as a whole and my wife Sharon for always bearing with me.

What was the process which led up your contract with Lookers plc? Is there scope for other contracts in the motor industry?

We launched a pre-packaged plant room and biomass boiler manufacturing business, BS Holdings, which works in sync with our sister company Sheridan & Hood who provide the installation service for all the boilers. Having one point of contact with both companies able to deliver the complete all-round packages is a winning combination. We developed a modular system to avoid many of the problems associated with putting in single, large boilers, which are often very difficult to correct when they have problems. Developing our innovations further to produce the UK and Ireland's first small scale biomass heating and cooling plant has brought us to the attention of many large organisations who are seeking to improve their carbon emissions. We installed the first biomass plant room in Charles Hurst Ferrari Maserati in 2013, resulting in a number of additional installations in Northern Ireland. Just this week we have commissioned the first plant for Lookers, valued at £325,000 and delivered a second plant valued at £160,000.

Is this the biggest contract you have had? How will you deliver it?

Yes this is the biggest contract that BS Holdings Ltd has won to date. Lookers plc has endorsed the carbon saving technology and we will work hard delivering that.

How has biomass heating technology developed in the last few years? How has the company been able to exploit changes in the industry?

The industry has grown exponentially - especially within Northern Ireland - from nothing several years ago to a reasonably good market now. Northern Ireland has abundant local sources of biomass fuel and easy access to even more in nearby Scotland. Also, it has only recently implemented a natural gas grid so many buildings still rely on oil for heating. This makes them particularly well suited for conversion to biomass. Biomass accounts for 95% of the mainland UK efforts to reduce carbon emissions. While Northern Ireland has not replicated that growth we are two years behind the UK in the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme so there is room for improvement, which we will seek to be at the forefront of.

What are your predictions for the take-up of biomass systems over the next 10 years?

We have seen substantial growth in the uptake in our biomass systems over the last 24 months and would be hopeful that this growth will continue to grow year-on-year. It is very difficult to predict 10 years in an industry which is still very much in its infancy, but with a wealth of advocates for biomass across the United Kingdom and Ireland we would hope that the industry grows and develops in line with the UK and even Europe.

Do you feel that the Government's Renewable Heat Incentive is driving companies to invest in renewables?

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) should be driving growth, but the Executive has done little to promote it.

If improvements in advertising the RHI to the business community were made, a greater uptake would be gained. It would also be beneficial for the Executive or other organisations to provide upfront funding to get the projects specified.

Latte or flat white?

I don't drink coffee.

Muffin or cupcake?

Muffin.

Town or country?

Country.

Kindle or paperback?

Paperback.

Walk or drive?

Walk.

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