What is Biomass?
Today’s wood-fueled heating systems, now called biomass heating, run on wood logs, chips or pellets. The burn and gasification process in modern boilers is over 93% efficient with only 0.5% – 1% ash remaining.
The wood fuel supplied is grown in agricultural forests, which are harvested and re-grown. The burning process generates ash, water vapour and CO2. All of these are used to re-grow organic matter. Since this cycle lasts 10 – 15 years it is deemed to be CO2 neutral. This compares with fossil fuel, which has a recycling period of millions of years.
Biomass heating systems can be adopted to many needs: from small domestic dwellings to large commercial applications and buildings. However, the 3 main types of biomass heating have different implications for the customer:
Logs – are suited to those who own or have ready access to large volumes (tonnes) of cut to size, seasoned wood. This wood is normally efficiently burnt in batch over several hours and the heat output stored in large well-insulated accumulator tanks which will store 1000’s of litres of hot water. This accumulated hot water is then used over a longer period to provide space heating and domestic hot water maybe over several days.
Wood chip – is more suited to those that have space for a large storage silo and have mechanical handling equipment to feed the silo (although the chip can be augered or blown in). Again there is normally a certain amount of heat storage in hot water buffer tanks which is used to provide a fairly instantaneous source of heat, and also as a store for heat from residual fuel after the property heat demand has stopped.
Wood pellet – is similar in many ways to running an oil heating system with pellet fuel deliveries every few months which are either vacuum fed in to a silo directly from a delivery lorry or delivered in bags for the customer to manually fill a smaller hopper in proximity to the boiler. Buffer storage is also a factor for these boilers.
Why use Biomass?
- You will have a warm house, office, school, workshop, stables, factory or even district heating systems.
- Will operate effectively with legacy heating systems originally installed for other traditional heat sources i.e. gas and oil
- An efficient wood fired heating system with a life span of well over 25 years.
- Improved fuel costs compared to LPG, electricity and oil (over the long term)
- You could obtain a significant return on investment through the Renewable Heat Incentive for 20 years for commercial and 7 years for domestic applications.