What is Biomass Heating?
A biomass boiler is a wood fuelled heating system which provides both heating and hot water. This can be for a range of buildings including homes, schools and community centres. These boilers usually burn logs, wood pellets or wood chips to power your central heating system.
How does biomass heating work?
Biomass boilers simply burn wood to provide a heating source for the building they are used in. Pellet and chip-fed boilers often use automatic fuel feeders which are refilled from hoppers. A wood fuelled boiler will connect to your heating system to provide central heating and hot water.
What a biomass boiler means for you
Biomass boilers are particularly suited to community or district heating where one boiler heats more than one home. A biomass boiler will provide a very efficient heat source and is a low carbon option. This is because the CO2 emitted when the wood fuel is burned is usually around the same as the amount that was absorbed while the plants were growing. . As long as a proportionate number of new plants continue to be planted and grow in place of those used for fuel, then the process is sustainable. Find out more here [
Things to consider when thinking about biomass heating
• Space is the main consideration. You will need suitable space for the boiler and fuel store, which in community schemes will most likely need to be in a plant room. You‘ll also need to allow space for access of fuel delivery trucks
• What type of wood fuel would you prefer? There are different access requirements for each, and if you have your own woodland then using logs could offer a free source of fuel. If not, it is worth considering local, sustainable suppliers and the cost of different wood fuels.
• When considering your fuel supplier it is important to ensure that they supply the high quality wood (e.g. that it has been dried and stored correctly and using good source wood) this will make sure your boiler is as efficient as possible. You may also want to check that they will provide a consistent service that meets your supply needs
• There may be planning considerations if your site is located within a ‘designated area’
• If your system is a district heating system or a public building then your installation may qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive
What funding is available for Biomass Heating?
For individual heating systems the Renewable Heat Premium Payment is available. A £950 voucher can be claimed through the Energy Savings Trust, provided that certain criteria are satisfied, for more information see this guide on the Premium Payment scheme:
If however, you plan to install a district scheme or a heating system for a non-domestic property, then the installation will likely be eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive.
For example, in Doncaster a community heating scheme has installed a
500kW wood chip boiler to support 132 bungalows and 40 flats. As it is deemed a large biomass installation in the RHI biomass tariff , this will generate over £45,000 per annum in RHI income, resulting in a 7 year payback on the upfront cost.
It is planned that a Renewable Heat Incentive will be available for individual heating systems for one property from October 2012, the details of this are yet to be announced. For more information see: http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Generate-your-own-energy/Sell-your-own-energy/Renewable-Heat-Incentive
Where has Biomass Heating been successful?
British Gas Energy Office, Talbot Road, Manchester
The 150kW KWB Powerfire wood pellet boiler that we installed at the British Gas office in Manchester will generate around 225,000kW of renewable heat output per year, accommodating for the site’s requirement of 2,000kWh per day – or enough to heat the offices of xx people.
The estimated 11% fuel saving resulting from the install will result in an annual saving of around £15,000 on Talbot Road’s heating bills, whilst reducing the site’s carbon emissions by 104 tonnes of CO2 saving per year.
Greenland Flats, Sheffield
Two Fröling Turbomat 500kW boilers were installed in a community scheme in Sheffield meeting the heating demands of 4 blocks of flats, totalling 380 dwellings
The boilers are expected to use around 1,700 tonnes of locally sourced seasoned wood chip to supply approximately 5 million kWh of renewable biomass heat to the housing estate each year. The installation will mean 830 tonnes CO2 saving for the flats each year.
What is Biomass Heating?