What is Biomass Heating?
Biomass heating is simply the burning of biological material such as plants to produce heat. The logs that you put on a fire are a simple example of a basic biomass fuel. However, biomass heating has advanced dramatically from basic log fires. Highly sophisticated boilers are now available that very efficiently and automatically burn wood chips or wood pellets in order to heat your central heating and hot water systems. Such systems have been widely used for many years on the continent in countries such as Denmark, Germany, Austria and Italy but are now increasingly being installed in the UK due to their carbon neutrality and low cost compared to traditional fossil fuels.
Why is Biomass Heating good for the environment?
Biomass boilers are classed as being ‘Carbon Neutral’ and therefore do not contribute to Global Warming. As trees grow, they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis. When the wood is subsequently burnt, that same amount of Carbon is released back into the atmosphere and thus there is no net increase in Carbon and no impact on the environment. Compare this with the burning of fossil fuels such as oil and gas where the Carbon has been locked away for millions of years – until we burn it and release it.
Biomass is also a renewable energy. Trees are specifically grown to produce biomass fuel in sustainable forests that are constantly replanted as trees are felled. The fuel can be grown in many parts of the world and thus we are not dependant on the traditional fossil fuel sources. Waste wood from sawmills and manufacturers which may otherwise end up as landfill can also be used for the production of wood pellets.
Even the ash makes a great fertilizer for the garden.
Installing a Biomass boiler will dramatically improve the Environmental impact of your premises, reducing your use of fossil fuels and reducing your carbon footprint. This is a very valuable public relations story for your customers who will be increasingly aware of global warming and the need to work with companies with impressive Green credentials.
What about fuel?
The best fuel to use in biomass boilers are wood pellets. As the name suggests, these are made of 100% natural wood. Fine sawdust is compressed under high pressure and the naturally occurring oils in wood help to bind it together into small cylindrical pellets.
The pellets are clean and very easy to store. Their standard size and shape makes them ideally suited to the automatic feeders that are used in modern biomass boilers.
We source wood pellets from suppliers who comply with the European fuel quality assurance scheme CEN/TS15234
How do the boilers work?
A suitable location will be needed for your Biomass boiler container. In most cases this will be an external area that is within easy reach of your existing boiler room. The containerised systems have 2 compartments. The first is a store for your wood pellets which will be refilled monthly or as required. The second compartment, separated by a fire resistant wall, will house your Biomass boiler and any associated buffer vessel, controls and pipework.
Alternatively the system can be fitted indoors if space permits where you will have the pellet store and Biomass boiler in adjacent rooms.
An automatic fuel feeder in the form of an auger will take the pellets through a pipe from the store directly to the boiler. The boiler will burn the pellets as required by the demand for heat from your central heating or hot water system. The water surrounding the combustion chamber is heated and circulated through flow and return pipes into your existing hot water distribution system. If necessary, a buffer vessel will often be installed too. Your existing boilers will normally remain in place and will kick in whenever needed to supplement the base load provided by the Biomass boiler.
The Biomass boiler is fitted with automatic cleaning and ash collection systems to keep routine maintenance to an absolute minimum.