Biomass Boilers: A Buyer’s Guide
Despite the most used form of renewable energy in the UK, little is known about biomass and exactly how they work. Fortunately, here at Phase NRG, we are experts in biomass boilers and have put together a brief guide on how to tell if they can benefit your home!
Biomass can mean a lot of things, but the most used form of biomass fuel is wood, in the form of wood chippings, wood pellets and logs. Other commonly used fuels include animals, foods and occasionally industrial waste. Biomass burning is extremely eco-friendly as the release of dangerous chemicals is minimal as are the waste products.
The boilers themselves come in lots of shapes and sizes. Smaller burners are available for heating a single room and larger back boilers can provide heat and hot water for a whole house. Before you purchase a wood burner, be sure to check out the rules and regulations on biomass burning, you can also check out the Renewable Heat Incentive.
Biomass boilers tend to be large, you will need at last 6 -7 cubic metres of space for fuel storage. It is important to keep your fuel undercover, especially if you are using wood pellets, which tend to become a mush if they become too wet.
The boiler will need to be serviced regularly and also be compatible with your plumbing, so it is essential that this is verified before installation. Also, you will need to find a decent fuel supplier.
So how to biomass boilers actually work? Well, burning wood fuel is by no means a new technology, but use of a biomass burner increases the efficiency dramatically and can convert up to 85% to 90% of the burnt fuel into heat energy. This is much more cost effective than a traditional log fire where most of the heat escapes up through the chimney.
In terms of fuel cost, wood chippings and pellets are definitely the cheapest form of fuel at between £0.03 and £0.04 per kWh. This is comparable to LPG at £0.08 and electricty at almost £0.15 per kWh.
A biomass boiler can be a worthy investment if you can accommodate one.