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Biomass Boilers
Play your part in reducing the UK carbon footprint.

Biomass Boilers

A biomass boiler uses affordable fuel to heat up water for use with both central heating and hot water requirements.

Biomass boilers are suitable for anything ranging from small domestic units to large commercial systems that can power multiple buildings.

For anyone who resides in an off-gas area, and therefore using expensive oil or LPG for heating, a biomass boiler is an excellent alternative to a regular gas boiler.

Pure Energy provide a full design and installation service for any size system.

biomass boiler
What is Biomass?

Biomass is biological material (carbon based) that is derived from either living or recently living organisms, and can be plant based or animal based. The fuel used to power biomass boilers will be plant based (wood) and is classed as Carbon Neutral, i.e. the carbon that is released when the fuel is burned is offset by the carbon that the living plant absorbed from the atmosphere (photosynthesis) while growing.

Biomass boilers are usually designed to burn fuel derived from wood, and the three main types are:

  • Wood Chip
  • Pellets
  • Logs

As long as new trees are planted to replace the cut down trees then this fuel is sustainable. Some of the wood used is waste material that would normally be left to decompose, so it makes perfect sense to reuse it.

As well as larger commercial use, biomass boilers are now becoming a viable option for domestic use - with the introduction in April 2014 of the goverment RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) scheme.

 

What are the benefits?

  • Reduced energy bills - biomass fuel is relatively cheap, especially compared to oil or LPG (50% fuel bill savings).
  • Carbon neutral - almost no net carbon emmissions are produced.
  • Return on investment - the RHI will pay you for all the heat generated by the boiler.

 

What are the differences between the wood fuel types?

Wood Chips
Wood Chippings
These are cheaper than pellets and are made from wood that is cut into small 'chippings' - typically 5-50mm in size. They have to be thoroughly dried to give a low moisture content and also have a relatively small bark content to give good combustion. They burn faster than pellets so a larger store will be needed. There are many local suppliers that can provide chipping ready to burn.
Wood Pellets
Wood Pellets
Pellets are slightly more expensive than chippings but take longer to burn due to the fact that they are made from compressed wood shavings and sawdust that are binded with resin. The cylindrical pellets are usually around 5-10mm in diameter and 20-30mm in length. Again they are dried during processing and provide a high density and easy to transport/store fuel.
Wood Logs
Wood Logs
Roughly chopped wood is not generally suitable for most biomass boilers, especially ones that feed in automatically because the logs can jam due to the irregular shapes and sizes of the log choppings. They could be used with small units that require manual loading. They will not burn as efficiently as pellets or chippings.

 

What does a Biomass system comprise of?

These are the main components that make up a full biomass system:

  1. The Biomass Boiler. The wood fuel is fed into a combustion chamber for burning, which then heats up water. Exhaust gases are then fed into a chimney flue to be safely removed.
  2. Buffer Tank. The hot water is fed into a large storage cylinder. This can then heat up water that is fed through it from various systems e.g. radiators or hot water pipes.
  3. Fuel Store & Feed. The wood fuel is loaded into storage, and then slowly automatically feeds into the boiler for burning as and when required.
Biomass System Configuration
A typical confuguration of a biomass boiler system.

 

Modern biomass boilers are much more advanced than old style wood stove burners. They have control systems to both increase efficiency and also make them operate 'cleanly'. Maintenance is very low and typically only the ash tray will need emptying periodically. Also, many boilers will have remote monitoring so that you can check on the system from a computer or mobile device.

If you would like more information or would like a survey/quote on replacing your current heating system then feel free to Contact Us.

 

 

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