Heating oneself by burning wood was one of our first discoveries, dating back to the Stone Age. Why then is the concept of using wood for central heating in the twenty-first century so divisive? Plants and other species based on plants are the primary sources of biomass. The most common types of fuel used in home boilers are wood in the form of logs, chips, or pellets.
Extra carbon dioxide from gas and oil boilers is one of the main causes of climate change. However, biomass releases just the same amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as it is absorbed during photosynthesis. Carbon neutrality has been achieved. Putting to good use wood that would otherwise be thrown away is an additional benefit. If that weren’t enough to persuade you, consider that new trees may be planted indefinitely while the gas, coal, and oil we use now took millions of years to develop.
Wood is the most common material used in biomass fuel production. It could be whole logs, wood chips, or pellets made from ground-up sawdust and shavings. Because many biomass boilers may be run on logs that are found for free if you know where to search, they are cheaper per kilowatt-hour than gas, electricity, and oil. A biomass boiler’s primary drawback is the fact that it might be 10 times as costly as a gas system. Boilers can range in price from £4,000 to £10,000, with the smaller, manual ones costing that much more. Larger, fully automated boilers can cost anywhere from £9,000 to $21,000. A biomass boiler’s energy efficiency ranges from 88% to 91%, making it on par with the most energy-efficient gas, oil, and electric boilers. This implies for every £1 you spend on energy, just 9 – 12p is wasted.
Biomass Boiler, Maintenance
Manual biomass boilers have a bad record for requiring a lot of upkeep due to the frequent checks and cleaning they need on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. For instance, once a week you should check the ash level and remove it, once a week you should clean the combustion chamber, and once every few days you should add fuel by hand.
Automated biomass boilers, on the other hand, need almost no routine maintenance due to their increased fuel capacity, self-cleaning capabilities, and ability to reload themselves via an integrated hopper. You’ll only have to add fuel every few weeks, and the ash can be emptied once a year at most. Professional maintenance is suggested once per year for any boiler to ensure optimal performance.
The size of the biomass boiler is the most crucial consideration, since it is significantly larger than gas, oil, or electric boiler, and even more so if an automatic hopper is installed at the same time. A reasonable estimate of the space required is around 10m2, and this includes the fuel storage and expansion vessel. Fuel can be stored outside, but it needs to be protected from the elements and conveniently transported to the boiler. To keep everything in one place, some individuals utilize garages, while others construct sheds. A smaller, manual, hand-fed boiler may be preferable for smaller households, provided regular fuel topping off is not an issue.
In addition, a tall chimney designed for wood burning is required. Flue materials can be added to an old chimney to make it usable for a new purpose, although this could be an expensive endeavor. It’s important to have enough room for storing your fuel of choice, and for delivery, trucks to conveniently reach the region.
Carbon emissions from homes with gas or oil boilers are increasing at an alarming rate. Biomass fuel production is carbon neutral since it releases the same amount of carbon to the atmosphere that it took in as a tree. Also, we will always have access to this fuel so long as we keep growing trees. Since natural gas, coal, and oil take millions of years to create, and we are utilizing them at an exponentially higher rate, we are running out quickly. The ash generated by biomass boilers can be used as soil fertilizer, and the amount of wood waste sent to landfills decreases. In a sense, this means that the trees go back to their roots and start the cycle all over again.
Per kilowatt, biomass fuel is much less expensive than oil and electricity and only marginally less expensive than gas. Fuel expenditures can be eliminated entirely if you have access to a free supply of wood. The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was established in 2014 as an incentive for us to switch.
The government will reimburse you 4.21p* per kilowatt-hour of energy used to heat your home if you install a biomass boiler that has been certified by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) (up to a maximum of 25,000kWh). The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) that your building should already have served as the basis for this estimate. Every year, for 7 years, you will receive a payment every quarter.
Fuel given in large quantities says an entire year’s worth, is the most eco-friendly and cost-effective option. Be sure that you have a large, dry, and secure space to store the fuel and that you can get it delivered to your home if you order a significant quantity. Storing materials close to the boiler reduces the need for transporting bulky items across long distances.
You might arrange for many deliveries at different times of the year if this isn’t feasible, but this would increase your ongoing costs. If that’s the case, it’ll save you money to stick with vendors in the neighborhood. Logs you cut yourself are a free way to avoid these costs, but they need to dry out in a dry, enclosed area for a long period before they can be used; otherwise, they will generate smoke and tar when burned.
Caluwe, Inc; Biomass Boiler Maryland
It’s true that not everyone needs a biomass boiler. You have fewer alternatives because there are fewer models available than there are with gas or oil-burning boilers. They take up a lot of room compared to the sleek, small gas and oil boilers, so they aren’t a practical solution for every house. A huge quantity of physical fuel is also required, which creates issues with transport and storage. No matter how infrequently it’s necessary, some individuals are turned off by the thought of having to manually add fuel or clean out the ash. In addition, they have a much higher initial investment compared to gas or oil boilers.
While a biomass boiler may not be the best option for everyone, there are some valid considerations. Because of the severity of the environmental problems we confront and the government’s dedication to the RHI, it’s safe to assume that this is not a passing idea. Most of us are making conscientious attempts to lessen our impact on the earth by engaging in activities like recycling and using reusable bags because we are aware of the harm caused by carbon emissions.
In addition to our duty to care for the environment, the possibility of receiving fuel at no cost is highly enticing. The hefty initial cost is mitigated somewhat by the RHI payments. Biomass boilers are as energy efficient as any other form of boiler and may even save you money in the long run if you can afford one, have enough room in your home, and don’t mind putting in a little effort to maintain the system.