Just what is a biomass boiler?

Biomass boilers are specifically designed to burn a type of solid fuel that is classed as “biomass”. Sounds simple enough, but what is “biomass” anyway and how does this affect home users?

Well biomass is a type of fuel derived from organisms that are either living now or were recently living. Sounds a bit barbaric, but don’t worry, we’re essentially talking about plant-based materials such as wood chips, wood pellets or logs but also agricultural materials such as straw or grain husks. They can also burn the dust from rice or olive kernels and even sawdust.

Wood is one of the largest biomass energy sources in use today as it’s readily available from well managed areas and wood that can’t normally be used for anything useful such as furniture, can readily be converted for use in a biomass boiler. Dead trees, branches and tree stumps can be easily used as a biomass fuel when normally they would simply go to waste and end up in landfill.

The great thing is, biomass is renewable, low carbon and easily available throughout the UK. If correctly managed it is fully sustainable and it can deliver a significant reduction in carbon emissions, especially when compared with fossil fuels.

Typically, the sort of people who would use a biomass boiler are those not connected to the gas mains and who have to rely on LPG or oil fired heating. In these situations is is usually far cheaper to convert to a biomass system which can provide your heating and hot water.

How about in the summer? I don’t want to heat the house to get hot water!

You’re usually only going to need 5-10% of the boiler rating to heat hot water, much less than when heating and the boilers run at maximum efficiency when running all the time. Therefore a correctly sized “buffer vessel” will allow you to operate the boiler for short periods, say once or twice a week, to charge the vessel. The water can then be drawn from the buffer vessel as and when required.

Can I fit one to my existing heating system?

Yes! It is, in essence, just like any other boiler however they generally run at a much higher temperature and therefore the pressure is also higher so we often suggest a plate heat exchanger between the new boiler and the existing system.

We recommend you seek out a competent company to fit your boimass boiler, as you would any other boiler however you should look for one that is experienced in this particular area and has a long and successful track record.

Please contact us on 01244 670 89001244 670 890 if you’d like more information or check out our website :