Biomass – Wood Fuelled Heating

Biomass is plant material such as wood that you can use to heat your home - it is efficient, carbon neutral, and can save you a significant amount of money on your heating bills. You could also qualify to receive a £950 grant to put towards the cost of biomass system installation.

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The Basics

In a domestic setting when we talk about biomass heating we usually mean wood fuelled heating systems, although other fuels can be burnt sometimes. Wood fuelled heating systems either heat a single room or can be used to power central heating and provide hot water. Typically they burn wood pellets, chips or logs.

Wood fuelled heating systems are most effective when replacing oil, electric or older coal heating. You can burn a range of wood fuels including logs, chip or pellets.

“A biomass boiler could save you around £590 a year on heating bills”

according to the Energy Saving Trust. This is excluding the grant of £950 available from the Renewable Heat Premium Payments and the funding which will become available from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

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FAQs

What moisture content should the pellets be in order for them to burn?
Again, this depend on the manufacturer, but in general, wood pellets should be around a maximum of 10 - 12 % water and cereals 14 - 16 % to burn. But the lower the moisture content the better.
Can wood pellet systems be automatically fed?
Some biomass systems can be automatically fed and most systems with this facility will have a range of hoppers and fuel stores that can either auger or vacuum feed the fuel into the system.
How often do biomass systems need filling?
This would depend on how often the boiler is used and the heat demand. The hopper may need filling anywhere between every couple of days if the demand is high to once a week if it is just ticking over. Attaching the boiler to a fuel store means filling less often, and you can buy automatic (self-filling) systems with a hopper.
Can biomass be burnt in a smoke controlled area?
Biomass can be burnt in a smokeless zone, but it would need to be approved by the DTI and the environmental agency.
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