[12/04/2017] A biomass boiler creates heat energy through the burning of fuels, most commonly from wood sources. In essence, a biomass system is a much more efficient version of an open log fire that captures heat, rather than releasing it immediately, for use in various means such as building heating. Automated wood pellet stoves can operate at around 85 – 90% efficiency, and can be used as a direct replacement for oil or gas boilers. Biomass boilers range from sizes that are suitable for small/domestic use, right through to large industrial operations.
Wood fuels for biomass can be produced sustainably at local sources. Typically, these fuels are clean waste wood sources (e.g. arboriculture woodchip/residues, pallets), or grown specifically for use as a biomass fuel. Other types of biomass fuel include energy crops (e.g. oilseed rape), animal wastes and by-products from agriculture such as grains and straw. Although carbon emissions result from the burning of fuels, this is equal to the amount of carbon that was absorbed whilst the fuel was growing, therefore these fuels are referred to as being carbon neutral.
Biomass boilers in waste management
Utilising a biomass boiler can be a cost-effective measure for sustainably managing waste. If, for example, a waste management site handles or processes wood in the form of clean arboriculture residues or wooden pallets, these materials could be utilised in a biomass boiler. If compliant with the Biomass Suppler List (BSL) and Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) regulations, this opens potential to apply for financial benefits of generating renewable heat through the RHI, alongside the benefit of providing heat that can be used in applications such as building heating or onsite operations that require heat (e.g. wood fuel drying, grain drying).
At WRM we are experienced in supporting waste management clients through the development of a biomass boiler installation, from feasibility studies, to support with applications for the RHI, and ongoing operational support. If you’re considering installing a biomass system at your site and have any questions, why not get in touch with a member of our renewables team.