HomeRenewable EnergyBiomass Heating Systems: A Complete Beginner's Overview

Biomass Heating Systems: A Complete Beginner’s Overview


With each winter seeming to become wetter, colder, and longer, many consumers are left feeling not only cold but completely out of money. It’s no wonder so many are considering new and advanced ways to not only keep warm but also save on energy bills. Though most households simply suffer the cold to save, there is a solution on the horizon that businesses across the UK are now beginning to promote: biomass boilers.

Biomass Heating Systems: A Complete Beginner's Overview

How do consumers save with biomass?

There are two ways in which consumers save with biomass boilers. The first is due to lowered energy bills: Biomass fuel is cheaper than an alternative heating option because it is completely recycled.

When thinking of changing your heating system it’s worth noting that biomass fuel is up to 40% cheaper than oil/LPG. Steven McCaw, Managing Director of DMS Energy Solutions Ltd., estimates this can earn each household up to £600 a year on energy bills. Not only does this save consumers money, but it also contributes to saving the planet.

There is a second massive monetary incentive on top of the initial savings on your energy bills for consumers to consider when thinking about switching to biomass. The government’s Renewable Heat Incentive: A financial incentive to promote the use of renewable heat. Households are rewarded for lowering the UK’s carbon emissions by switching to heating systems that use naturally sourced energy.

Households who join the scheme will receive quarterly payments for the units of clean energy they produce. For every kWh, you produce you will earn 5.14 pence. Not only will you save on fuel costs but you could receive up to £25,000 over the length of the scheme. Imagine next winter not having to worry about leaving the heating on, but also having the security that it’s earning you money at the same time!

How Does Biomass Help the Planet?

Good question. Biomass encompasses the true meaning of “renewable” as the fuel is made up of waste material that would otherwise be thrown in the bin. On an industrial scale, this could be agricultural and industrial waste but for domestic use, it is more likely to be excess wood pellets or logs. These pellets and logs are burned to create heat, which is then transferred to a boiler to heat the home.

The fuel used is from completely sustainable sources and is carbon neutral. For every particle of carbon released in burning, another is absorbed through the replanting of trees. By creating energy from waste you can drastically reduce the carbon footprint you leave benefiting the environment greatly. Biomass pellets can even be made from the 500,000 tonnes of waste coffee produced a year.

It’s also no secret that the trend of supporting local businesses has grown in recent years. Switching to biomass will continue to grow this movement as the pellets and logs can be sourced from the UK, helping to support the local community and rural economy. Research has shown that house prices near prosperous town centers have risen by an average of £40,000 more over the last decade, and providing new energy solutions appears to be the way forward for many new homeowners.

Is there a demand for biomass fuels?

It can be hard to determine the precise amount of demand that renewables have unless they are more commonly known as solar panels or wind turbines. Steven McCaw is a firm believer in a positive movement in business for biomass fuel systems, stating that DMS Energy Solutions Ltd. has seen a positive increase in renewable installations moving into 2016. How significant is this for the rest of

Britain and does it possibly determine a national scale of increasing demand?

Arguably, Britain is resistant to change at the best of times with consumers adamant about saving money. Switching energy providers, however, seems to not be enough. The UK has seen a rise in the number of biofuels it is producing and importing, which further points to industries moving towards a potential energy revolution by 2020.

“Our customers want to make a difference to the environment,” Steven explained, highlighting the thousands of renewable energy installation customers he has assisted during the last few years, “but many don’t understand what biomass is yet. It takes explaining the system for them to want to invest. However, we have had good growth in renewables in the last year, and biomass heating systems appear to be on the rise.”

It is not a surprise, considering the notorious reputation in Britain for having very few glimpses of the sun each day, that alternative renewable and carbon-reducing energy solutions are being considered. 2015’s opening of a Biomass Combined Heat and Power plant in Fife may have been a trigger for more promotion of biomass systems. The Scottish Government has also pointed consumers towards biomass systems with their 2015 Heat Policy Statement, stating that Scotland needs to move forward towards fewer carbon emissions to reach a national target.

Consumers appear to now be listening. With global warming, a growing concern, alternatives from energy providers and installers seem to be rising at a steady rate. It is fast becoming a considerable thought to place biomass heating systems in more businesses.

Multiple community projects, such as some taking place in Aberdeen, are moving to meet the Scottish Government’s target for 11% of all heat energy production to be created by renewables – and are moving to install biomass systems. There are over 20 projects planned in and around Aberdeenshire to implement biomass boilers.

This trend isn’t showing signs of stopping, the biomass movement spreading across the UK. In multiple English towns, there are cooperative groups in place working together to manage local woodland to heat communities such as housing associations and schools. A collaborative project in Leicester taking full advantage of the biomass incentive is The John Cleveland College which is saving an estimated £45,000 with the installation of a 950 kW and a 450 kW woodchip biomass boiler connected to its existing heat distribution system.

Taking advantage of installations before what could potentially be a boom may be an incentive for other businesses – and one that could reap rewards of not only revenue but carbon emission reduction too.

Is Biomass Easy to Install?

Biomass boilers are relatively easy to install, planning permission should not be required and they require very little maintenance once installed. They can usually be integrated with your existing radiator system ensuring a hassle-free transition. The system functions similarly to a gas central heating system, with advanced technology regulating fuel delivery to the burner.

Before the installation happens, consumers will need a renewable consultation with an installer who will design an individual system for their home and create an Energy Performance Certificate (they will need this to claim the Renewable Heat Incentive). Once the system is designed and installed they can apply for the RHI scheme and enjoy lower energy bills and quarterly government payments.

Are all consumers convinced to switch?

If after all of the above facts and figures your consumers cannot see the benefits of a biomass system, then they probably never will, but assist them in considering these points: when you change to a biomass boiler you’re not only improving the health your wallet but the wallets of local communities and most importantly the health of the planet by helping to reduce carbon emissions that lead to climate change.

With government targets for carbon emissions still a mile away, can consumers afford to be picky about their heating systems? There may be more news on the way. Business, keep an eye on biomass. The UK may yet see a new revolution in more eco-friendly energy demand.

Earthava Team
Earthava Teamhttps://www.earthava.com
A collective of experts in Renewable Energy, environment and green living.

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