What is Biomass Fuel?

Your biomass boiler will burn most kinds of bio-matter such as grains, wood chips, olive kernels, saw dust, wood logs, cocoa pellets and wood pellets.

  • wood pelletsWood Pellets
  • biomass grainsGrains
  • wood chip fuelWood Chips
  • olive kernel biomass fuelOlive Kernels
  • biomass log burningWood Logs

Which is the Most Efficient Fuel?

The table below clearly shows that bagged wood pellets are indeed the most efficient fuels when it comes to kWh per kilo of fuel, but they are also the most popular fuel type for biomass boilers because they are the easiest and cleanest fuel to work with.

  Cost/Ton kWh/Ton pence/kWh kW value at meter
Wood Pellet (bagged) £290 4800 6.04 6.13
Wood Pellet (10%) £250 4800 5.21 5.39
Wood Chip (20%) £150 4100 3.66 4.30
Wood Chip (30%) £120 3500 3.43 4.03
Wood Chip (40%) £90 2900 3.10 3.65
Wood Chip (50%) £70 2300 3.04 3.58
Firewood (30%) £160 3500 4.57 5.04

Wood pellets may be the most popular fuel source to use with biomass boilers, however if you want to get the most for your money and don't mind a little extra hard work in taking care of your biomass boiler then wood chips deliver a much better return as it is far cheaper to produce than pellets. Also if you have access to your of wood supply, you could even chip the wood yourself and save more money. BUT, This does come with a slight catch, wood chip boilers are more expensive to install than pellet only machines, these are most popular with farms and industrial plants.

How does the running cost of biomass compare to other conventional boilers?

Half Pallet Biomass Wood Pellets

half pallet biomass wood pellets

£170 + £8.99 shipping

Full Pallet Biomass Wood Pellets

full pallet biomass wood pellets

£293.75 + £8.99 shipping

Making the Right Biomass Fuel Choice...

As you can no doubt guess, wood is the most abundant source of biomass fuel, but it is not as simple as just throwing a few logs into a boiler! Modern gas and oil boilers allow you to set the boilers on a timer and also provide hot water on demand, attempting to provide this same automated heating supply by burning wood is quite understandably more complex.

To get the most heat out of the wood that is being burnt the wood should be as dry as possible, the lower the water content the better. Wood pellets have the highest efficiency, mostly over 90% efficient - but cost more than wood chip, logs are the least efficient and only really suitable for biomass boilers that will be run for long periods.

Wood pellets are the most popular fuel type for systems under 40kW however not all pellets are made equal. Biomass boilers use forced air to produce the primary heat and if there is large amounts of dust or foreign debris then energy outputs will be reduced.

Handle your pellets with care! Even the most expensive top quality pellets will perform badly if they are damaged and crushed during delivery. Wood chip should be of the same moisture content as recommended by the boiler manufacturer, if you use wood chips with a higher moisture content then your heat output (kWh) will be reduced.

Today’s biomass boilers all have very similar efficiency ratings so it is the fuel used that really makes the difference. Remember that you are getting paid your RHI payments based on your heat output (kWh) so it certainly pays to use the best fuel possible.

The main issue that crops up with biomass systems is the fuel delivery system. Most problems occur with chip systems (blockages) compared to pellet. But here’s the thing… pellet is more expensive than chip and has a higher calorific value (gives of more heat).

So unless you live close to a chip supplier, will it work out cheaper and more reliable to have a pellet system?
If you do decide on chip, DO NOT take out a supplier’s contract for fuel. Take regular fuel samples and if you have any issues with the quality then argue with your supplier!

Find out more about how biomass works...

biomass fuel wood pellets
biomass fuel grain
biomass fuel wood chip
biomass fuel olive kernel
biomass fuel logs

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