Biomass heating systems can be used in place of regular gas boilers and make use of renewable wood fuel sources in order to generate hot water that can be pumped around your property. The use of Biomass technology has been widespread across areas of Europe for approximately 30 years however use of this technology has only recently gained traction in the UK. This demand continues to increase driven by the governments Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme which provides a financial incentive to those who adopt the technology. The RHI scheme exists for both domestic and commercial heating requirements.
What Types of Biomass Systems are Available?
The are two main types of Biomass Systems available:
- Pellet Biomass Boilers
- Woodchip Biomass Boilers
Both system types work using the same basic principles, however they differ in design in order to enable them to operate efficiently whilst burning slightly different fuel types. Pellet boilers are the most widely used and generally regarded as the most efficient and easy to use systems. The pellets used in biomass boilers are also widely available from a large distribution network of suppliers across the UK which adds to their appeal.
How does Biomass Work?
Biomass boilers work by burning a wood fuel source in order to generate heat. The systems feature a hopper into which the biomass pellets or woodchip are loaded. These pellets are then fed into the boiler itself where they are ignited to produce heat and heat hot water in a similar way to a regular gas boiler. Apart from loading the hopper, biomass systems operate automatically and feature electronic controls to manage this process whilst the temperature is controlled by a thermostat.
Can I Use a Biomass Boiler in My Home?
Most home central heating systems can in theory be run using a biomass heating system. There are a few main things to consider however:
- Do I have enough space? – Biomass systems are generally larger than regular gas or oil boilers, particularly when accounting for the size of the hopper. This means you will need a suitable space in which to install the system. Many home systems are installed in locations such as garages.
- How much will it cost? – Whilst the price of biomass boilers has reduced significantly in recent years, they still cost more than a regular gas boiler.
- How do I find a good installer? – Finding a good biomass installer is relatively straightforward but you should always carry out the right checks first. Your first port of call for any domestic biomass system should be HETAS (www.hetas.co.uk). This is the body officially recognised by the UK Government to approve biomass and solid fuel heating appliances, fuels and services including the registration of competent installers and servicing businesses. All domestic biomass installers must be registered with HETAS so you should always visit their website to check.
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