Biomass energy sources include wood chips, wood pellets, wood briquettes and wood logs. With traditional fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas declining in popularity, biomass is an expanding fuel source, thanks to improved forestry management and to readily available renewable wood supplies.
Biomass has recently surpassed hydroelectric power as the largest source of renewable energy worldwide. Locally sourced, readily available, inexpensive biomass fuels have contributed to Biomass Boilers becoming a leading contender in renewable energy heating systems.
There is a wide range of wood burners using these fuels. In order to achieve maximum fuel efficiency the burners must be “gasifying”. This means that as well as burning the physical wood the gases are burned at a very high temperature. If this is achieved very little ash is produced and the fire box stays clean. Wood burners which are not fully gasifying require cleaning every week or every fortnight.
If logs, waste wood or off-cuts are available then this is the lowest running cost heating system. However, the boiler must be loaded and lit. This will be incompatible with many lifestyles. Log burners normally require a buffer tank. These burners are not suitable for MDF or chipboard.
The best pellet burners are excellent. Running costs will be extremely favourable compared with an oil burner. However, for many of the pellet burners being offered, their running cost, compared with oil, will be disappointing.
WOOD CHIP BURNERS
Wood chip is more difficult to handle as it does not flow well. Loading systems are therefore complicated and expensive. Wood chip boilers are suited to very large houses and commercial requirements. Leading hotels and leisure centres are now successfully using wood chip boilers as a cost effective eco friendly method of heating.