Is Biomass right for you?

As part of the Greener home Grant, alternative renewable heating methods have been included. This is great for those who are environment conscious, but which is right for you?

Biomass has had a surge in attention over the recent years, and rightly so.

As a principle, using biomass can be a Carbon neutral (even positive) resource. With more wood pellet manufacturers setting up in the uk as well makes it a great alternative to burning fossil fuels.

Personally owning a Biomass boiler, I’ve listed below a bunch of pros and cons;

Installation cost: A normal domestic sized biomass boiler would set you back approximately £13k. This can be offset using either the Greener home grant or the Renewable Heat Incentive, paying you back approximately £9K. The greener home grant probably being the best option if you don’t have the full amount up front.

Resourcing fuel: Wood pellets are readily available from various sellers. Some even source their pellets and wood from Uk sustainably managed forests.

Running cost: The cost of running a biomass boiler is pretty similar to that of a gas or oil boiler. The main difference is that you aren’t tied to just a few suppliers, you can change at any time. Also the fuel is more tangible than gas, you order the amount you want, use the amount you want and can physically see how fast you are burning through your money! I have found over the year you will use considerably less during the summer months and throughout the year you automatically adjust your heating requirements so you end up with a well considered routine.

Maintenance: Biomass boilers do require a gentle clean, probably on a weekly basis is wise. The ash produced (it burns very efficiently so very little ash remains) can then be used on your garden (if you’re green fingered) as its basically pure carbon.

Storage: There are two things to consider here before committing to a biomass. Firstly the siting of the boiler itself, a biomass boiler is considerably larger than a normal gas boiler, its also a a little noisier. So consider you may need its own small room. Secondly storage of the pellets, this depends on how you order them. You can buy bagged pellets (usually 10kg or 15kg bags) of which its worth getting a tonne at a time to last you a while. These take up a fair amount of space. Alternatively you could get them loose and have a small silo that automatically feeds the boiler. This is a better long term system but does include higher install costs.

In general, I love my biomass boiler. Its been a learning curve and it occasionally frustrates me when it needs a little maintenance. But thats life.

Much like a lot of greener alternatives, its not as straight forward as the fossil fuel tech that we are all used to. But sometimes we need to make these sacrifices.

If you dont like the idea of a little labour then id say the biomass isn’t for you.