What is Biomass?

Priprava lesnih sekancev za ogrevanje na biomaso.
Conveyor system for wood chips

How does biomass work?

What is biomass and how does it work?

Biomass is organic material, derived from living or recently living organisms, which is used as fuel to create energy. Biomass energy can provide a heating solution on a domestic, commercial or agricultural scale and as well as providing heating, also provides hot water. Biomass energy can also provide energy to rural dwellings which are off grid and in a non mains gas area.

Is biomass renewable or non-renewable?

The definition of renewable energy is energy from a source that is not depleted when used; it can be replenished unlike oil. As biomass heating systems use natural materials, it is therefore a renewable energy solution.

What are renewable resources?

The fuel source is often referred to as renewable energy or alternative energy, as it is a natural energy resource that can be replenished and is an alternative to fossil fuels.

Benefits of biomass

Biomass is an economically friendly, renewable energy source widely used across the UK as an alternative to fossil fuel. The advantages of biomass can be seen below:

Save 50% on heating costs

Anyone who is interested in reducing bills in the long run should change to renewable wood fuel. The prices for wood have been stable for years and are largely independent of the world market prices for oil and natural gas.

Security of supply instead of supply bottlenecks

Throughout Europe there are large forests and within them the available quantity of renewable wood fuel is steadily on the increase. Each year, more wood grows in the forests than can be used. Therefore, there will be sufficient quantities of renewable wood fuel in the long term. An additional safeguard is energy woods such as willow and poplar, which grow in areas used for agriculture.

Saving money too

Your contribution to climate and environmental protection will be rewarded. The installation of a wood heating system is subsidised by the government. More information can be found here.

Protecting the climate

Heating with renewable wood fuel is CO2-neutral. This means that when wood is burned, only as much CO2 is released into the atmosphere as a tree has absorbed during its lifetime. The decision in favour of renewable wood fuel is also one in favour of climate protection.

 Ogrevanje s kotli na pelete je zelo učinkovit način priprave energije.
KWB Pelletfire Pellet heating system

What are biomass boilers?

Biomass boilers are designed to burn biomass fuel such as logs or wood pellets, and the heat produced is used to provide heating and hot water. Biomass heating is an extremely efficient way of creating energy.

What are biomass boilers?

Biomass boilers are designed to burn biomass fuel such as logs or wood pellets, and the heat produced is used to provide heating and hot water. Biomass heating is an extremely efficient way of creating energy.

Can a biomass boiler be used in a clean air zone?

Yes, domestic biomass boilers as well as commercial biomass boilers can be used in a clean air zone.

Installing a wood burning, biomass heating system into your home or business enables you to become eligible for the RHI and therefore you will be generating additional income and maximise cost savings.

Types of biomass boilers

Types of biomass boilers:

  • Pellet boilers
  • Log boilers
  • Wood chip boilers

Types of biomass heating systems

  • Fully automated
  • Semi-automated or "surge bin"
  • Pellet-fired 
  • Agricultural pellet systems
  • Combined heat and power 

Types of biomass fuel

Economical heating with wood pellets, wood chips or log wood

The KWB biomass heating system can be heated using log wood, wood pellets or wood chips. The fuels are sourced from the wood of native forests or from short-rotation wood crops such as willow or poplar from agricultural areas, which are becoming increasingly important.

Wood pellets
Wood pellets

Wood pellets

Wood pellets are standardised, cylindrical compressed pellets made from dry, natural recovered wood (sawdust, wood shavings) with a diameter of four to ten millimetres and length of ten to 50 millimetres. They are shaped by means of mechanical pressure without the use of chemical additives and using only natural substances as a binder. Wood pellets are available by the kilogramme. Pellets are a uniform, standardised fuel of a consistent quality. Their advantages also lie in the minimal amount of storage space required and in the fully automatic supply of heat.
Energy content:
1 kg pellets = 4.8 kWH = 0.48 l heating oil

Wood chips
Wood chips

Wood chips

Wood chips are machine-chopped wood and are sold by the loose cubic metre (lcm). Fine wood chips with a chip size of approximately three centimetres are suitable for small systems with automatic operation. Wood chips are the cheapest form of wood fuel, as there is no need to fell a single tree especially for it. Other advantages are the fully-automatic and convenient supply of heat and economical operation of large-scale systems.
Energy content (forest wood chips, water content 25 percent):
1 lcm spruce = 766 kWh = 76.6 l heating oil
1 lcm beech = 1.058 kWh = 105.8 l heating oil

Log wood
Log wood

Log wood

Log wood is supplied as metre-long firewood or chopped into stove-ready log wood in lengths of 25, 33 or 50 cm. The firewood is usually sold in stacked cubic metres (rm), and the water content should not exceed 20 percent, which requires a storage time of at least two years. The advantages of the log-wood heating system is in the low fuel costs and in the regional availability of the raw material.
Energy content:
1 rm spruce = 1.350 kWh = 135 l heating oil
1 rm beech = 1.930 kWh = 193 l heating oil

Is biomass fuel easy to source?

Sourcing biomass fuel is easy as it is widely available. There are number of wood fuel suppliers which your local installer will advise you of.

What are the running costs of biomass?

Once the one-off initial boiler cost has been accounted for, the running costs of biomass compare favourably with other fuels. This is because biomass fuel such as wood pellet prices, do not fluctuate like fossil fuel prices do.

We have MCS accredited installers local to you, ready to install your boiler allowing you to become eligible for the RHI government scheme.  

Is biomass suitable for my home?

Where can biomass boilers be installed?

Biomass boilers can be installed into domestic, rural and off mains gas areas as well as in agricultural businesses. If space allows, they can be installed internally or externally in an outhouse.

Is biomass installation expensive?

The cost of installation varies depending on the type and size of boiler you choose. Contact us now to find out more.

Can the biomass boiler be added to my current heating system?

Yes, a biomass boiler can be connected to a current heating system however as many biomass boilers operate at a higher temperature and pressure, it may be necessary to use a plate heat exchanger between the biomass boiler and the existing heating system.

Is planning permission required?

Planning permission is not normally required when installing a biomass system if it is being installed internally. If the installation requires an outhouse, this will need to fit in with certain guidelines to prevent planning permission being needed.

Do biomass boilers need to be registered?

No, biomass boilers do not require registration.

Is a biomass boiler noisy?

No, you will hardly be able to hear your KWB biomass boiler running!

Is there much maintenance required?

Depending on the type of boiler you choose, maintenance will vary. For example, some boilers automatically clean themselves. Contact us now to find out more.