The greatest change that’s taken place in the renewable energy industry over the last year or so is the mainstream breakthrough of biomass boilers on to the domestic market. This has largely been brought about by the introduction of the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which pays the owner to produce heat. It isn’t just biomass which has benefited from RHI (tariffs are also in place for heat pumps, solar thermal and micro-CHP) but it is biomass that has really picked up.
Here’s some reasons why:
1. Biomass produces a high heat output so is perfect for older housing stock. There is a lot of older housing stock in the UK and when people were building lovely countryside cottages, they weren’t too bothered about insulation, LEDs and double-glazed windows! The low insulation values mean that a high heat output is required and a heat pump won’t do. Biomass is perfect!
2. It uses wood and lots of people have lots of wood. If you live in the countryside on a farm or even just have a reasonable sized garden, you probably wouldn’t mind chopping down a tree or two and feeding this into your biomass boiler. One tree will keep you going for a good year or two. You need to be careful though. The moisture content of untreated wood varies greatly and high moisture content affects the running of the boiler. Also, you need to be sure that you are happy chopping wood for the next 25 years. After a while it may get a bit tiresome!
3. The fuel is cheap and plentiful. Most domestic boilers are fed by pellets, not logs. These are readily available and compares favourably with oil and LPG, and a strong domestic supply chain is being put in place to make sure it stays that way.
There are great reasons for installing any kind of renewable technology but biomass is fast becoming a front runner.