Domestic Biomass Boilers (Wood Pellet burning boilers)

By Chris Bradshaw on June 7th, 2011

If you want to heat your house without burning fossil fuels which are in short supply, then you should consider biomass. Biomass is a type of renewable fuel which is carbon neutral as the fuel source (trees, plants and animal waste) has already offset the potential carbon output of burning them.

Biomass is a very exciting fuel created from organic materials such as animal and plant waste. This is commonly used to power cars, however there are other uses.  For example by using a domestic biomass boiler you will be able to keep your heat without having to worry about depleting natural resources.

Types of Biomass Boiler

There are two main types of biomass boiler:

  1. Wood pellet burning boiler
  2. Biodiesel boiler

Either of these fuels may be referred to as bioheat, they are both renewable forms of fuel. Wood is the oldest form of renewable fuel which has been used for thousands of years.

Biodiesel is made out of animal fat, and oils. These fuels can be made very quickly, and are biodegradable. Fossil fuels took millions of years to make, biomasss can be created in a matter of months. What’s even better is that burning these fuels is better for the environment than petrol.

Biomass aren’t a new idea, Rudolph Diesel created an engine to run on peanut oil and was unveiled at the World Exposition. Biomass were popular for a short time, however the public soon lost interest in these in favour of fossil fuels. It is only recently that people are starting to show an interest in renewable Biomass.

It may be possible to use biodiesel in a normal oil boiler without any conversion, however it is much better to purchase a specialist biodiesel boiler.

When choosing a boiler it is important to carefully choose the right design. By choosing the correct capacity it will save you time, money, and a whole lot of hassle. You should talk to someone that is experienced with fitting biomass boilers so that they can correctly identify your requirements. This will ensure that you are not sold something which will not do the job that you want it for.

If you choose the wrong type or capacity of boiler then this will actually result in increased fuel consumption, and a reduction in the efficiency.

You should not run the risk of buying a boiler which is too big for the requirements, a system which is too large will result in an inefficient system.

Bear in mind that you will use the peak load requirements of the boiler during the coldest months of the year, during the summer months you shouldn’t need as high a capacity. A peak load boiler is one solution, a smaller system can be installed which is suitable for most of the year. Another boiler is then installed to supplement and provide the extra heat required during the coldest parts of the year.

Some smaller systems can handle higher capacity for a short time by using an accumulator tank to store hot water.

Wood Pellet Boilers

Most people will opt for a wood pellet or chip burning boiler, although burning wood for heat is nothing new in fact it’s been around for hundreds of years. However now there are new, easier ways to burn wood and heat your home.

There are automatic boilers which burn wood pellets, these are gravity fed which makes them very easy to use. You simply fill a hopper up with wood pellets which will then be burnt when they are needed. All you need to do is top the hopper up every couple of days.

Modern boilers are very efficient which means that you don’t need to empty the ash container more than once a month. This makes them almost as easy to use as an oil burner, but produces much less CO2.

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