Wood pellets are increasingly being used as a renewable energy alternative to gas, oil and electricity. There are three main reasons for this:
- Rising fuel prices
- Security of energy supply
- Climate change
As a result of the above, the UK has committed to some ambitious targets to reduce CO2 emissions, and develop a secure, low cost, low carbon economy from renewable sources. To achieve these targets and encourage the uptake of low carbon technologies the government has implemented a set of mechanisms that includes;
- Changes to planning laws
- Changes to building regulations
- Levy's on fossil fuels (RO, CRC & Emission trading)
- Codes for sustainable homes
- Capital grants
- "Cash back" incentive schemes (RHI & FIT) that reward businesses and consumers for their innovation
Please visit our RHI calculator to find out how you can save my heating with biomass.
There are a range of renewable energy and low carbon technologies available; however the 2008 energy strategy earmarked biomass (including wood pellets) as being one of the major contributors. There are many reasons for this:
- Wood is hardly a new fuel for heating houses and the technology has improved considerably to make it more efficient, many biomass wood pellet boilers are now over 90% efficient.
- Wood pellets have been proven to work in Eastern Europe and the United States with world pellet consumption estimated to be between 12-14mtpa, and Europe's 9mtpa+.
- Biomass is carbon neutral in combustion as the CO2 released is equal to that absorbed by the tree during photosynthesis, and its low carbon overall as production and transportation can be less than that of fossil fuels.
- Wood pellet fuel prices are competitive with fossil fuels prices at current levels and could be cheaper in the long term.
- Feed in tariffs such as the renewable heat incentive look set to bridge the gap between the price of a biomass boiler and alternative fossil fuels.
- Biomass fuel will not fall under carbon levies such as CRC, CCL & emissions trading.
- Wood pellets are easily available - global pellet production continues to rise.
Biomass has many advantages and there are a range of different types, however we believe that wood pellets is one of the most cost effective and practical as a heating fuel.
Wood pellets vs. Wood Chip
- Wood pellets are more energy dense as dry sawdust (<10% moisture) is compressed into a pellet meaning that fewer deliveries are needed (more efficient transport).
- Wood pellets have a higher bulk density meaning that less storage space is required (reduced construction costs)
- Wood pellet boilers are generally cheaper than wood chip systems.
- Wood pellets provide a consistent energy content as moisture is <10% whereas chip can vary between 30-60%. This means your boiler is likely to be more reliable and provide heat when needed.
- Wood pellets can be used in most wood chip systems; however wood chips generally can't be used in pellet only systems.
- Pellets can be transported a far greater distance at economical prices giving security of supply.