If you have an older property, that’s not connected to the gas supply and isn’t suitable for a heat pump, a biomass boiler may be a good alternative.
If you have access to a supply of sustainable wood fuel, biomass heating could save you a significant amount of money over a year compared to Electricity, Oil or LPG.
Our M.C.S. accreditation, means that you could also benefit from Ofgem’s new Boiler Upgrade Scheme (B.U.S.), which could pay £5,000.00 towards the installation of your boiler.
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The Boiler Upgrade Scheme
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme was introduced by Ofgem to replace the Renewable Heating Incentive, to encourage home owners to replace their gas or oil boilers with a more enviromentally friendly, low carbon alternative.
The scheme is open to home owners who wish to upgrade to an Air Source Heat Pump or a Ground Source Heat Pump, and in some cases also covers Biomass boiler installations. It is also open to ‘Self Builders’ who are building their own new homes.
The scheme pays a fixed sum of £5,000.00 towards the installation of an Air Source Heat Pump and £6,000.00 towards the installation of a Ground Source Heat Pump. Where a property is unsuitable for a heat pump and is ‘off the gas grid’, the scheme will pay £5,000.00 towards the installation of a biomass boiler.
You may be eligible if you:
live in England or Wales
own your property (whether this is a home or a small non-domestic property)
Private landlords and second-home owners are eligible.
You can still apply if you’ve received separate funding for energy efficiency upgrades such as insulation, doors or windows.
The scheme is open to domestic and small non-domestic properties with:
an installation capacity up to 45kWth (this covers most homes)
a current energy performance certificate (EPC), with no outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation
If you own a self-build property
To be eligible, a self-build must have:
been built mainly using the labour or resources of the first owner
not been owned by a business or organisation
You will need to provide proof to your installer that your property is a self-build, for example a copy of the title deeds.
Grants are not available for:
new build properties (apart from certain self-builds)
properties that have already had government funding or support for a heat pump or biomass boiler
Key steps when having Biomass Heating Installed
1. Pre-design Assessment
This stage is to determine which heating system will best suit your property and the feasibility of your preferred system.
With years of experience in the renewable heating industry, B.A.R & Sons will be able to advise you on the most beneficial system for you.
If choosing a Biomass Boiler, we will be able to advise you on the best location for all the associated equipment; this is especially important if choosing a woodchip or pellet boiler, as you will need enough room for the boiler, a hot water ‘buffer tank’ ans fuel storage.
We can produce a budgetary estimate, detailing the work required and including different options, where applicable.
2. Detailed Design
We will begin the detailed design process. This will include identifying a suitable location for the boiler and other key components. We will carry out a full survey to work out the heating and domestic hot water needs of your property.
We will also calculate the radiators need for each room, to determine if your existing radiators need upgrading. This will ensure the heat is transferred efficiently into your property.
All of this information will be included in our full quotation, along with a performance estimate detailing the cost savings from switching to biomass.
Our team of qualified engineers will be onsite to carry out the installation. All work can be completed in house, including the positioning and connection of the boiler, buffer tank and fabricating the fuel store, connection of the heating controls and final commissioning of the system. Upon completion you will be provided with a full handover pack.
We will complete the Boiler Upgrade Scheme Voucher Application Form for your installation and submit it to Ofgem, who will then contact you to confirm the installation has been completed.
What is Biomass Heating?
Biomass heating systems burn wood fuel, such as chips, pellets or logs to provide warmth in a single room or to power central heating and hot water boilers. Biomass boilers can vary in output, from around 8kW, up to megawatt sized energy plants. Because of this biomass can be suitable for any sized application, with a single boiler or multi-boiler plant room heating a single small dwelling up to an apartment block or entire village.
Depending on the size, domestic biomass boilers can be installed in outbuildings or boiler rooms, in much the same way as an oil boiler. There are however, biomass boilers that are suitable for installing within your property, including decorative models that have the appearance of traditional stoves.
A biomass boiler would normally be connected to a buffer tank, which the boiler would heat. Your property would draw from the heat stored in the buffer tank, instead of directly from the boiler. This allows the boiler to run for a longer period of time, while the tank is heated, instead of having to ignite every time there is a demand for heat from the property. This greatly increases efficiency and reduces fuel usage and maintenance costs.
Domestic biomass heating is a great alternative to oil or LPG boilers for properties that are “off grid”, with log and chip boilers being especially well suited to householders who have access to a sustainable fuel supply.
If you would like to discuss which option is best for you, contact us today.
Wood chips, can by their nature, vary in quality and suitability for use in biomass boilers. For this reason, there are specific standards that define the characteristics of wood chips produced for biomass. These normative specifications define the size of the wood chip:
- P16 Specification, < 1% > 45mm, (maximum chip length 85mm)
- P45 Specification, < 1% > 63mm
- P63 Specification, < 1% > 100mm
And moisture content:
- M20 < 20% moisture
- M25 < 25% moisture
- M30 < 30% moisture
- M40 < 40% moisture
- M55 < 55% moisture
- M65 < 65% moisture
Informative specifications for wood chip include:
- Net energy content, typically in MJ/Kg or kWh/m3
- Bulk density, in kg/m3
Wood pellets have been one of the most common forms of biomass fuel used in biomass boilers. They are cylindrical in shape and made from compressed sawdust, which is often the waste product from the timber industry (e.g. sawmills).
Their specification is strictly defined to ensure consistent quality. Biomass fuel has to meet CEN/TC 355 standard Wood pellets for biomass must be;
- Less than 10% moisture
- Be 6mm in diameter and less than 30mm long (20% can be up to 45mm)
- Have a bulk weight of 650kg / m3
- Ash content, max. 0.5%
- Dust content, max 2.3%
- Energy content, 49 kilowatts/kg
Wood pellets are fused by the natural lignin present in dry wood. It strengthens the wood as well as having waterproofing properties.
The very low moisture content helps consistent combustion efficiency, as, during the burning of fuel, any water content must be evaporated before combustion can occur.
This process requires energy, and therefore reduces overall system efficiency. Pellets are additionally very dense. Both these qualities make them a good source of energy.
Wood logs are probably the least common form of biomass fuel and have a more limited application. Typically, the largest log boilers have outputs of around 60kw, so are suitable for domestic or smaller commercial installations.
They require greater user input as they require regular filling, however, if you have access to an approved, sustainable source of seasoned logs, they can be a very cheap way to heat a property.
Additionally, combination log and pellet boilers are available which run on wood pellets if there is an interruption in the supply of logs and use wood pellets to light the boiler automatically.
Log boilers work by a process known as wood gasification, whereby wood gas is produced from the logs as they are heated in the boilers firebox and then burned at high efficiency with minimal ash production or flue emissions.
The Four Processes of Gasification
"They fitted our boiler system .. Was punctual polite and efficient ..We use them to service yearly and wouldnt use anyone else. Definitely 5 star."
"Had BAR come and install new pressurised system to update an old hot water system. The guys did a great job and ensured everything was done quickly and with minimal disruption and mess. Thanks!"
Once again please pass on our thanks to the whole team for all their work during the installation of the hot water/heating system. The whole process from start to finish has been carried out by professional and caring people who have been a pleasure to work with.