How it works
Biomass is a term used to describe natural fuels that are burnt to produce energy in the form of heat. What makes them different from fossil fuels is that they are carbon zero. Biomass takes carbon out of the atmosphere whilst it is growing then returns it as it is burnt. If it is managed on a sustainable basis, biomass is harvested as part of a constantly replenished crop. This is either during woodland management or coppicing as part of a continuous programme of replanting with the new growth.
This maintains a closed carbon cycle with no net increase in atmospheric CO2 levels.
Types of wood and boilers
Wood pellets: are the most standardised type of biomass as they need to meet the EN Plus standards that are now adopted by most pellet manufacturers. They ensure that the pellets are made to an exact consistency and that they are sourced sustainably.
Wood chip: is a common alternative for medium to large scale biomass systems. The wood chip has to go through a drying process to ensure it will burn well.
Logs: have been used by man ever since fire was discovered so not much has changed here. What has changed however is the technology and efficiency of the burn.
Burning wood has been taken to a different level by todays technology. We can acheive burns with efficiencies of up to 95%! This means that only 5% of the wood is converted to ash and smoke; all the rest is converted to heat.