Housing Specification Blog

Choose your boiler, installer and fuel wisely to ensure biomass stays ‘green’

January 15, 2015 PaulGroves Housing DesignHousing IssuesInnovations

Simon Holden, from Euroheat, looks at a recent report that biomass boilers are up to 20 per cent less efficient than expected and argues that it is not necessarily biomass itself that is to blame.

“Wood burning has proved hugely successful and efficient in central Europe. The problems in the UK market, which is still a very young one, come down to the quality of some boilers, the installers that fit them and the fuel they burn – get these three things right and efficiencies of over 90% are certainly achievable, placing biomass as a worthwhile carbon cutting solution.

“New RHI fuel legislation set to be bought in this spring should go some way to alleviating fuel issues, but more certainly needs to be done in terms of preventing sub-standard boilers from being installed – at the moment there is no equivalent to MCS for machines over 45kWs.

“Rather than throwing in the biomass towel, the report should be viewed as a wake-up call – as a sector, we need to up our game to ensure biomass works as a viable and efficient alternative to fossil fuels. At Euroheat, we’re confident in the efficiency of our boilers; the technology’s cutting edge, we only allow approved installers to fit our machines, with Euroheat experts handling nearly all commissioning. We also make sure customers choose good quality fuel with a moisture content of 20% or less – key to getting the most out of biomass boilers.

“A sense of proportion is also important – a DECC spokeswoman said that the study’s sample had been small and ‘more work now needs to be done to fully assess the performance of biomass boiler systems and installer competency’. I for one, look forward to further research; constant review and improvement is key to helping renewables become a common fixture in our homes and businesses.

“In order for the UK to move away from its reliance on fossil fuels, constructive criticism of renewable technologies and how they’re delivered is welcome and imperative. Negativity that results in consumers and installers ‘giving up’ on going green is extremely harmful however; balance and proportion is essential.”

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