How Do Biomass Boilers Work?
Biomass boilers are modern heating systems operating on biomass fuel as opposed to conventional gas or oil boilers. Biomass fuels are essentially organic materials produced in a renewable manner. The two main categories of biomass fuels are wood fuels and animal waste, though municipal solid waste (MSW) can also be used as biomass fuel.
The most advanced commercial biomass boilers are fully automatic, similar to their gas counterparts. They regulate fuel and air supply to the combustion chamber and for this reason are very efficient with minimal emissions.
Biomass Boilers Explained
The boilers work in a similar way to the conventional gas or oil boilers. Biomass materials are fed into a combustion chamber by hand, semi-automatically or automatically depending on the type of boiler, where they are burnt. The hot air and gas emitted passes through a heat exchanger, which heats the water used in your property’s central heating system. Excess heat is normally stored in a thermal tank.
Typically, large hoppers feed wood pallets or chips to the boiler. The space you have next to the boiler will determine how big or small your hopper can be. Many people prefer large hoppers because they reduce transportation needs leading to reduced fuel costs and refill frequency.
Boilers that use logs are more appropriate for individuals with access to wood supply but who may not have time to cut the logs into appropriate sizes. The disadvantage is that it takes more time to feed a boiler with the logs and subsequently clean out the massive amounts of ash.
Most modern biomass boilers will only burn the amount of fuel necessary to produce the required heat at that particular time. For instance, if the central heating system is already hot, it will only burn enough fuel for the system to top up the heat or will shut off and reignite when required.
Benefits of Biomass Boilers
Biomass fuel is significantly cheaper compared to gas or oil fuels. Whether its wood pellets, chips, or logs, you’ll always find that they cost much less than gas and oil.
Little intervention required
Most commercial biomass boilers are uniquely built with automated fuel feeders and self-cleaning heat exchangers. They also produce very little ash thus minimal intervention.
Carbon dioxide produced when biomass is burnt is the same as what plants absorb every day. Thus, sustainability is maintained provided new plants grow to replace those used as fuel. Additionally, carbon dioxide emission is significantly reduced when biomass boilers are used instead of a solid fired system.
The government has openly come out in support of renewable energy technologies such as biomass boilers. Anyone who uses a biomass boiler on their property is eligible for certain financial incentives.
The great news is that setting up a biomass boiler isn’t as expensive as most people think. And, if set up properly, the system can last many years with minimal maintenance while earning you hundreds of dollars in energy savings every year.