Planet Energy’s partners in commercial biomass are Innasol and ETA. Innasol are the UK distributor of ETA’s excellent range of biomass boilers. ETA boilers have been voted the best boilers in the German market in 2013, despite being made in Austria. They scored the highest points for reliability and are noted to be one of the easiest boilers to install.
Biomass has taken carbon from the atmosphere when it grew, and releases it when it’s burned. If the crop or trees used for biomass are replanted, the system stays in balance. Using locally sourced biomass is also important to keep this a low carbon way to heat your business.
What Is A Biomass Boiler?
A biomass boiler can provide central heating and hot water for your premises, in place of an oil, LPG, gas or other types of boiler. Keep in mind that you will need to store the biomass and have sufficient access for deliveries of it, a major change for those who are used to mains gas. The efficiency of these types of boiler is comparable or even better than fossil fuel boilers and over 90% efficient.
Fit A Biomass Boiler.
Fitting a biomass boiler is relatively easy, but you will need sufficient space for it. You could fit one of our smaller pellet boilers in a small plant room or boiler room or even in an utility room, but you still need to find room to store pallets of pellets or wood chip somewhere else. A larger log boiler would need a space of around 3 x 4m, so may well need to be fitted in an outbuilding or delivered in a purpose built container that also incorporates a hopper for the fuel and a fuel delivery system to the boiler which is dependent on the fuel type used.
Get professional advice when you’re choosing a biomass boiler. You do need a qualified installer to ensure that your boiler is sized appropriately for your property and heat load to your premises. Contact your local authority to ensure any work complies with building regulations and planning permission might also be needed for the flue. The Energy Saving Trust recommends that a biomass boiler is installed by a MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) registered or RECC certified installer such as Planet Energy Ltd.
Get The Right Pellets.
Bear in mind that pellet boilers are designed for specific pellet types, so make sure you match up your boiler and your biomass. All fuel suppliers are required to be registered with OFGEM and there is a standard pellet called EN Plus that you must use to conform to the warranties for the boiler. Bad fuel will wreak havoc with your boiler and cause breakdowns and corrosion over a period of time, so never burn poor fuel. Wood chip boilers are more appropriate for commercial applications. If you live in a smoke control area – something you can find out from your local authority – you will need to buy an exempt appliance to burn biomass. There’s a list available from DEFRA.
What Will It Cost?
As well as being bigger, biomass boilers are more expensive than those that use fossil fuels. An automatically fed pellet boiler for a small commercial premises costs around £25,000 including installation and fuel store. When it comes to running costs, guidance figures from the UK Forestry Commission-managed Biomass Energy Centre will give you the latest prices to compare biomass favourably with other fuels, with wood chips costing 3.5p per kWh; wood pellets 4.7p per kWh; natural gas 4.8p per kWh; and heating oil 5.8p per kWh.
Keep in mind, though, that these figures aren’t the final cost of the heat in your boiling, which depends on boiler efficiency among other factors. Costs will also vary regionally, with quantity of fuel ordered, delivery distance and so on. Without a supply of your own fuel you could pay more for wood fuel than mains gas, but you should save a good deal of cost against oil, LPG, solid fuel or electric heating costs and be using a more stable fuel at a more stable price in the future.