When you think of plant matter and animal waste, do you see an unwanted product to be disposed of or a useful source of energy?
Biomass heating systems burn plant matter to create heat. Some biomass systems are combined heat and power (CHP) systems, which produce both electricity and heat using biomass fuels.
Most biomass technology is used in large-scale industrial power plants. A biomass power plant burns biomass to heat water, creating steam that turns an electrical turbine and generates electricity.
In the last decade, biomass fuels have become a popular source of clean energy for homeowners and commercial buildings.
Biomass systems offer several advantages over heating and electrical systems that burn traditional fuels. Since biomass recycles materials that can be regrown in the future, it’s a renewable, clean and green source of energy.
The materials used in biomass systems also produce very few emissions. Since the waste products of plants and trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, biomass is an extremely clean fuel with a minimal carbon footprint.
From heating your home to providing a source of renewable electricity, biomass is an exciting technology with lots of benefits. Read on to learn how biomass systems work and their biggest benefits for your home or commercial building.
How does biomass energy work?
Biomass systems work similarly to conventional boilers. Instead of burning natural gas or LPG to generate heat, however, biomass systems burn natural materials such as forest residues, wood biomass and even thinned grass.
You don’t shovel these materials directly into your biomass system – they’re made into compacted pellets. These fuel-rich pellets power your biomass system, making it easy for it to efficiently generate heat.
Most biomass systems generate renewable heat that can be used in your home or commercial building. Some combined heat and power biomass systems (which are also referred to as cogeneration systems) also generate electricity.
At a commercial scale, biomass is also used in conventional power plants. These use biomass materials as a fuel source to boil water and turn electrical turbines, creating renewable electricity.
Does a biomass system produce renewable energy?
Because biomass energy is very different from wind or solar energy, many people assume that it isn’t renewable. After all, how can a material that’s burned just like coal, gas or other fossil fuels have such a small environmental impact?
What makes biomass unique is its sustainability. Biomass fuels, such as plants and by-products of agricultural production, can be regrown, replenishing the supply of biomass materials and providing long-term sustainability.
The amount of fossil fuels like oil and natural gas available to energy products, on the other hand, is fixed. Once the reserves of fossil fuels run out, many of today’s conventional methods of generating energy will no longer be possible.
Biomass is also uniquely carbon neutral. Since the materials used as biomass fuel are plant matter, they absorb carbon dioxide while growing and release carbon as they decompose.
This means that burning biomass for fuel produces no net carbon emissions. The carbon released by using biomass for energy is absorbed by the next cycle, giving biomass a lower net carbon output than conventional fossil fuels.
What are the benefits of biomass energy?
Biomass offers a wide range of advantages, from lower energy bills than standard fossil fuels to low carbon emissions. Some of the most significant benefits of using biomass as an energy source are listed below:
- Biomass is a cost-effective, affordable source of energy. Biomass pellets and materials are competitively priced and often provide cheaper heating than a conventional boiler system.
- Some residential biomass systems are eligible for the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive, reducing the cost of switching to biomass and providing a tariff for the heat your biomass system produces.
- Since the amount of carbon dioxide produced by burning biomass is equal to carbon dioxide absorbed throughout its lifetime, biomass fuels are a carbon neutral energy option.
The older your home or commercial building’s current heating system is, the more you can benefit from switching to biomass.
On average, UK homes that use non-condensing LPG heating systems can save up to £1,390 per year by switching to biomass. Homes with oil and electrical heaters can save as much as £140 and £880 per year, respectively, using biomass technology.
Are you interested in biomass energy?
Switching from a conventional heating system to a biomass system can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide your home or building generates as a by-product of heat, all while lowering your energy costs.
Are you interested in switching to biomass? We offer high quality biomass boilers, stoves and other heating systems that can create clean, carbon neutral, renewable heat for your home or commercial building.
Contact us to speak to our renewable energy experts and learn more about the benefits of biomass heating and energy technology.