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What is biomass?

Biomass is essentially a material taken from living, or recently living, organisms such as wood, grass or suitable waste materials. This biomass material is typically used in the production of heat and electricity through renewable heating technologies. The most common types of biomass fuels are logswood pellets or wood chips.

One of the reasons behind the popularity of biomass is the reduced amount of C02 it produces when burnt. The carbon emissions released when burnt is equivalent to the amount that a plant absorbs during its life cycle.

Previously the burning of biomass fuels were on basic log stoves which were not very efficient and produced limited warmth. Dramatic advancements in technology has seen the introduction of wood pellet boilers, which now operate at efficiency levels of over 95% and are comparable to modern gas-fired boilers. Due to this similarity, biomass is arguably the easiest renewable technology to switch to and creates lower C02 emissions and residues.

Benefits of using biomass as a sustainable fuel:

  • Biomass is a low carbon fuel, producing only a fraction of that created by fossil fuels
  • Biomass can be sourced from within the UK
  • Biomass is included under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
  • The use of biomass provides an economic incentive to responsibly manage woodland areas
  • Biomass residues, if left, would rot and produce C02 anyway, meaning that burning it doesn’t drastically increase any carbon emissions
  • There is no region of the UK that cannot be a producer of biomass

Next page >> What are wood pellets?