General FAQs

Can you install abroad?

No, sorry we only install in mainland UK.​

How often do the fuels stores need filling?

​This would depend on how often the boiler is used and the heat load requirements. The fuel store should be built to a size so that they only need to be refilled 3-4 times a year.

Can Biomass be burnt in a smoke controlled area?

Approved biomass fuel can be burnt in a smokeless zone, check here to see if your project is located within one,

What is the annual maintenance cost of a Treco biomass boiler?

The annual service of a Treco boiler starts at £440 plus VAT. ​

How controllable are the boilers? Are they still efficient when ticking over?

​They are controllable to 1°C and can run at full 96% efficiency, even when operating at 26% of full capacity. This gives them a high "turn down ratio", and the boilers can also be "cascaded" making them suitable for everything from a small district heating scheme to a large hospital.

Are the boilers fully automatically controlled?

​Yes, they use a Touch Screen Control panel which allows you to regulate the temperature, fuel and automatic running of the boiler.

What is so unique about the biomass boilers Treco supply?

Biomass boilers can result in significantly lower heating costs verses fossil fuels, they reduce CO2 emissions by 96% and help you gain RHI payments. The Guntamatic range of boilers offer high up to 96% efficiency's, are about as automated as possible and offer perfect modulation 26%. Guntamatic also manufacture all of their own parts, which they guarantee will be available for 20 years. 

What type of flue is required for the boilers?

​A twin wall stainless steel flue system is required for biomass boilers.

What is the lead time between placing the order to receiving my boiler?

​The lead time from payment of deposit is 4 - 6 weeks

Could the boiler be fitted by our own plumber?

Yes, but we recommend that Treco commission the boiler as we will do all the safety checks and set the boiler up for your exact requirements. We also train you in the operation of the boiler.

Do I need a special power supply?

You need a 13amp power supply for Biostar but a 16Amp power supply for all other boilers. We also supply circuit breakers and triple phase adaptors.

Please could you send information on any grants that are available?

Please look at our Renewable Heat Incentive page​.

What warranty do you offer?

​We offer 2 years onsite warranty. Guntamatic manufacture all of their own parts, which they guarantee will be available for 20 years.

Can you burn shavings used for horse bedding?

We do not recommend the use of horse bedding in Guntamatic boilers as it can contain high levels of ammonia.

Can you burn Plastic?

No, not under any circumstances!

What are the benefits of using biomass as a sustainable fuel?

According to the Biomass Energy Centre, biomass is a renewable, low carbon fuel that is already widely available throughout the UK.  Its production and use also brings additional environmental and social benefits.  Correctly managed, biomass is a sustainable fuel that can deliver a significant reduction in net carbon emissions when compared with fossil fuels.

Correctly managed, biomass is a sustainable fuel that can offer a wide range of benefits:
  • Biomass is a “carbon lean” fuel producing a fraction of the Carbon emissions of fossil fuels. click here for more details
  • Biomass can be sourced locally, from within the UK, on an indefinite basis, contributing to security of supply.
  • UK sourced biomass can offer local business opportunities and support the rural economy.
  • The establishment of local networks of production and usage, allows financial and environmental costs of transport to be minimized.There is no region in the UK that cannot be a producer of biomass.
  • The use of biomass fuel provides an economic incentive to manage woodland which improves biodiversity. click here for more details
  • Many biomass fuels generate lower levels of such atmospheric pollutants as sulphur dioxide, that contributes to 'acid rain'.
  • Biomass residues, co-products and waste not used for energy, or some other application will usually rot. This will generate CO2 in any case, and may also produce methane (CH4), a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent that CO2.

Fuel Storage

What storage facilities are needed for the fuel?
We can supply a range of solutions from bespoke wood chip and wood pellet fuel stores, to prefabricated systems to integrated storage solutions fitted as part of the boiler.
How Big Should a Fuel Store Be?

This depends on the size and use of the boiler, but as a guide, the fuel store should be sized on a fuel consumption that requires around 3-4 fillings per year, and is designed to take a ‘full load’ from the supplier – this will always be the most cost- effective fuel supply available.

What are the auto feed options for Treco boilers?

We have a range of fuel delivery systems and different sizes of fuel stores, which will auger or vacuum feed the fuel into the boiler.​

Can storage units for the boiler go underground?

Yes they can. We can supply 4-6 tonne underground fuel stores.​

Woodfuel

Some Great FAQ's From the Forestry Commission, which we have updated: What is woodfuel? And what is biomass?
Woodfuel is wood that is burned to generate heat or electricity. It is usually in the form of logs, chips or pellets. Woodfuel has traditionally been used in the form of logs burned in open fireplaces,log-burning stoves or furnaces. However, wood chips and pellets which can be burned in sophisticated, modern stoves and boilers - some of which have thermostatic controls and automated ignition and loading systems - are becomingly popular for their convenience and ease of handling.

The term ‘biomass’ is shorthand for ‘biological mass’. It is fuel material derived from any biological (plant or animal) source. Woodfuel, being derived from plants in the form of trees, is therefore one form of biomass.

Why use woodfuel? What are the benefits?
a) It's Competitively Priced: Woodfuel can compete on fuel price with the fossil fuel alternatives, although the costs of installing woodfuel systems can be higher than fossil fuel systems. We recommend you seek advice on the comparative economics of your woodfuel proposal, because they can vary with the different types of woodfuel and the type of fossil fuel they are being compared with, and your location. See No. 19 below for the contact detailsof woodfuel advisory services.

b) It's Carbon-Lean: Woodfuel has a number of benefits, but the most significant one in the 21st Century is its potential role in helping to prevent dangerous climate change. That's because it can result in lower nett emissions of greenhouse gases than those emitted by burning fossil fuels.

Woodfuel produced in sustainably managed forests is ‘replaced’ by the next crop of growing trees, which reabsorbs the same amount of carbon that is emitted by the current crop being burned. The only nett emissions are those caused by the harvesting, transport and processing of woodfuel. No such balanced carbon cycle exists for fossil fuels except, perhaps, one measured in millions of years. Their emissions are effectively all one-way traffic from the Earth's crust to the atmosphere.

c) It's Renewable: Unlike fossil fuel reserves, sustainably managed woodland can produce an endlessly renewable source of energy. In contrast, once fossil fuels have been used, they are gone for millions of years.

d) It's Good for the Woodland Environment: Sustainable  management of woodlands for woodfuel is good for wildlife, biodiversity and woodland health and vigour, because the thinning, harvesting and coppicing of trees for woodfuel opens up the woodland floor to the sunlight. This encourages a greater range of plants, animals and insects to flourish than if the woodland were left to become rank, dark and overgrown - a state that foresters call "over-mature" or "under-managed".

e) It Encourages Woodland Conservation: Foresters have a saying: "the woodland that pays is the woodland that stays". This means that the prospect of earning an income from their woodland can give owners an incentive to manage their woods sustainably, keep them in good condition, and protect them from dying of neglect. This might involve, for example, keeping out the browsing and grazing animals that would prevent young trees from regenerating.

f) It's Good for Business and Jobs: Woodfuel can generate new business and job opportunities, often in economically fragile rural areas, and it can offer woodland owners an extra source of income from their trees.

g) It's Good for Fuel Security: Woodfuel reduces our dependence on unsustainable and declining fossil fuel resources, and people who use locally produced woodfuel can be shielded from some of the vagaries and fluctuations of the international oil, gas and coal markets.

h) It Can Relieve Fuel Poverty: Woodfuel can help to combat fuel poverty by providing an alternative source of energy in areas that are off the gas grid.

i) It's Convenient and Simple to Use: Modern, wood-burning boilers and stoves can compete on ease of use, cleanliness, efficiency, convenience and maintenance with the fossil-fuelled alternatives, especially if they burn chips or pellets.

How does woodfuel compare on quality and efficiency to oil, coal and gas?
There is no simple answer to this question because there are so many technical variables that must be taken into account. It really depends on individual circumstances. If you are considering using woodfuel, you should seek expert advice about your requirements. A good place to start is the Biomass Energy Centre
If woodfuel is such a great idea, why are we not using more of it already?
Wood was indeed British people’s primary heating and cooking fuel for thousands of years. However, woodfuel fell into short supply as the population grew to tens of millions and most of Britain's forestsand woodland were removed. Coal, which was plentiful, took over as the primary fuel, later to be joined - and partially supplanted - by natural gas. Gas is popular because it is clean to handle and transport, clean burning, and very convenient, requiring little or none of the daily attention usually associated with solid fuels.

We are now in a situation where we are not using all the wood we are growing, we are increasing our forest area again, and modern technology is making woodfuel competitive with oil and LPG on cleanliness and convenience.

But isn't cutting down trees bad for the environment?
Not necessarily: it depends how it's done. Tree felling and coppicing, when they are carried out as part of a sustainable forest management plan, are good for the woodland environment, and mimic events that would happen in a pristine natural forest. (Even in a pristine natural forest with no human intervention, trees are frequently brought down or removed, and openings created, by events such as landslips, fires, floods, wind storms, lightning strikes, insect attacks, diseases, death from old age, and by being eaten, trampled or pushed over by animals.)

Opening up spaces in the forest allows sunlight to reach the forest floor, which enables a wider range of plants, insects and animals to live in the woodland than would be able to if it were left to become dense, dark and rank. Foresters describe such woodlands as "over-mature" or "under-managed". This increase in woodland "biodiversity" (biological diversity, or the variety of living things) boosts the woodland's overall health and vigour.

Sustainable forest management (managing a forest in a way that sustains it perpetually as a forest) also means that new trees will be planted to replace those felled, just as a farmer plants a new crop of wheat or corn after each harvest. This means that tree felling is not always the same thing as 'deforestation', or permanent forest removal.

Deforestation is a serious problem in some parts of the world, and causes nearly one-fifth of total greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.

So how do I know whether my woodfuel has been produced in a responsibly managed forest?
We are working on ways to demonstrate and assure customers of the sustainability and environmental credentials of woodfuel. There are suggestions that existing independent forest certification standards,or new rules specifically introduced for biomass, could be used. However, there are concerns that the costs and other implications of these solutions might discourage some owners of small woodlands from bringing them into sustainable management for woodfuel production.

So we're working with the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) to engage fully with the European Union in its discussions on sustainability criteria to come up with solutions that reflect the range of situations in the UK.

Meanwhile, though, you can be assured that most British forest managers are environmentally responsible people who comply with the Government's world-leading UK Forestry Standard (UKFS). The UKFS sets some of the strictest forestry standards in the world. These include the minimum levels of sustainability and environmental and wildlife protection that woodland management must achieve to comply with legal requirements and qualify for government grants and Forestry Commission felling licences and forest plan approvals. This means that you can use British-grown woodfuel confident that it has been grown in sustainable, responsibly managed forests.

In addition to complying with the UKFS, many British woodland owners also have their woodland management "certified" against the independent UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS). This means they can display the logo of the independent, international Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC) on their products as an assurance to customers that the product comes from well managed forests.

You say that each new crop of woodfuel reabsorbs the carbon that's emitted by the previous crop being burned, in a balanced cycle. However, it takes years for a crop to grow, but perhaps only months for it to be burned. How is that a balanced cycle? Surely that means more carbon is being emitted than is being absorbed?
Think of it another way, in a whole-woodland context. Imagine a 200-hectare woodland being sustainably managed to produce woodfuel on a 20-year rotation: that means we harvest andburn 10 hectares every year, and we replant 10 hectares every year. So every year, while 10 hectare's worth of burning woodfuel is emitting carbon, there are 190 hectares of growing trees absorbing carbon. In other words, there are always many more trees reabsorbing the carbon than there are emitting it.That's how the balance is achieved.
Does burning wood cause air pollution?
It could, but the use of clean wood from existing woodlands by small to medium-scale heating systems produces relatively low levels of emissions.

In addition, provided the fuel has been adequately dried to get its moisture content down to a specified level, and it is burned in equipment for which it is specified, woodfuel emissions will comply with the air quality standards required in our cities.

So before buying wood-burning equipment you should check with the supplier or your local Council's environmental health department that its specifications meet local air-quality requirements.

Similarly, you should also be sure to buy your woodfuel from a reputable supplier who guarantees that the fuel's moisture content complies with the industry standard and your equipment's specification.

We continue to work with the environmental authorities in each country on measures to ensure that the risk of air pollution from woodfuel is minimised.See information about Smoke Control Areas here 

What about quality assurance? How can I be sure that what I'm buying is up to the job?
We're on the case. We - and most of the people already involved in the industry - are aware that equipment and service failures, and too much variation in the quality of the fuel entering the market, will damage the industry's reputation and slow its development. This will serve nobody's interest. It is, for example, essential that woodfuel is supplied at the right specification for the equipment.

Many suppliers now operate quality control procedures, and we're working to get these standards applied consistently across the supply chain. To help achieve this, we've brought together a forum of key trade associations to promote a co-ordinated approach to the development of the woodfuel industry, including quality assurance.

Where will the wood come from? Is there enough woodfuel in Britain to go around?
Britain is a comparatively lightly forested land by European standards, so we cannot hope to grow enough woodfuel to supply everyone. This means that woodfuel can only ever be one element in a mix of renewable energy measures that we must take to meet our targets for reducing carbon emissions.

However, we could use a lot more British-grown wood as fuel without harming the sustainability or environmental quality of our woods and forests, and without impinging on wood supplies to other users and customers. That's because there is still a lot of woody material that is not currently being used that could be used for woodfuel.

For example, Forestry Commission England estimates that up to 2 million tonnes a year could be produced from currently "under-managed" woodland in England alone, saving 400,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.

Its England Woodfuel Strategy is particularly targeting this resource for market development because not only will it bring more woodfuel to the market, but also by encouraging owners to manage their woodlands for fuel production, the woodlands will benefit too.

Other potential sources include:   

•    Some of the "Lop and Top" Material, or “brash”, left over after forestry operations, that is, the treetops and branches that are stripped off the logs before the logs are taken to the mills;    

•    Sawmill Residues, such as the irregular-shaped off-cuts from the outsides of logs that result from the logs being "squared" before being converted into planks. (Indeed, most of this resource is already used). Sawdust is another sawmill residue, which can be compressed into pellets for use as woodfuel;    

•    Arboricultural "Arisings", that is, the trees and branches that result from the pruning and felling of non-forest trees, such as trees in streets, parks and gardens. It is estimated that 68 per cent of arboricultural arisings from built-up areas and along transport corridors in England does not currently find a market, with most of it going to landfill; and    

•    Recovered Wood, that is, previously used wood that has come to the end of its first use in the form of pallets, buildings and furniture etc, and could be converted into fuel rather than sent to landfill. (A Defra study identified that using clean recovered wood as fuel presents one of the greatest opportunities for carbon savings in waste management, and was preferable to land-filling or recycling the wood.) In addition, the UK, Scottish and Welsh Assembly Governments have policies for increasing the area of forest and woodland in each country, and at least some of the new woodland area will produce new sources of woodfuel over time.

What about places that could be both supplier and user, such as wooded farms and estates? Are you encouraging them to get involved?
Yes, very much so, because farms and estates with their own woodlands that can produce woodfuel, and a number of buildings that need heat and hot water, can be among the most carbon-efficient woodfuel users of all. The transport emissions generated by same-site use can be very low, and the economics can compete strongly with those of fossil fuels. This is especially true for those who can produce a surplus for sale, and who can use existing farm machinery for some of the operations rather than buy new equipment.
If I convert my heating to a wood-fuelled system, can I be confident of getting a reliable supply at a fair price?
The supply picture varies across Britain - some regions now have relatively well developed woodfuel supply chains, while others are still in the early stages of development. However, we and our partners in other government departments and agencies are working hard to put in place the factors needed to create market confidence everywhere.

A key element of this work is to gather information so that we know what we've got; from that we can work out what is still needed. So we're working to gain better estimates of the actual and potential woodfuel resources available, improved information about current levels of demand and supply, and greater price transparency.We have networks of regional woodfuel advisers across England and Scotland, and a team supporting woodfuel development in Wales, working to gather and provide local information and advice. They are also helping to bring local "clusters" of suppliers and customers together to stimulate the market and give both sides of the supply chain the confidence to invest.

The Commission supplies some woodfuel from its own forests, but we're constrained in the amount we can supply by our existing long-term contracts

However, our key thrust across Britain is to help and encourage private woodland owners, who have the largest potential resource, to bring their wood to the market. Further useful information about the relative costs of woodfuel is available on the Biomass Energy Centre website 

If I want to become a woodfuel supplier, would I find a reliable market for my product?
The number of potential customers varies from region to region, and we're working to help more suppliers and more customers to enter the market and give each side of the supply chain the confidence to take the plunge.

We are using our own and other government departments' grant schemes to try to get the balance of support right between the supply and demand sides of the industry.

And the network of advisors referred to above is also playing an important role in bringing together local clusters of suppliers and customers.

Are there any grants available to help me get involved?
Yes, the Forestry Commission and other government departments in all three countries have a range of grant schemes to help new suppliers and users with the cost of equipment,and to help woodland owners get started on woodfuel production. Some of these schemes are not specifically directed at woodfuel, but can be applied to it. We recommend you contact one of the information sources listed at below for specific advice on the grants available in your country. You can also visit the Biomass Energy Centre website, for details of current grant schemes available.
Can I make a decent profit from supplying woodfuel?
Many suppliers are already achieving a good return on their investment. As with any business, the answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including whether you can turn over enough volume to pay for any up-front investment. It can be a significant help if you already have some of the equipment and facilities that will allow you to diversify into woodfuel. If you are a farmer, for example, it is likely that you already have machinery that can be used for woodfuel operations.The Renewable Heat Incentive, which became available in 2011, has provided a significant boost to the profitability of woodfuel production and supply.
What research and development work are you doing to support the woodfuel industry?
The Forestry Commission's Forest Research arm has a full programme of research and development projects that are constantly producing new data and developments that we feed into our programme to support the woodfuel industry’s development. For more information about this
What's government policy on woodfuel?
The UK, Scottish and Welsh Assembly Governments all recognise and support the use of renewable forms of biomass, including woodfuel, in the mix of measures they are using to achieve the UK Government's target, and their own targets, for reducing carbon emissions. The UK targets are 20% below 1990 levels by 2010, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Some of the available support measures, such as grants, are provided by the UK Government in all four countries of the UK, while others are specifically provided by each of the country governments to support the industry in their country.

A key, UK-wide government support scheme which came into effect in 2011 for commercial installations and is due in in 2014 for domestic schemes,  is the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which will support the additional costs of installing biomass boilers.

This has the potential to transform the finances of the woodfuel industry, and make it a much more attractive business proposition.

You should consult the appropriate contacts below for detailed information about government policy and support measures in your country.

FAQ's From the Forestry Commission

Wood chips

What are wood chips?

Wood chips are small pieces of logs or wood waste. These are formed by passing through a chipping machine, which turns them into 30mm pieces, also known as G30. Find out more here;m

What is the calorific value of wood chips?

Around 3.5 kWh per kilogram, depending on moisture content​. We recommend maximum 30% moisture.

How much space do I need to store them?

​Wood chips need around three times the storage space of wood pellets;

  • Wood chips = 250KG/m3
  • Wood pellets = 650KG/m3
Where is the nearest supplier of wood chips?

The Biomass Suppliers' List (BSL) is the most comprehensive list of high quality wood fuel suppliers in the UK. ​Click here to locate high quality wood fuel suppliers in your area.

What is the cost wood chips?
Bought in wood chips are typically £120 per tonne. If you have your own supply of logs, you can have them contract chipped on site. In our experience the cost for doing this is around £11 to £15 a tonne. This means your entire annual supply can be chipped in half a day, straight into your fuel store.

Wood Pellets

What are wood pellets?

Wood pellets are a type of biomass fuel, made from compacted sawdust or other waste from sawmilling and manufacturing.

What is the calorific value of wood pellets?

​4.8kWh per Kilogram. This means you need one third of the space that you need for wood chip and get three times the heat.

  • Wood Chips = 250KG/m3
  • Wood Pellets = 650KG/m3
How much do I need, compared to oil?

1 Litre of oil = 2 Kg of wood pellets.

What is the cost of wood pellets?

​The cost per tonne is £180 - £220.

Where is the nearest supplier of wood pellets?

The Biomass Suppliers' List (BSL) is the most comprehensive list of high quality wood fuel suppliers in the UK. ​Click here to locate high quality wood fuel suppliers in your area.

Can I use any kind of pellets?

You will need ENPlus A1 or A2 pellets, which are 10-12mm in length and 6mm in diameter. Wood pellets should be dry, clean, mechanically robust and have an ash content defined by the appropriate standard. They should also flow freely and be able to be delivered via a pneumatic system.​ Find out more here; 

Logs

What is the calorific value of logs?

5.1 kWh per Kilogram, depending on moisture content.

What kind of logs should I burn?

Logs should be dry, free from coatings and preservatives and come from sustainable sources. They should be seasoned for 1-2 years before burning, to ensure as low a moisture content as possible - 20% for use in a biomass boiler. Otherwise, energy is lost in burning off excess moisture, rather than providing heat.

How long do logs take to dry?

Hard woods will take longer to season (2 years) than soft woods (1 year) and the ideal size is 500cm in length and 12-15cm in thickness.

Where can I find a good log supplier?
The Biomass Suppliers' List (BSL) is the most comprehensive list of high quality wood fuel suppliers in the UK. ​Click here to locate high quality wood fuel suppliers in your area.
How much should pay for logs?

​Logs should cost you around £90 per tonne.

Grain

Really? I can burn grain?
Grain can be an economical and convenient fuel for use in biomass boilers. “Pourable” grain such as oats, wheat and barley (all which have

a low nitrogen content) can be used in Guntamatic’s Powerchip and Powercorn biomass boilers.

What is the calorific value of grain?
The calorific values of grain can vary slightly, with Barley giving 4.3-4.4 kWh per kg and Wheat giving 4.5-4.6 kWh per kg. Grain is a slightly denser fuel than miscanthus, so will require less space to store for the same amount of heat.
Won't I get clinker?
It is advisable to add approx. 0.3 – 0.5% by weight of slaked lime (calcium hydroxide Ca(OH)2) to the fuel before use in boilers with ratings up to 50 kW and 0.5 – 0.8% for boilers with ratings over 50 kW. That increases the calcium content of the fuel, thereby raising the ash fusion point and reducing the amount of clinker that can form in the first place.
How dry should it be?
Grain should not be used with a residual moisture content of more than 13%. Otherwise, energy that would be used to generate heat is used to burn off water, which reduces the boiler’s performance and gives less heat for the same amount of fuel and the same cost.

Miscanthus

What is miscanthus?

Miscanthus, (or “Elephant Grass”) is a perennial grass originating from Asia. It is becoming popular as an energy crop as it can easily and quickly grow on poor quality land, with no need for fertilisers or very much intervention, making its cultivation relatively simple and straightforward.

What is the calorific value of miscanthus?

3.6 kWh per Kilogram​, roughly the same as wood chips.

Which boilers will burn miscanthus?

The Guntamatic Powercorn and Powerchip boilers will burn miscanthus in chopped or pelleted form.

What moisture content should miscanthus be in order for it to burn?

​The lower the moisture content the better! Pelleted miscanthus needs to be under 10% and chopped miscanthus under 15%. It is advisable to add approx. 0.3 – 0.5% by weight of slaked lime (calcium hydroxide Ca(OH)2) to the fuel before use for boilers with ratings up to 50 kW and 0.5 – 0.8% for boilers with ratings over 50 kW. This increases the calcium content of the fuel, thereby raising the ash fusion point. and minimising clinker formation.