What are biomass boilers?
Biomass is organic material derived from plants and animals. Burning these biological materials in a biomass boiler provides a renewable and sustainable source of heat. Biomass boilers work in a similar manner to conventional boilers, where water is heated up and then circulated to provide the heating requirements for a building. They can therefore easily be retrofitted into an existing system, as well as being installed as part of a brand new heating system.
There are 3 main types of biomass boilers; low temperature hot water (LTHW), high temperature hot water (HTHW) and steam. LTHW accounts for the vast majority of boilers sold in the UK and are typically run at temperatures no higher than 90°C, often slightly lower. LTHW biomass boilers tend to be the most common replacement for fossil fuel boilers and are used for space heating in homes, residential buildings, commercial properties such as offices, restaurants, hotels etc, and district heating systems where multiple building are connected to the same boiler. HTHW and steam biomass boilers are designed to operate at higher export temperatures than LTHW systems, typically ranging from 120 to 280°C. These are more appropriate for sites that have a high, constant heat demand, so are typically used where there is a process heat requirement on site for things such as cooking, cleaning, chemical production, along with other larger users of energy such as hospitals.
Whilst there is a wide range of material that can be classified as biomass fuel such as grain, miscanthus and chicken litter, the vast majority of systems use 1 of 3 main types; log, wood pellet and wood chip. Logs are a popular choice of fuel for those who have access to a lot of woodland and tend to achieve the greatest fuel savings. Logs are manually loaded in to the boiler, so day to day interaction is required from the owner. More information on this fuel type can be found on our log page.
Wood pellets are a biomass fuel made from compressed sawdust, produced as a waste from sawmills. Unlike log systems which require manual filling, when connected to a bulk fuel store a pellet biomass boiler will be completely automated. More information on this fuel type can be found on our wood pellet page.
Wood chips are small pieces of wood which have been through a chipper to produce suitably sized fuel for boilers. Wood chip can be delivered in bulk, or if the fuel is self supplied from nearby land, it can be chipped directly into the fuel store. Much like pellet, once in the fuel store these are automatically fed to the biomass boiler. More information on this fuel type can be found on our wood chip page.
Along with virgin wood chip, waste / recycled wood chip can also be used in suitable systems. For certain companies this is a great way of not only saving on disposal costs for waste wood that was previously removed from site, but it also gives them a free supply of fuel to cover their heating requirements. Where not available on site, waste / recycled wood chip can also be purchased through fuel suppliers at cheaper rates than virgin wood.
Log biomass boiler
Wood chip biomass boiler
Wood pellet biomass boiler
Biomass Heating Cost, Savings & Funding
Whilst biomass heating systems will cost more than the equivalent fossil fuel boiler, there are significant financial benefits by opting for biomass with a typical installation seeing return on investment of around 20% for 20 years. The cost of a fully installed biomass system can vary depending on a number things. We have produced a news article titled "How much does a biomass boiler cost?" which goes into this area in more detail.
Commercial biomass boiler systems are capable of burning a range of fuels such as wood chip, wood pellet, logs, grains, straw and miscanthus. By switching to a biomass boiler from a fossil fuel source such as oil, you could expect to see fuel savings from anywhere between 30% to 50%, or even up to 80% if biomass is replacing electric for heating.
Further advantages are that many businesses can burn by-products produced on site, such as pallets and wood off-cuts. This not only provides some businesses free fuel, but also removes disposal costs associated with waste removal from site.
Along with the financial benefits you can also play your part in reducing carbon emissions by replacing a fossil fuel boiler with a biomass boiler.
The main driving force behind the success of biomass boiler installations in recent years has been the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). This is a government initiated scheme that was set up to encourage the use of renewable heat technologies among home owners, communities and businesses by providing financial incentives. The scheme pays participants each quarter for every kWh of heat generated and used over the past 3 months, with the commercial scheme lasting 20 years and domestic 7 years. As the capital expenditure on commercial projects is typically paid off in around 5 years, this leaves a further 15 years of RHI payments for commercial owners to benefit from. The payments are index linked as well, so the rate per kWh increases each year in line with the consumer price index. Further details on this scheme can be found on the RHI section of this website.
Biomass Products, Information & Fuel Types
There are a number of different biomass boiler makes, models and sizes, that cover a wide range of applications. We are the importers and distributors for two of the largest Austrian manufacturers, Guntamatic and Froling, who have an extensive range of systems we can offer. We do however pride ourselves on providing the most appropriate system for you application, so will source other manufacturers systems if they are better suited for the end users applications. Further information on different types of biomass boilers can be found via the links below.
Wood chip boilers
We supply and install a range of wood chip boilers from 20kW up to 20MW in size. We pride ourselves on providing the most appropriate system for your project and will source other systems if necessary. Browse through our product range or give us a call to discuss your requirements.
Wood pellet boilers
We offer a complete range of wood pellet boilers that are suitable for almost any application. We pride ourselves on providing the most appropriate system for your project and will source other systems if necessary. Browse through our product range or give us a call to discuss your requirements.
We can offer a range of log boilers to meet your requirements. We pride ourselves on providing the most appropriate system for your project and will source other systems if necessary. Browse through our product range or give us a call to discuss your requirements.
Our biomass boilers
As the importers and distributors of two of the largest Austrian biomass boiler manufacturers, there's an extensive range of systems we can offer. We pride ourselves on providing the most appropriate system for your project and will source other systems if necessary.
How to buy a biomass system
Treco will be with you at every step of the way to make sure you buy the right system for your need today and for tomorrow. It all starts with a phone call and a free site visit.
Treco’s RHI calculator
Try our RHI calculator to work out the fuel cost savings, potential RHI payments and payback you can expect from your biomass project. Developed in-house by us, all you have to do is enter your boiler size, installed cost, current fossil fuel usage and your preferred biomass fuel type.
Biomass vs Conventional Boiler Systems
Biomass boilers can provide all the same heating functions as conventional fossil fuel systems, so in terms of technical performance either will do the job as well as the other.
There are some drawbacks when it comes to biomass vs conventional boilers, with the main ones being the capital expenditure and spatial requirements. A plant room installation of a biomass boiler will be two or three times more expensive than a fossil fuel system of the same size. A biomass system and all the required equipment will also take up more room than the same sized fossil fuel system. Depending on the fuel type as well, there needs to be some consideration in terms of fuel deliveries for biomass on a commercial scale, as it can involve large vehicle movements (a similar thing can also be said for oil delivery).
There are however significant financial benefits associated with a biomass boiler when compared to conventional heating system.. In most cases biomass is cheaper than fossil fuel, with average savings typically being around 30%. Biomass systems also allow the owner to claim RHI payments for the heat used on site. When both of these are combined the typical payback period for projects is around 5 years, with the non-domestic RHI lasting for a total of 20 years. Whilst the capital expenditure is higher to begin with, ultimately the system pays for itself and provides a healthy return on investment for 20 years. As well as the financial benefits, switching to biomass also benefits the environment by helping you reduce your carbon footprint.
Contact us to discuss your potential project. With a short conversation we will be able to tell you if a biomass boiler will work for you, give you an indication of the type and size of system you need, as well as providing an estimated cost and payback scenario.
Why use Treco to deliver your biomass system?
With over 12 years’ experience, we are one of the UK’s longest standing, largest, and leading installers and developers of biomass boiler systems. We are highly experienced in designing, supplying, installing and maintaining this renewable energy technology and have sold approaching a thousand biomass boilers nationwide to date. Through our many years of experience, valuable lessons have been learnt which enables us to achieve a very high level of engineered precision and technical competence, and ensures the design of a highly efficient system. We have a strong belief in bringing the right solution to the right application, and will never compromise our integrity by supplying a technical solution that is inappropriate to its client’s requirements.
We have worked on a wide range of projects, from 20kW single domestic installations, to 1MW sized boilers for industrial processes. , as well as larger district heating schemes where the heating and hot water requirement for 72 houses on an estate were provided.
Below are some case studies from a selection of our installations: