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What is Biomass?

Ever since man discovered fire he has been burning whatever he could find - wood in particular - to cook with and to stay warm. For early man, these fuels were biomass fuels.

Effectively, biomass fuel can be considered as stored solar energy which, with the help of technology, we can convert to electricity or fuel. Biomass fuels can be sourced from a number of places - and biomass fuels really include anything which grows due through solar energy; such as trees, crops and plants. We are also able to find fuels from the left-overs of man's industrial side - so the remains from forestry or agriculture or manufacturing.

Today, biomass is a really attractive source of energy for a number of reasons. Firstly, biomass is a fully renewable energy source - so by using it we're not putting undue pressure on the earth through the extraction of fossil fuels. It's also much more evenly distributed over the earth's surface than fossil fuel energy sources, and it can be harnessed using technologies which are proven to be far more cost effective. Finally, and the most important one for many is the fact that biomass provides us the opportunity to be far more energy self-sufficient, and of course, global warming is significantly reduced.

Biomass - a fully carbon neutral fuel source

Burning wood (or any other biomass as a fuel) is classed as carbon neutral. This is because trees and plants cleverly remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere when they are growing, and release the same amount when they burn or decompose naturally on the forest floor. Comparatively, any traditional fossil fuel such as gas, coal and oil release harmful carbon dioxide which has been locked away for millions of years and increase atmospheric CO2 levels, the main cause of global warming.

Benefits of biomass (wood pellet, log burning, wood chip)

  • Keeps your energy costs down: The price of wood fuel is comparable per kWh to natural gas, and cheaper than Oil, Coal, Electric or LPG. If you are off the gas network then it is the cheapest form of fuel
  • A low carbon option: the carbon dioxide emitted when wood fuel is burned is the same amount that was absorbed over the previous months and years as the plant was growing. As long as new plants continue to grow in place of those used for fuel, the process is sustainable
  • Security of fuel supply: No worries about the Russians cutting off the gas, or oil shortages. Wood fuel really does grow on trees!
  • A good use for waste: Pellets are made from the sawdust produced in sawmill timber conversion process, Wood chip is made from forestry waste - waste that may otherwise be sent to landfill
  • The RHI pays you back more than the fuel costs!
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