Biomass boilers can provide heat and hot water in the same way as a gas boiler. While government has been advocating the use of biomass boilers, this system has its pros and cons. One of the biggest advantages of the boilers is that the cost is minimal as compared to using gas or electricity to keep your home warm.
Many people are not aware of the fact that just 12 meter cube of wood chips can provide heat equivalent to 1000 litres of heating oil. Biomass currently wasted by the forestry industry can be used to provide heat to 1.5 million homes in the UK.
A typical domestic biomass boiler lasts around 18 to 20 years. As far as the payback period of this type of heating system is concerned, it typically depends on your usage and the heating efficiency of your house. It has been observed that a biomass boiler pays back its initial cost in around 5 to 9 years.
As mentioned in the beginning, there are a number of advantages of using biomass for heating needs. Here is a list of some of the advantages.
It is a sustainable fuel source. In simple terms, enough trees can be easily planted to replace the ones used for producing biomass. However, proper planning is needed to ensure that it remains a sustainable fuel source.
Another advantage is that it is environmentally friendly and it is almost carbon neutral. While the wood needs to be cut down, processed and transported for use, the carbon cost involved is much less than the heating systems using oil and electric.
The modern boilers available in the market today produce very little smoke which means that these can also be used in smokeless zones. However, it is important that these are managed in the right manner otherwise your boiler will start producing a lot of smoke and will become a nuisance.
Another advantage of using biomass is that it is one of the best ways of using waste wood. Currently, the waste food is used to fill landfills which mean that using biomass boilers is an excellent way to prevent this useful resource going in to landfills.
The past few years has seen a huge fluctuation in the price of oil and gas. At one time, the prices of oil in the international markets reached above $100 a barrel whereas currently, the prices is languishing at less than $50 a barrel. However, this does not mean that the price won’t go up again. On the other hand, prices of biomass remains almost consistent which means that you do not have to worry about price increases as is the case with the traditional heating fuels such as oil and gas.
Biomass is also extremely environmentally friendly. It is estimated that you can reduce your annual carbon output by approximately 9.5 t by using biomass when compared with electric or coal-based heating system.
While using biomass has its advantages, it also has quite a few disadvantages. One of the biggest disadvantages is that these boilers need a lot of space as these are usually bigger than gas or oil boilers. Also, the fuel needs a lot of storage space.
The initial cost of installing a boiler is high as compared to traditional oil or gas boilers. Also, it is more labour-intensive as compared to the traditional heating systems.
Overall, biomass boilers are a great way of keeping your home warm in an environmentally friendly way. While it is true that there are some disadvantages such as the high initial cost, these tend to be cheaper over the lifetime of the boiler.