New energy sources to fulfil the requirements of today society are necessary. Hydrogen, biogas or solar energy are some of the current available solutions. One that is continuously increasing its popularity is biomass. The use of waste materials from wood is a good and sustainable option to produce energy. It’s a cheap solution and has many other advantages. Let’s see some of them.
Biomass. Not only fuel
One of the most common mistakes when talking about biomass is thinking that many trees are needed to be cut down. However, the source to create biomass fuel is not necessary a forest. Many industries make use of timber to produce furniture or handtools like a hammer. While manufacturing those items, scrap lumber is also produced. Those waste materials can be an outstanding source for biomass.
Of course trees can be the source for biomass. And it’s not a bad idea in many places. Cutting down trees helps to control the growing of forests. And, what is more important, it diminishes the possibilities of a big fire. It helps to ‘clean up’ forests and provides a great biomass fuel.
Types of biomass fuel used in buildings
As we have mentioned, biomass sources can be trees and scrap lumber. But also some kind of crops and manure can be used. Among the different types of fuel provided to be burned in biomass boilers we can find the following ones:
- Pellets: maybe the most known. Made of sawdust they are small cylinders. They have a really high calorific value and it is really cheap.
- Wood chips: they are easier to produce than pellets. However, less boilers make use of wood chips. They need to be dried and are slightly cheaper than pellets.
- Cherry stone, almond shells and hazelnut shells. They are produced in food industries. They are even cheaper, but few boilers can make use of them.
The installation of a biomass boiler is not as simple as a gas one. Biomass boilers are usually more expensive than other solutions. Moreover, you need room to store the fuel. Nevertheless, they initial investment is paid off in less than 15 years in comparison to a gas installation.
The size of the boiler depends on the power you need. There are small boilers that can even look like a fireplace. If the power requirement is high, the boiler appearance is similar to a regular one. We talked about Ferroli boilers in this blog some time ago. We recommend you to take a look at that post.