biomass basics

Nearly all Biomass systems run on wood pellets fuel, although it is also possible to have a wood chip or log powered boiler. In principle, you can also use other plant-based fuel, such as miscanthus.

If you install a non-domestic biomass system, you can apply for a 20-year government subsidy, called the Renewable Heat Incentive. There are qualification criteria, and your system has to fit these criteria in order to gain accreditation.

Most biomass installations provide heating, although it is possible to install a combined heat and
power system.

Installing a biomass system is a major investment and requires an in-depth understanding of biomass fuel storage and handling.

Wood pellets & Wood chip

Wood pellets are made from sustainably sourced compressed sawdust. The pellets hold very little moisture, which means they are highly energy efficient – higher than the logs you’d burn on your fire.

Wood chip fuel is less densely packed than wood pellets because chip is not compressed under high pressure. However, the chip should be very dry. Chip boilers require more hands-on work than pellet boilers, which is one reason why they are less popular.

For low volume users, you can purchase pellets in bags, delivered on a pallet. For most non-domestic installations, this is not practical as you need to tip the pellets from the bags into your fuel store. Therefore, larger volumes are delivered by lorries, which blow the pellets through a pipe, straight into your store.

Service and Maintenance

Probably the number one complaint with biomass systems is excess dust in the wood pellet store. The natural reaction is to blame the quality of the pellets. However, in at least 9 cases out of 10, we find that the problem is with either the original design and installation of the system, or some mechanical part of the system needing repair. 

It is faults within the customer’s biomass system that is causing the dust problem – not the pellets themselves. 

This is why it’s so important to have a qualified engineer carry out an annual service of your biomass installation. Ideally, you need an engineer who has a good knowledge of both wood pellets and boilers. We have suitably qualified engineers at PBE because we supply wood pellets and wood chip as well as installing and maintaining biomass installations. 


If you are thinking of installing a biomass system, Please give us a call and speak to one of our experienced engineers.



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