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Carbon Trust report backs biomass heating

A lack of understanding of biomass technology is preventing wider uptake – the Carbon Trust has claimed.

The Government funded independent company is charged with promoting carbon cutting and encouraging the use of low carbon technology.

It claims there is a lack of awareness of the potential of biomass and has released a report on best practice to try to highlight the benefits of switching to the fuel.

The report argues biomass offers significant cost savings in areas off the gas grid while biomass fuel prices tend to be less volatile than fossil fuels.

Mark Williamson, Director of Innovations at the Carbon Trust, said: “We’ve become so reliant on oil, gas and electricity that many businesses just aren’t aware of the cost and carbon benefits of turning to biomass for their heating supply.

“Renewable heating will need to play a key role in meeting the UK’s renewable energy targets and biomass offers the greatest potential to contribute to this.

“Growing the UK biomass industry can also offer other positive impacts, such as creating new green jobs in the UK and making use of certain waste products that would otherwise go to landfill.”

The Carbon Trust provides interest-free loans of up to £200,000 to help small businesses upgrade to more energy efficient equipment, including biomass boilers. 

Despite the high upfront costs of installing a biomass system the trust claims pay back on the initial capital outlay - particularly when replacing electric, LPG, or heating oil systems – is attractive although it depends on the ups and downs of the fuel market.

Angela Duignan, Woodfuel Implementation Officer for Forestry Commission England said:
'The Forestry Commission - through A Woodfuel Strategy for England - is working to facilitate the use of additional two million tonnes of wood each year by 2020 for renewable heat generation in modern, efficient boilers.

'The guide is perfect for businesses and organisations looking to reduce their environmental impact and their fuel bills. It demonstrates that biomass boilers offer an attractive and viable alternative to heating with fossil fuel.'

The Carbon Trust refers to two case studies in its report:

Cwm Taff NHS Trust
replaces heating oil with a 1.2MW biomass boiler burning woodchips.  It says this will save an estimated £35,000 per year and pay back the initial investment within five years.

Bell Bros Nurseries - which will be providing 60-70% of the heat needed for its 50,000m2 of glasshouses by using woodchip.  It says the switch to biomass will save 1,400 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year and will also mean a 40-50% reduction in annual heating costs.

To download a copy of the report go to the Carbon Trust website by clicking here