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Pros and Cons of Biomass Boilers

High financial rewards from switching to a Biomass Boiler makes for a greatly attractive heating solution, particularly if your property is not connected to the mains gas grid. However, you will need plenty of space for your boiler and fuel store and there are the installation costs to consider.

Biomass boilers make a lot of sense for rural domestic properties, commercial buildings, farms and schools. As Biomass or Pellet Boilers are not suitable for everyone, here’s brief overview of what we mean by Biomass and some of the common pros and cons regarding them.

What do we mean by Biomass?

Biomass wood pellet boiler and storage with autofeed

When we refer to biomass we are talking about either pellet or wood chip boilers, which operate at a high temperature, completely replacing your existing boiler and used for either your central heating system, water heating or both. Pellet and wood chip boilers can be fed automatically and biomass boiler maintenance is minimal.

The pros and cons of Biomass Boilers

The BIG financial pros are:

  • Biomass fuel is around 40% cheaper than oil or LPG
  • You also earn £’000s from Renewable Heat Incentive payments
  • In many cases the combination of Renewable Heat Incentive payments and bill savings will completely wipe out your heating bills altogether.

The Renewable Heat Incentive applies to non-domestic and domestic installations, launching for homeowners in Spring 2014.

Other pros of Biomass Boilers:

  • The wood pellet fuel supply is sustainable and not subject to price hikes
  • Biomass Boilers are carbon neutral, ideal for reducing carbon tax
  • You don’t need to be connected to utilities so a Biomass Boiler is the perfect off grid solution

Cons of Biomass Boilers:

  • Biomass Boilers are more expensive than gas-fired boilers to install, you’ll need to invest in your boiler in order to reap the substantial financial rewards. Don’t forget your Renewable Heat Incentive payments are likely to cover the costs of your investment, so you will get it all back.
  • EnergyMyWay can give you with a full estimate of the appropriate boiler for your property and we can also provide funded or leased options for your boiler.
  • Space for fuel storage is needed. If you don’t have an appropriate existing building we can provide a bespoke fuel store, designed to suit your property and your heating requirements.
  • Access for the delivery lorry for the fuel supply is needed, however many biomass boilers are orga-fed so you only need to get within a few metres of the fuel store.
  • Annual servicing is required. EnergyMyWay provides a full service and maintenance contract.
  • The above is a very simplistic overview. You can read more about Biomass boilers on our product page, or in other Biomass-related blog posts using the filter on the right. If you need more information about biomass and other renewable options please do not hesitate to contact us.

Look how much you can earn from a DOMESTIC Biomass Boiler

Domestic Biomass Boiler financial data

Look how much you can earn from a COMMERCIAL Biomass Boiler

20 year return:£684,000
Return is calculated using combined bill savings and subsidy earnings. Bill savings are calculated using estimated energy usage and either the electricity price at the time of installation or, for our heating products, the existing fuel type available to the property.
Payback:4 years (at 28%)
Typical cost:£124,000
Income:£34,200 p.a.
Carbon offset:123,000 Kg p.a.

The above is a very simplistic overview of the things to consider regarding Biomass Boilers. If you need more information about Biomass Boilers or your other renewable energy options please call 0845 871 3181 or find your nearest office.

This article was first published in November 2010, and updated in October 2013.

James Eades

By: James Eades

Operations Director, James Eades is EnergyMyWay's in-house expert on renewable energy policy, microgeneration technologies and best practice in the renewable energy industry.