The Alliance of Sector Skills Councils

Biomass

What are biomass systems?
Biomass is where energy is produced using organic plant material such as wood, agricultural and coppicing waste.  Non-woody biomass can also be produced from industrial and biodegradable waste from food processing or high energy crops like sugar cane, oil-seed rape and maize.

What are the benefits?
Because the carbon emissions are offset by emissions absorbed during the fuel’s production, biomass is a carbon neutral process.  The process also contributes to waste management by producing energy from products which may otherwise end up as landfill.  When local waste products are used, the system brings local investment and employment, reducing transport costs and helping to minimise the impact of transportation pollution on the environment.

How does it work?
Biomass can be used to produce heat by using stand-alone stoves to heat a small space, fuelled by logs or pellets with the option of a back boiler on some models, or by boilers connected to hot water and central heating systems.  Consideration must be given to fuel storage space, delivery access and local fuel suppliers as well as complying with the Clean Air Act (in smokeless zones) and safety and building regulations.  (For more information, visit the Energy Saving Trust website at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk).

More information - Renewable Energy Association - Biomass Heat Group

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