Biomass boilers provide space heating and hot water for properties and work in a similar way to conventional boilers. However, biomass boilers are usually cheaper to run than other types of heating systems, such as gas-fired and oil-fired boilers. What’s more, biomass boilers are powered by a renewable fuel source, making them more environmentally friendly than fossil fuel-based heating systems.
How Much Does A Biomass Boiler Cost?
Although biomass boilers tend to cost more than fossil fuel boilers, they can reduce your energy costs and cut your carbon emissions. The cost of a biomass boiler depends on certain factors, including the:
- Manufacturer of the boiler
- Output size of the boiler
- Type of fuel the boiler uses to generate heat
- Installation fees
- Fuel storage capacity
- Additional features you decide on
Manually-fed biomass boilers can range from £4,000 to £10,000, and automatically-fed biomass boilers can cost anything from £9,000 to £25,000.
Compare Biomass Boilers Prices
Should You Install A Biomass Boiler?
Installing a biomass boiler is considered a long-term investment, but it could be a sound investment if you currently use LPG, oil or electricity to heat your home. Biomass boilers use wood pellets, wood chips or logs as a fuel source, making them renewable energy heating systems. As biomass boilers don’t rely on fossil fuels as a fuel source, they can help to reduce your carbon dioxide emissions and protect you from the rising costs of gas, oil and electricity.
Could A Biomass Boiler Save You Money on Your Energy Bills?
Replacing your existing heating system with a biomass boiler could help to save you money on your energy bills, unless you currently own a modern efficient system, like a condensing gas or oil boiler. Biomass boilers are a particularly attractive option for homes with no supply to the grid, but they’re also suitable for properties with enough space for fuel delivery and storage.
Another benefit of installing a biomass boiler is that you can potentially receive quarterly payments for the energy your renewable heating system generates through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The RHI is a UK government scheme created to encourage homeowners to invest in renewable heating systems.
The table below shows you how much you could save by installing a wood pellet biomass boiler in a 4-bedroom detached house with basic insulation in England, Scotland or Wales.
|EXISTING HEATING SYSTEM||FUEL BILL SAVINGS PER YEAR|
|G-Rated Gas Boiler||£140 – £150|
|Old Electric Storage Heaters||£820 – £870|
|New Electric Storage Heaters||£355 – £360|
|G-Rated Oil Boiler||£250 – £255|
|G-Rated LPG Boiler||£950 – £1,150|
|A-Rated LPG Boiler||£195 – £200|
|Coal Heating System||£155 – £160|
*All figures are based on fuel prices as of June 2021 according to the Energy Saving Trust.
How Does A Biomass Boiler Work?
Biomass boilers use natural, non-fossil fuel resources to either provide heat for individual rooms or provide heating and hot water for the whole property. The most widely used natural fuel sources are wood pellets, wood chips and logs, which can be fed manually or automatically into the boiler.
As biomass boilers need to be large enough to hold the wood, they are usually much bigger than fossil fuel boilers. You also need additional space to store the wood at your property and install an automatic hopper if you choose to have one. An automatic hopper makes life easier by automatically feeding the boiler with fuel as and when required, but it will increase the cost of your system. If you opt for a manual system, you will need to lift and empty the bags of wood into the hopper by hand.
All biomass boilers have an ash pan that needs to be emptied every two to three weeks. Regular servicing and maintenance is also a must, and you need to get your boiler serviced at least once a year to maintain its reliability, performance and longevity.
What Type of Biomass Fuel Should You Use?
The three main types of biomass fuel to consider are wood pellets, wood chips and logs. Your decision will ultimately depend on your individual requirements, the amount of storage space you have, and the availability of the fuel source.
Wood pellets are the preferred fuel type for biomass boilers because they are the most compact and efficient, plus they can be delivered in bags, stored easily and automatically fed into the boiler through an attached hopper. Pellets are usually more expensive than wood chips, but buying them in bulk can save you a bit of money.
Wood chips are cheaper per kWh and can be fed into the boiler system automatically from a hopper, but they require more storage space than wood pellets. This type of biomass fuel is often locally sourced and more suitable for large properties and commercial applications.
Logs have to be fed into the boiler by hand, so a biomass boiler using this fuel type requires more manual work. You also need to have plenty of space to store the logs. As logs can be expensive to buy, this type of biomass fuel is best suited to properties with access to large wood resources.
What is the Cheapest Type of Wood Biomass Fuel?
On average, you can expect to use between 10 and 11 tonnes of biomass fuel per year, but the exact amount depends on your requirements and the size of your property, so you could end up using less or more.
The table below lets you compare biomass fuel prices per tonne and the cost per kWh. Please be aware that these are only estimates and the cost of buying biomass fuel can vary greatly between suppliers.
|BIOMASS FUEL TYPE||PRICE PER TONNE||PENCE PER kWh|
|Wood Pellets||£250||5.2p / kWh|
|Wood Chips||£100||2.9p / kWh|
|Logs||£150||4.2p / kWh|
When purchasing biomass fuel for your boiler, make sure you choose good quality and well-seasoned wood. As it’s sometimes difficult to know for sure, we recommend you only buy wood fuel from an approved manufacturer who meets a recognised standard.