Biomass, as a renewable energy system is outpacing minority alternative energies.
Its efficiency is being demonstrated as a more reliable and cost-effective heating option. So much so that not only is winning the private households sector, but in recent years several public institutions have decided to integrate it into their buildings.
Every kW produced by diesel costs almost twice that of biomass.
The remarkable economic and ecological benefits are the main reasons for this change in heating system. Every kW produced by diesel costs almost twice the biomass: 8.95 Euros for diesel versus the 4.51 Euros for biomass. Apart from forest waste and other elements, biomass boilers consume pellets (small cylinders of compressed sawdust), the price of which will continue to fall due to competition in its production.
Here to stay
As for environmental impact, compared to other energy sources like oil or butane, the CO2 produce by pellets is neutral. This means that their use does not increase the level of CO2 in the atmosphere since its emitted carbon is recovered naturally by photosynthesis of plants. These advantages and the momentum provided by the public sector suggest that biomass is here to stay.
For example, the Catalan town of Navàs (Barcelona) is a pioneer in the use of renewable energies. Since 2012 and through a referendum, it decided to replace natural gas and diesel biomass boilers for heating a kindergarten, a school of music and even the same hall.
According to forecasts, in nine years they will have been amortized the cost of installation and annually will save eighteen thousand euros. A more recent case is the High Resolution Hospital in Sierra Segura, in Jaen, which began this summer to adapt to a biomass system. The center will produce thermal energy from 2015 and obtain an annually save of 30,000 euros.
The Terrassa Hospital could be one more example of good decision making. The Health Consortium and the County Council are preparing an agreement, which will result on a construction project of a large boiler which will start working as soon as a and public tender take place. The switch to biomass is under Forest del Valles, a project of fire prevention in the region, and between the objectives pursued is also the reduction of CO2 emissions which will open a new niche in the area.
From olives to horses’ litter
As an ecological system, it adapts to the conditions of each area in which it is installed: while in the Hospital of Sierra Segura will be used, among other things, olives for combustion in Terrassa is expected to use exclusive forest biomass.
A previous study is always necessary to makes sure that we will obtain sufficient KW of energy from the biomass available to be used in the area.
It is also important that the equipment is bought from a reputable manufacturer so that we can obtain future services such as a possible extension of the system or a simple repair, as well as to facilitate us the purchase of the machinery, it is important that spare parts or accessories for the system will be available during at least ten years. There are plenty of blogs platform where, teams of specialists and professionals provide information and advice through articles and video tutorials for the user or to provide with a study for a future project for a home. I have seen hundreds of references of companies which can offer advice in this sector, have their own space online and publish store catalog with their own innovation products.
How it works?
The operation of a biomass boiler is relatively simple; the fuel is blown or auger fed from the fuel store into the main combustion chamber and is burnt at high temperatures to produce heat. The remaining ash is automatically deposited into the ash bin. The thermal energy is transferred via a heat exchanger to heat water, oil or raise steam which is circulated around the building or used for other work processes requiring heat.
A number of different fuels can be burnt with the boilers, including the following:
- Wood Pellets
- Wood Chip
- Chicken Litter
- Horse Litter
- Olives or olives stones
- Organic waste.
Essentially, anything that is deemed as organic can be combusted to produce low carbon energy. Because of the efficient and advanced designs of the new biomass boilers available nowadays they can combust fuels with higher moisture contents and you can even perform combustion tests to find out the calorific value of your waste product and assess its ability to be used as a fuel.