Are biomass fuel wood pellets renewable?
It is vital for the long-term generation that biomass fuel pellets are sourced from responsibly managed forests and other industries (such as sawmills) that protect the environment and don’t contribute to deforestation.
Sustainable wood pellets are considered carbon-neutral at the point of combustion. When biomass pellets are combusted, the same amount of atmospheric CO2 is released. The overall amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will remain neutral, unlike fossil fuels which release ancient carbon that has fallen out of the natural carbon cycle a long time ago.
Sustainable bioenergy is a low carbon, lifecycle emissions including supply chain CO2 are included, and could possibly turn it into a source of negative emissions, with the addition of carbon capture technology.
How is biomass fuel used?
As a heating resource biomass fuel is typically used for heating small groups of houses, large individual houses, schools, or glasshouses where heat is not readily available.
Biomass boilers have different tolerances of wet fuel, with most running on wood pellets with a moisture content above 30%.
Biomass combustion takes place in four stages which can happen simultaneously –
The facts about biomass pellets
- Biomass pellets (such as ones provided by PH Winterton) produce 80% less CO2 emissions when combusted than coal, plus lower levels of sulfur, chlorine, nitrogen.
- Wood pellets have an energy density of 11 gigajoules/m3, compared to 3 gigajoules/m3 from fresh wood or wood chips, according to data from the International Renewable Energy Agency
- Global wood pellet consumption for heating, plus power, reached 35 million tonnes in 2018 (excluding China)
- When used in high-efficiency wood pellet stoves and boilers, biomass pellets offer a combustion efficiency of up to 85%