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biomass fuel

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Wood chip

Wood Chip for biomass

Many of those who want to use biomass fuels opt to use wood chip rather than wood pellet and logs because wood chip for biomass produces energy that is cheaper per kWh. Wood chips are also the choice for larger boilers being used to fuel a business premises or groups of houses and larger buildings.

Generally, wood chips are small pieces of wood that are cut to measure between 5cm – 10cm – the length is measured in the grain’s direction. They are also locally obtained and come from a variety of sources.

It’s also possible for someone to install a biomass boiler and then supply their own wood to be chipped after being prepared.

The difference between using wood chips and wood pellets

So, what is the difference between using wood chips and wood pellets for a biomass boiler?

Basically, wood chip for biomass makes for a sound choice for larger boilers and using logs means keeping the supply of wood dry and keeping it close to hand though using wood pellets means they are easier to deliver and handle they are suitable for smaller boilers.

Most biomass boilers can use wood chip though there is a maximum level of moisture which is usually 5%, but can vary between 25% and 60%. The boiler installation firm will specify the levels that are suitable for the size and style of the biomass boiler and the fuel transferring system it is fitting.

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The reason the moisture level is important is that if it’s too high in the wood chip it can cause the boiler to shut down and if it’s too low, the wood chip will burn more quickly because it’s too dry. This means having a quality supply of wood chip for biomass boilers with the correct moisture content.

Big attraction for using wood chip for biomass

The other big attraction for using wood chip for biomass is that there’s lots of raw material available to create wood chips in the UK. Indeed, the Forestry Commission says there are more than 2 million tonnes of suitable wood chipping material available every year from woodlands that are not managed and around 6 million tonnes of wood are sent to landfill every year that could be used for chipping for biomass boilers.

Wood chip for biomass is an excellent source of fuel and it is usually wood that cannot be used for anything else or has been discarded through a mechanical process, usually by a sawmill. The manufacturers of wood chip also use clean recycled wood such as transportation cases, pallets and construction wood.

In contrast, wood pellets tend to be made from fine shavings of wood and sawdust though they are easier to deliver and contain lower levels of moisture. It’s also possible to hand feed wood pellets into a biomass boiler.

As with wood pellets for mass boilers, wood chips for biomass can also have automatic feeding systems that need topping up regularly to help deliver a lower heating bill and help the environment.