What is Biomass?
One of the first questions people ask when considering installing a biomass boiler is; what exactly is biomass?
Well, biomass is the name given to matter derived from living or recently living organisms. This can be anything from wood, to crops, landfill gas, alcohol and garbage burning. The most common type of biomass in the UK comes from wood and this is what we supply here at Afterwood.
Energy is produced by burning wood in pellet form, as logs, wood chips or bark and you’ll be surprised to know it is actually very environmentally-friendly compared with burning fossil fuels. Coal and gas take thousands of years to be formed, trees on the other hand can be managed in a sustainable manner so that they are harvested and replenished as part of a continuing process.
Through woodland management and coppicing an environmental balance is created. The CO₂ released into the atmosphere is offset by the woodland that is planted to replace that which has been cut. Thus ensuring our carbon footprint is kept to a minimum.
There are four main categories of biomass material
Mature trees are rarely cut down specifically to be used as fuel due to the environmental implications, so virgin wood for biomass instead comes from residue. When a woodland is managed properly, they will remove branches, tree stumps and brash. Rather than throw this away it can be recycled and used to create either chips or sawdust.
Sawmills also produce excess waste from the processing of high quality timber this too is in excessive supply. In fact the Forestry Commission estimates that there is 2,000,000 tonnes of wood available in unmanaged woodlands right now which can be used for biomass. That means we won’t as a country be running out anytime soon!
Unlike virgin wood this type of source comes from already processed wood such as pallets, boxes or construction timber. It can often arrive contaminated with things such as varnish, nails and stones. It is therefore important that the wood is screened correctly to prevent any unwanted matter from getting into the chips. Afterwood screens all of its recycled wood and also ensures it is dried and ready for biomass boilers or stoves.
This type of wood is typically the bi-product of manufacturing processes involving timber. Think of your average sawmill and all that waste dust and chips on the floor. Rather than a nuisance it is actually an excellent source of fuel and at Afterwood we have great connections to local sawmills and timber manufactures giving us a constant supply of recovered wood. Through our thorough screening process we then make sure that this type of wood is cleaned and reformed into either chips of high-grade pellets.
Also known as high yield wood this source is grown specifically for energy applications due to the nature of its fast growth. It can be grown, cut and replenished in a very short space of time making it ideal for the biomass industry.
If you would like to know more about how biomass can help create an efficient and economic solution for your energy needs the why not take a look through our website and see how we are able to supply wood for various sectors of the country, whether you’re a commercial, domestic or industrial.