What Is Biomass?
PELLET AND WOOD: CLEAN RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES
The countries of Europe have agreed to limit the consumption of fossil fuels in order to reduce emissions of atmospheric pollutants that cause the dangerous greenhouse effect, by developing the use of renewable energy sources. In addition, ever increasing energy costs and government proposals to restrict the use of oil and gas boilers in new properties in the near future are driving the increase in renewable technologies take up for rational environmental and financial reasons.
The drive for better and more efficient use has led to the rediscovery of the benefits of the energy value of wood and, along with this rediscovery, its more up-to-date, modern form: pellets.
Wood pellets are a source of renewable energy that allow clean combustion, which as such does not alter the delicate biological balance of our planet.
Extracting energy from biomass fuels therefore allows elimination of the by-products of agriculture and forestry and at the same time production of energy, thereby reducing our dependence on natural fossil fuel sources such as oil and gas.
It is very important to have reliable sustainable sources of quality fuel. Within Wales, Biofutures Ltd (www.biofutures.co.uk), Forever Fuels (www.forever-fuels.com) and Pbe Fuels (www.pbefuels.org.uk) can supply quality pellets in bags or in bulk/blown delivery with continuity.
THE NATURE RENEWAL PROCESS: THE PELLET CYCLE
The illustration shows how wood pellets are transformed during combustion.
After the complete decomposition cycle has taken place, wood releases a certain quantity of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which is absorbed by other plants during photosynthesis to be then turned back into oxygen. As a consequence the natural processes of the sun's energy, carbon dioxide, water and the dissolved mineral salts, the pellets are constantly renewed.
PELLETS: THE FUTURE OF HEATING
Pellets are a solid, granulated form of heating fuel that created a significant shift in outlook on heat generation process transforming the byproducts of timber processing into an economic and ecological product. Pellets are made from virgin sawdust left over from timber processing, which is then carefully dried and compacted to form small, size cylinders of wood. The bonding capacity of lignin, a substance that occurs naturally in wood, means that no other additive needs to be used, and so a natural, ecological, high-yield fuel is obtained.
The wood pellets then produced far exceed those of wood chips and logs in terms of both quality and uniformity. These include: higher energy content (5.3 kW/Kg compared to 4.4 kW/Kg in wood), lower water content (8% moisture content compared to 50% in wood), and a more even, regular size. The outcome makes wood pellets far easier to handle and transport, allowing much longer storage periods, with the result that pellets can be commercially distributed over a much wider radius at a more economical price. That price is comparable to having to buy logs when the energy output of pellets is compared to burning logs.