An introduction to biomass heating for horticulture
The European Commission’s Renewable Energy Directive puts the UK on a path to sourcing 15% of all its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
About 30% of the UK’s renewable energy target is expected to come from renewable heat, with half of that attributable to biomass. Although biomass systems require more space and higher capital investment than the equivalent fossil fuel systems, fuel cost savings can be high and payback relatively quickly – especially if replacing fuel oil.
The business case for biomass has been further enhanced by the introduction of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) – a government subsidy paid for each kilowatt-hour of qualifying renewable heat output.
A biomass heating installation can easily be a sound financial decision, as well as a sound environmental decision, for any business. This is especially the case for many horticultural businesses, which are invariably well suited to a biomass heating solution:
- Their rural location means access to suitable fuel sources is usually relatively straightforward.
- There is usually plenty of room for fuel and boiler plant storage and good fuel delivery vehicle access.
- They have an all-year-round heat demand pattern that gives good equipment utilisation and financial payback.
Biomass boiler installation requirements and economics are virtually unique to each individual site, but there are four common elements needed in order to achieve a successful project:
- Boiler sizing
- Fuel selection
- Equipment selection
- Economic appraisal.