Report highlights GHG, cost reduction benefits of biomass thermal

By Erin Voegele | January 30, 2014

A report recently released by Innasol, a renewable heating company based in Europe, and business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan takes a detailed look at the U.K.’s heating industry and examines the savings homes and businesses can achieve by implementing renewable heating methods.

The report found that heating is responsible for 78 percent of U.K. residential energy consumption and 55 percent of U.K. business energy consumption. Approximately 38 percent of the U.K.’s total carbon dioxide emissions are due to home and business heating applications.

According to the analysis, renewable heat in the U.K. has been restrained by a lack of awareness and understanding of the benefits of available renewable options. The report estimates that 74 percent of U.K. residents don’t know that biomass systems are a potential renewable heating solution. However, Jonathan Robinson from Frost & Sullivan said in a statement that renewable heating is the fastest growing area within the U.K. renewable energy industry. “In 2010/11 it was worth £12.5 billion, growing at eight times the rate of UK economy. DECC recently estimated that an additional 750,000 renewable heating systems need to be installed by 2020 to help the UK meet its 2020 carbon targets. The existing renewable heat incentive for businesses and the new incentive for home owners due to be launched in the spring should help, although this report shows much more needs to be done to raise the awareness of renewable heating solutions so the economic and environmental benefits are fully understood by homeowners and businesses alike,” he said.

Within the report, Frost & Sullivan indicates that renewable heating systems in the U.K. are already cheaper than fossil fuels. The report puts the price of wood chips at 3.3 pence per kilowatt hour (kWh) (5 cents per kWh) and the price for wood pellets at 4.5 pence per kWh. In comparison, electricity is 13.32 pence per kWh and natural gas costs 4.96 pence per kWh. The report also indicates that wood pellet prices have risen only 6 percent since January 2000, averaging less than a 0.5 percent increase per year.

Several myths about biomass heating are addressed in report, including the false ideas that biomass heating is a threat to woodland areas, that feedstock must be manually loaded into biomass boiler and that biomass systems are difficult to install and maintain. The report also debunks the myth that biomass heating systems are environmentally unfriendly.

“The UK is poised for a heating revolution. Increasing fuel bills are tightening the home purse strings even further, sometimes to the point where many cannot afford to heat their homes adequately. Through the introduction of RHI, the government is encouraging us to escape this strangle hold. Yet according to the report’s survey, the main reason UK residents are missing out on these renewable heating financial incentives is due to a lack of awareness of the technologies available and a lack of understanding of their benefits,” said Silvio Spiess, CEO of Innasol. “By taking action and switching your heating to renewable sources, you will save yourself money– upwards of 45 percent - and become far more efficient and significantly reduce your carbon footprint, becoming more environmentally responsible.”