The Evolving Appeal Of Biomass Heating In The Modern Age

The world of energy is changing. As worries about the environment grow, the necessity for more environmentally friendly, efficient and sustainable forms of fuel becomes even more urgent. Across the globe the majority of governments have now set targets to reduce the use of fossil fuels and in many cases this includes encouraging a more eco-friendly approach on a domestic scale.

In the UK, several councils have worked hard to promote new forms of energy, for example by providing householders with a grant to increase their insulation or install solar panels. Although solar panels and to some extent wind and water turbines are now well-known methods for producing eco-energy, Biomass energy is currently developing a reputation as one of the most efficient ways to centrally heat a home and looks set to overtake even solar panels in the popularity stakes.

What is Biomass?

Biomass fuel can refer to several different kinds of stored energy. These can include animal litter, organic waste, sewage sludge, energy crops, straw and wood. Whilst solar panels produce significantly less carbon monoxide than burning fossil fuels does, with Biomass, energy is created through burning – so how can it be more environmentally friendly than coal or oil?

Biomass Energy: Wood-based Fuels for Space and Water Heating

Biomass Energy: Wood-based Fuels for Space and Water Heating

The scientists who developed Biomass fuel concentrated on the ‘lifecycle’ of emissions producing this type of fuel would create. Whilst burning fossil fuels does release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the volume produced is offset by the CO2 that’s absorbed when Biomass fuel is grown.

Why the UK Needs Biomass Heating

In the UK, almost 50% of all carbon emissions are caused by heating. The government’s climate change act set out legislation which aims to reduce CO2 emissions across the country by 26% over the next seven years. By 2050 the target is an 80% reduction.

In order to meet these targets, households throughout the UK will need to make changes to improve the efficiency of their homes, including reducing the volume of fossil fuels they use. According to government projections, this will mean that by 2020 more than 14% of the nation’s heating will need to be sourced from renewable energy, which implies that a rapid and dramatic transformation in the way the UK is heated could be on the cards, especially when you consider that at present the share of energy gleaned from renewable resources stands at just 1%.

The Beauty of Biomass

Whilst solar panels and wind turbines are presently the most popular form of eco-friendly domestic heating, they can both be notoriously unreliable and very expensive to install. Biomass is a quicker, cheaper to install and more convenient way to reduce CO2 emissions throughout UK homes over the next seven years. The method for creating energy is one of the most efficient, eco-friendly and cost effective ways available to produce heat. What’s more, the introduction of Biomass heating into an area can even help create jobs, stimulate the local economy and utilise resources that would otherwise end up in landfill.


Image courtesy of Flickr.
Corinne Jones is a fierce advocate of renewable energy and has written for a number of pro-eco websites. She also works closely with renewable heating solutions provider Innasol in the UK to promote the use of biomass in the mainstream.

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