During recent times, there has been a huge strain on public sector organisations to make the transition to renewable fuels. One of these has been the use of biomass – and in turn this has brought many challenges.
For generations, many of our customers have relied heavily on the use of fossil fuels such as washed coal, but to support climate change and to help reduce individual carbon emissions, many internal infrastructure projects have been undertaken to aid the transition into the use of renewable biomass.
One challenge is ensuring that the biomass fuel is kept in tip top condition, especially over the winter months. Wood pellets or wood chips that are not stored correctly could potentially damage your new boiler and infrastructure, risking the initial investment made.
One common question asked is, ‘How do you store renewable biomass?’.
We put this question to our Renewable Biomass and Related Services DPS suppliers to get their top tips for biomass storage:
- Ensure the store is always watertight
Wood pellets, wood chips and water don’t mix. If your wood pellets or wood chips do get wet, for example by a leak to the hopper, it is important that these are removed as soon as possible before hardening and sticking together, which could cause a hopper or boiler blockage.
- Keep the store clean to avoid build-up of dust
Wood pellet stores MUST be fully cleaned out after five deliveries – this is a requirement set by EN Plus Standards. Any build-up of dust will cause damage to the boiler, so it is important to keep a clean hopper to allow the boiler to run efficiently.
- Use a wood pellet protection mat
Ensure that your hopper has a wood pellet protection mat which is always kept in place, especially during deliveries. This mat is normally made of rubber and is located inside the hopper. As wood pellets are blown into the hopper they should bounce against the mat, as this helps to ensure they retain their intended size and do not break up too much. Whilst you will always find a few broken wood pellets, too many breakages are never a good idea. If your hopper does not have a mat installed, it’s probably a good idea to think about getting one.
- Regular boiler maintenance
Under new Ofgem regulations due to be set in 2022, it is going to be a requirement to undertake regular boiler services to ensure all boilers are running efficiently and safely. Guidelines will be set by the installer and provider of the boiler to ensure standards are kept. Despite the update from Ofgem, all boilers should be regularly maintained throughout the year to match that of the hours used by the boiler.
If you would like further guidance and advice on how to store biomass, or if you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact the YPO energy procurement team, or view our Renewable Biomass and Related Services DPS.