The cycle of biomass energy
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The cycle of biomass energy

02 November 2021 By Sam Johnson - Assistant Category Buyer for Energy at YPO

Wood logs

Net zero 2050 is fast approaching, and individual ambitions to reduce carbon emissions are under the spotlight.

Under new laws and regulations set by the government to help reduce our carbon emissions, our customer and supply base have been under a considerable amount of pressure to move away from the use of fossil fuels, such as washed coal and transition over into the uses of biofuels.

Whether we are burning fossil fuels, or biomass, both still release carbon dioxide (CO2) a greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, causing air pollution. However, the difference being: plant and materials that are a source of biomass for energy, capture almost the same amount of carbon dioxide through photosynthesis while growing – in turn, making biomass a carbon-neutral energy source.

What are the different types of biomass?

  • Rubbish can be burned to create electricity or used to create biogas in landfill which can be used as fuel.


  • Crops and crop waste can be burned as fuel or converted into liquid biofuels.


  • Wood and wood waste can be burned to heat buildings, to produce heat for us, or to generate electricity.


  • Animal waste, human sewage, or waste from animal processing can be used to create biogas which is burned for fuel.


Types of biomass

Diagram ref:


How is wood turned into energy?

Biomass wood pellets are a by-product of wood processing, which are often found in forms of sawdust, shavings, and offcuts or from freshly cut timber that has specifically been felled to produce wood pellets. To ensure the wood chips are of a high quality, the wood chippings are processed and screened. They're then heated to reduce its moisture content to below 12%, and then converted into a fine powder. This is then pressed through a grate at high pressure, which will then form the solid, short, and dense biomass pellet.


Biomass wood chips in turn are sourced from similar processes; these include logging residues, stumps, roots, and other wood waste from tree cuttings. Once sourced, the chippings are then screened for quality control before they are then dried down, so that their moisture content is less than 30%.

Cycle of biomass energy

Diagram ref:


Once screened and dried, the biofuel is then stored and fed automatically from the fuel store into the boiler. As the biofuel is burned and combined with a regulated flow of oxygen, it ensures a clean and efficient combustion process. The resulting hot gases then heat water in a heat exchanger which feeds the hot water storage tank, or for smaller stoves a back boiler, and ultimately the heating circuit – in most cases, this would be in the form of radiators.

Our Renewable Biomass and Related Services DPS provides a compliant route to market for renewable biomass fuels, which is split into two lots, to help organisations work towards becoming carbon neutral - Lot 1 – Wood Chips and Lot 2 – Wood Pellets. The DPS also includes other related services, such as boiler maintenance, hopper and storage vessel training, fuel level management, completion of renewable heat incentives, wood cracking and wood chipping and supply of heat (where suppliers/providers fund, own and operated the boiler and sell the heat to the client on per kWh basis).



We’re here to support you every step of the way in your transition to biofuels and to help you reach your net zero targets, so if you’d like any further guidance or advice please do not hesitate to contact the YPO energy procurement teamor view our Renewable Biomass and Related Services DPS

Categories: Energy , Environment , Frameworks

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