Energy from Waste – Sweden Leading Globally

Sweden has a problem. A rather unique problem.

They want to create energy from their trash, but their citizens are far too eco friendly to create enough trash.

They produce biomass and biogas from this waste, which is used as energy.

Each swede produces just over half a ton of household waste every year. Thanks to the efficient waste management in sweden, the vast majority of this household waste can be recovered or reused. Only four per cent is landfilled, which has lead to a rather interesting problem and solution.

Rather than simply producing more trash and recycling less, they have begun importing trash from other countries; roughly 800,000 tons annually. And what’s more, they’re getting paid to take it. Norway have started exporting their rubbish to Sweden, and Bulgaria, Romania, and Italy are set to follow suit.

Just over two million tons of household waste is treated from waste to energy in swedish plants every year. These plants incinerate a similar quantity of waste from industries as well. Waste incineration provides heat corresponding to the needs of 810,000 homes, around 20 per cent of all the district-heating produced. It also provides electricity corresponding to the needs of almost 250,000 homes.

Sweden is currently the global leader in recovering the energy in waste.

Energy from Waste. What an excellent idea.

Sweden has had strict standards limiting emissions from waste incineration since the mid-1980s. Most emissions have fallen by between 90 and 99 per cent since then thanks to ongoing technical development and better waste sorting.

Energy from waste is an environmental, financial, safe and stable contribution to the country’s energy supply.

Waste to energy is a recovery method that provides a significant part of Europe’s energy needs. One example of this is that around 50 million tons of waste are processed through incineration every year throughout europe. This corresponds to the heat requirements for the populations of Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

In Sweden alone, waste incineration generates as much energy from waste to reduce carbon dioxide (Co2) emissions by 2.2 million tons per year. This is as much Co2 as 680,000 petrol-powered cars emit in a year.

Notice that the UK is left off the list of countries above, and that’s because we simply don’t create enough energy from waste yet.

Not in this particular sense at least.

There is another, popular, and domestic way to create energy from waste, and that’s with the use of a wood pellet boiler.

Wood pellets are manufactured from waste wood, such as off cuttings, and saw dust. It is then compressed and dried to create highly combustable and efficient heating fuel.

These pellets are added to a wood pellet boiler. They get transfered from the store to the boiler through the hopper, and are burned, just like you would burn any other fuel, to heat your home. This can be done on a home and industrial scale, and is financially rewarded by the renewable heat incentive.

So while the UK may be behind in creating energy from traditional landfill waste, we’re very much on the forefront when it comes to biomass, in the form of wood pellet boilers.

If you would like to know more about wood pellet boilers, this is a really thorough article for you to read.

And if you would like any more information, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

Wood Pellet Boilers – A Brief History

Wood Pellet boilers first came into production in the USA during the oil crisis of the 1970s. With oil prices being so high, many people were looking for alternatives to burning oil, which increased the popularity of wood pellet boilers.

Although it may have seemed like new technology, it’s actually one of the oldest in the world.

Sure, the boilers are safe, modern, and super efficient, but the idea of burning wood for heat is one of the oldest known to man.

Alas, wood pellet boilers of the 1970’s were before their time, and when prices of oil started to go down, so did their popularity. They weren’t efficient enough yet, and the process was still cumbersome. The price of the pellets seemed expensive in comparison, and in many places, people stopped using wood pellet boilers altogether.

That is, until the late 1990’s.

As oil prices started to rise again, and more and more people became worried for the environment, wood pellet boilers started to gain in popularity.

This time around, wood pellets seemed like a much more viable long term option. Their production was much more common, which brought down the prices, while still leaving the environment unharmed.

You may think that because we’re burning wood to heat our homes, that we’re cutting down trees to do so. This is not the case. Wood pellets are created from waste wood, from sawdust, garden cuttings, and much more. Similar to how no one kills the cow for it’s hide, no one cuts down a tree for it’s wood pellets.

Fast forward 15 years, to present day, and wood pellet boilers have come along in leaps and bounds, all across the world.

They’re the perfect solution for anyone looking to lower their carbon emissions, live off the grid, and save money.

Pellets have become increasingly popular in europe, Scandinavia in particular, where they’re mainly used as an alternative to oil-fired heating. They’ve also seen a huge increase of popularity in Austria too, which is leading the market for pellet central heating furnaces, where it is estimated that 2/3 of all new domestic heating furnaces are pellet burners.

Are Wood Pellet Boilers Here to Stay?

Well, lets have a look at some deciding factors of the future of wood pellet boilers.

According to the International Energy Agency, the production of wood pellets in Europe and North America doubled between 2006, and 2010. That’s a total of 14 million tons of wood pellets produced.

In a recent report by the Biomass Energy Resource Center, we find that wood pellet production in America is likely to double again in the next five years. According the the predictions found in that report, the majority of wood pellet production is said to be destined overseas.

Oil prices rose sharply at the end of 2011, and they have remained high. It’s no secret that the world is fast running out of natural heating resources such as gas, oil, and coal. This is forcing their prices up, and forcing consumers to look for alternatives.

As wood pellets can be produced anywhere in the world, their prices aren’t affected by global market prices. The price will likely fluctuate as production costs go up (due to factors such as diesel prices), but wood pellets will remain a viable alternative to gas and oil.

And if you’re still looking to a reason as to why wood pellet boilers are here to stay, there are always the financial implications of the Renewable Heat Incentive, where you can be paid to produce heat from a renewable energy source.

If you would like to know more about wood pellet boilers, please feel free to contact us.

Portable Biomass Electricity – Biolite CampStove

This amazing camping stove will not only cook your food, but produce portable biomass electricity too, by converting the heat from the fire, into energy.

The stove is very small, and will pack into the drinks compartment of any reasonable sized backpack, which means that you can carry a stove with you while you hike.

The most impressive part about this stove though, has to be the USB charging device. They’ve managed to convert the heat produced from the fire, into usable electricity, to charge a phone, or other USB devices.

Unlike portable solar powered devices, this stove will produce portable biomass electricity at any time, because whether it works or not is not dependant on the weather. 

The stoves cook your meals with nothing but the twigs you collect on your journey, eliminating the need for heavy, expensive, polluting petroleum gas. Quick to light, fast to boil and easy to use.

By using renewable resources for fuel instead of petroleum, you’re reducing your carbon footprint. You’ll also keep fuel canisters out of the landfill.

The CampStove isn’t just for camping; it’s great to have on hand when the power goes out in a storm or other natural disasters. You’ll be able to cook and keep electronics charged while power lines are down.

The company is using the same technology inside the CampStove to bring clean, safe energy access to families across the developing world.

Check out the video here.

Like a campfire, you can sit around the CampStove and watch the flames dance as you roast marshmallows and tell stories with friends.

Note: You cannot buy the Biolite Campstove from Wood Pellet Solutions but it is such a cool idea, we thought we would share.

However if this sort of technology interests you, and you would like to know more about how to reduce your carbon footprint in your home using Biomass Wood Pellet Boilers from Wood Pellet Solutions, then we would encourage you to fill in our contact us form, and we will be happy to help you out.

Wood Pellet Boiler – Everything you Need to Know

What is a Wood Pellet Boiler?

A Wood Pellet Boiler is an environmentally friendly and cost effective alternative to an oil or gas boiler. They burn wood pellets (made from waste wood) to run the boiler, which provides heating to the rest of the house.

They’re eco friendly, money saving, and are available globally.

How Does a Wood Pellet Boiler Work?

It’s quite simple really. Rather than burning expensive oil or gas, the boiler burns wood pellets instead.

The boiler consists of three main parts: the boiler itself, the hopper (to load the boiler), and the store. The wood pellets are kept in the store, and the hopper automatically adds them to the boiler, to minimise the amount of work that you need to do yourself.

The wood pellet is a fuel, just like gas or oil, only it’s much kinder to the environment, and cheaper to burn too.

Heating your home by burning wood is not exactly a new idea, but the technology we have now is far more advanced and efficient than an open fireplace, and the fuel is much more eco-friendly.

How is a Wood Pellet Boiler Eco Friendly?

The wood pellets are made from wood wastage, so you’re not actually harming the environment by cutting down trees to heat your home.

Wastage is defined as something which can’t be used anywhere else. Wood Pellets are made up from the likes of compacted sawdust, and logging off-cuts.

Something which would have been thrown in a bin, or on a bonfire, is instead used to heat a house. The pellets are made to be incredibly dense, which allows for them to be burned with a very high combustion efficiency.

What are the Advantages to a Wood Pellet Boiler?

The two main advantages involve the environment, and your wallet.

Starting with the environment, by using a wood pellet boiler, you’re reducing the amount of waste produced, while at the same time reducing the amount of gas or oil that’s being used. Wood pellets are a “carbon lean” fuel, producing a fraction of the Carbon emissions of fossil fuels.

Currently, generating heat accounts for 41% of the UK’s total carbon emissions, and it’s partly because only 1% of heat is currently generated from renewable sources. If you can heat your home with a wood pellet boiler, then you’re helping out in a big way.

When you consider the financial aspect (your wallet) of a wood pellet boiler, it’s easy to see where you will start to save money. Because wood pellets are made from a waste product, they’re low cost, especially in comparison to gas and oil.

They can be sourced locally. They’ve not travelled hundreds, if not thousands of miles to reach you. The price of wood is also much less likely to fluctuate as wildly as gas and oil does, as the world market has basically no effect.

And then of course there’s the renewable heat incentive, which will not only pay you to produce renewable energy, but help towards the cost of a wood pellet boiler. More about this in the ‘How Much does a Wood Pellet Boiler Cost?’ section below.

There are more advantages though:

  • You don’t need to be connected to the grid to produce heat for your home.
  • It’s available globally.
  • It can be converted into many different forms of energy.
  • It’s easy to switch.
  • Low running costs.
  • Long Life.

What are the Disadvantages?

There’s really only two real disadvantages to using a wood pellet boiler.

Firstly, the room needed to store the fuel, boiler, and hopper, is bigger than just a traditional boiler. This isn’t so much of a problem if your building is a new build, but if you’re trying to add a wood pellet boiler to an existing property, then you may encounter problems. You also need access to a chimney or a flute.

The other main drawback is that the fuel isn’t free. When you invest in a renewable energy source such as solar or wind, you have the benefit of access to a free energy source though. With a wood pellet boiler, you still need purchase the wood pellets. Of couse, solar and wind are not without their drawbacks. You can’t exactly power your house when there’s no sun or wind.

What do I need to Install a Wood Pellet Boiler?

Many houses can benefit from wood pellet heating, but there area a few things to consider first.

Is the house listed, in a conservation area, or smokeless zone? If so then there may well be limitations on the type of boiler that you can use.

As I mentioned above, you need a wood pellet boiler, a hopper, and a store for your pellets. On top of this, you will need a chimney (or a flue), for the smoke to escape. This will need to be relatively close to the boiler, which is no problem in new builds, but a little more difficult with retrofits. If this isn’t possible, then you will need to install a flue.

You will also need adequate space for the equipment, which can be comfortable stored in a room 2*3 meters wide, and 1.5 meters high. This room would ideally be on connected to an outside wall of the property, because there needs to be an air intake for the fire to burn.

How Much does a Wood Pellet Boiler Cost?

Well, that’s a very general question, but I’ll do my best to break it down for you.

Lets start by looking at the domestic renewable heat incentive, which is a big incentive for anyone looking to switch. For biomass (wood pellets) the proposed tariff range is between 5.2 and 8.7p per kW for a deemed property.

For a typical 3/4 bedroom house requiring 15kW of heat at 5.2p would gain £7174 over a 7 year period. This is approximately similar to a straightforward installation of a pelleburn boiler or similar. At the higher rate of 8.7p the incentive would pay about £12,000 over 7 years.

For wood pellet boilers you can also claim £950.

Pretty good, right?

Now that you can see how much it pays out, lets have a look at how much it can cost.

As the complexity of the system selected increases, the parts and the labour go up in price significantly. However the maintenance levels go down and the efficiency of the system goes up.

Expensive parts include the pellet boiler which ranges in price from £3000 to £17,000 but also:

  • The flue – this can cost between £750 and £2000.
  • Accumulation or climate control – between £850 and £2000.
  • Pellet Store – You can use the integrated hopper that will last you a few days at peak load.
  • Pump sets and other plumbing equipment are also needed, especially if you have several heating circuits.
  • The labour charge varies from a few days to a couple of weeks depending on the design of the heating system proposed. This may be in the range of £1500 to £6000 with plumbing supplies (e.g. copper pipe) being extra.

For your average domestic installation, the costs would be towards the lower end, especially if it’s a new build.

How can I Find out More?

We’re here to help.

If you need help switching, or you would like some more information, then give us a call on 01225 580401, or fill in the contact form on the top right of the page, or here.

We operate across the whole of Britain.

Top 10 Reasons To Switch To A Wood Pellet Boiler

A wood pellet boiler is the future of sustainable home heating, but there’s more to them than just that; lets have a further look.


Lets start with the obvious here. Even if you were to forget about the many other advantages of wood pellet boilers, sustainability is one reason you couldn’t forget. Rather than burning a fossil fuel, you’re burning what could effectively be considered wood waste. You remove waste, and create heat/energy at the same time, without impacting the environment.

Low emissions

The approximate life cycle CO2 emissions (including production) of coal is 484 kg/MWh, which is a lot of CO2. With oil and natural gas it’s 350 and 270 kg/MWh respectively. When you compare those to the emissions of wood pellet boilers though, you see a very different story. It’s around about 25 kg/MWh, which is a huge difference, so you’re not only using a sustainable fuel source, but you’re saving the environment at the same time. 

Receive an income under the Renewable Heating Incentive (RHI)

There is already a RHI for commercial buildings, but next year, there’s going to be one for domestic installations too, and this is a pretty big deal. Here’s why.

Firstly, if you live off the mains gas grid, you’re already entitled to a £950 grant to help towards the cost of a biomass boiler.

Then, from about mid 2013 though, the Government will start to pay homeowners for the green heat they generate from biomass boilers. Full details about the levels of payment are due to be announced by the Energy Saving Trust later this year, but it’s certainly an added incentive for anyone looking to make the switch.

Low running costs

The price of wood is much lower than the price of oil, and what’s more, it can be sourced locally. It’s not travelled, hundreds, if not thousands of miles to reach you. The price of wood is also much less likely to fluctuate as wildly as gas and oil does, as the world market has basically no effect.

No need to be connect to the grid

So as I mentioned, there’s currently a grant for those who choose biomass boilers when living off the grid, and that’s one of the great things about it, you don’t actually need to be connect to the grid. Not having access to gas mains is no longer a problem with a wood pellet boiler, in fact, it’s an advantage.

Automatic ignition and self-cleaning

When you think about wood pellet boilers, you might think that you have to sacrifice more of your time cleaning, and igniting the boilers, which doesn’t really sound like fun. Most boilers these days contain an automatic ignition, and are self-cleaning, which takes a lot of the hard work out for you. You might need to give is a brush every couple of weeks, but that’s nothing compared to the advantages.

Commercial and domestic installations

Wood pellet solutions aren’t just for domestic installations, as you’ve probably gathered by now. They can be scaled up to suit any of your commercial or domestic needs. And green business have become a selling point in recent years. People like to see that big businesses aren’t damaging the environment, so by sourcing your energy sustainably, you can do your bit, and gain positive recognition.

Smaller and easier than logs or wood chips

Much less bulky in size, and they burn cleaner than logs or wood chips. This makes them ideal for home solutions where you don’t want to dedicate so much room to your boiler. Storage is also much smaller, and can be hidden away, unlike wooden logs, which tend to take up a lot of room. And unlike logs, you can use an automatic hopper to add the fuel to your boiler, saving you time and work.

Long life

The boilers that we sell are fantastically well made, and so long as your follow the manufacturers servicing schedule, and maintenance guidelines, you’ll be sure to have a boiler that’s going to last. Have a look at our boilers here.

It’s easy to switch

From our sales team, to our team of approved installers, we have anything you need to get started with your wood pellet boiler. Before long, you could be taking advantage of the RHI, lowering your running costs, becoming more sustainable, and helping the environment. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, then click here and fill in a contact form; we’ll get right back to you. Alternatively, you could call 01225 580401. We cover the whole of the UK.

Germany’s Renewable Energy accounts of 25% of total, and 5.7% is Biomass

Germany is one of the world leaders when it comes to renewable energy, and roughly half of the solar panels in the world are in Germany. That’s quite a lot. With such a strong focus on renewable energy, Germany’s Renewable Energy supply are getting rid of nuclear, phasing out coal, and trying to reach 80% renewable energy by 2050. They’re even building a large off-shore wind farm to generate even more energy.

It’s safe to say, that Germany is leading the way for the rest of us. They understand that there’s a time limit on how long we can rely on the likes of coal, gas and nuclear, and are finding a way to move forward.

Germany’s renewable energy output has reached an all-time high, of 25%. One of these ways is by using biomass energy to effectively burn waste products, and then turning that energy into heat and electricity and powering the national grid.

What’s fascinating about this though is percentage of energy which comes from biomass. Currently, it’s 5.7% of Germany’s energy supply, which is just over one fifth of their renewable energy, which might not sound like much, but allow me to put that into context.

We’ve already established that Germany hosts roughly half of the world’s solar panels, but by comparison, they are providing only 5.3% of the national energy. So as it stands, Germany are seeing more power from biomass, than they are solar, which gets you thinking, what makes biomass so special?

If you would like to learn more about Biomass energy, then click here. And if you’d be interested in finding out how you can bring biomass into your home with Wood Pellet Solutions, come and fill in a contact form here, and we’ll happily get back to you.