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Mar 05

WOOD FUELLED HEATING SYSTEMS – GENERATING YOUR OWN POWER

Could you generate heat for your home from waste in your garden?If you have plenty of wood – then the answer is yes.

There are seven main ways to generate power at home: wind turbines, solar water heating and solar electricity, ground source and air source heat pumps, hydro power … and wood fuelled heating.

In our series on renewable energy generation at home we’re taking a look at using wood.

WOOD FUELLED HEATING SYSTEMS generally burn wood pellets, chips or logs to power central heating and hot water boilers or to provide warmth in a single room.

There are two main ways of using wood to heat you home:
• A standalone stove burning logs or pellets to heat a single room. Some can also be fitted with a back boiler to provide water heating as well

• A boiler burning pellets, logs or chips connected to a central heating and hot water system

Log burning stoves and boilers have to be filled with wood by hand. Some pellet and chip burners use automatic fuel feeders which refill them at regular intervals from fuel storage units called hoppers.


The benefits of wood fuel heating are;
• A low carbon option: the carbon dioxide emitted when wood fuel is burned is the same amount that was absorbed over the previous months and years as the plant was growing. As long as new plants continue to grow in place of those used for fuel, the process is sustainable. There are some carbon emissions caused by the cultivation, manufacture and transportation of the fuel, but as long as the fuel is sourced locally, these are much lower than the emissions from fossil fuels.

• A good use for waste wood: burning wood can be a convenient means of disposing of waste that might otherwise be sent to a landfill site.

Various grants of up to £2500 are also available to encourage home owners to generate their own power.

If generating your own power is something you’d like to explore further then The Energy Saving Trust website has a simple questionnaire to help you narrow down your options.

And you can hear more about renewables at PASSION for FRESH IDEAS

About the Author: Chantal Cooke is co-founder of PASSION for the PLANET  and a London Leader in Sustainability.

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2 comments

  1. Chantal Cooke

    Thats good to know – thank you. I havent personally tried a wood fuelled heating system (not much waste wood in south London) so its good to know it can work so well. I am impressed that you cut 5 tonnes and carry it back on a bike (not all at the same time i assume!) I guess the added benefit must be keeping fit.

  2. Compost John

    There is a highly efficient (ie smokefree) woodstove which has a boiler which feeds radiators. It is called a Dunsley Yorkshire and my mate Robin has one.

    I have two smokefree Clearview stoves, which between them heat the whle house, as heat rises and warms the rooms above. We don't need to use our (gas) central heating, even in the coldest of weathers. However, I do have to collect, cut, split and stack about 5 tonnes of logs a year… but these are all waste wood, locally sourced and brought back in my cycle trailer!
    John in York, UK

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