What is woodfuel/biomass?
Biomass is biological material from living, or recently living organisms.
This generally has come to mean plant based material but biomass can equally apply to both animal and vegetable derived material as well.
The carbon used to construct biomass is absorbed from the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (CO2) by plant life, using energy from the sun through the process of photosynthesis.
Growing biomass takes carbon out of the atmosphere, and returns it as the biomass is burnt. If managed on a sustainable basis, biomass can be harvested as part of a constantly replenished crop. This is done during woodland or arboricultural management or coppicing or as part of a continuous programme of replanting with the new growth taking up CO2 from the atmosphere at the same time as it is released by combustion of the previous harvest.
This maintains a closed carbon cycle with no net increase in atmospheric CO2 levels.
At present most energy used to heat buildings is produced by burning fossil fuels - coal, oil and gas. Fossil fuels are non-renewable and produce volumes of carbon that contribute significantly to catastrophic climate change. Relying on these fuels for the future is simply not an option.
Woodfuel is a carbon-lean rather than carbon-neutral resource. Acting as a substitute for coal or gas, it can be used in modern fully automated boilers to heat buildings of every scale, and it can be locally sourced. Biomass boilers usually use woodfuel in the form of high grade woodchip or specially made pellets.