Frequently Asked Questions
How often should my biomass boiler be serviced?
Regular servicing is crucial for optimal performance and reliability. Typically, we would recommend a minimum of 2 services per year, but the frequency may vary based on the manufacturer's guidelines and usage patterns.
What are the signs that my biomass boiler needs servicing?
The main indicator is boiler operation hours and kWh on the meter and length of time since last service. However, if a service is overdue, indicators such as reduced efficiency, higher than usual exhaust gas temperatures, unusual noises, increased fuel consumption, or error codes on the boiler display would mean a service was required as a matter of urgency.
Do I need to turn off my biomass boiler before a service?
We require boilers below say 500kW need to be switched off at least 24 hours before your engineer arrives on site to allow the system to cool down. Larger boilers may need significantly longer. You will be provided with instructions during the scheduling process, if required.
How long does a typical biomass boiler service take?
The duration can vary based on the complexity of the system and any issues found during the service. A routine maintenance check may take a full day completed by one engineer, while repairs or more extensive work could take longer. Larger boilers may require a team of engineers over a number of days.
What is included in a standard biomass boiler service?
A standard service typically include cleaning, lubrication of moving parts, testing safety features, inspection of components, check and calibration of sensors, service of the control panel, checking of fan impellors, visual checks on the boiler and measuring water quality. The boiler would be fired during the service and performance and boiler efficiency would be measured, monitored and optimised.
Is there anything I should do before the service appointment?
Switch the boiler at the pre-arranged time, clear the area around the boiler for easy access. If there are any specific issues or error codes or known issues with the boiler, please discuss this with the BBSM technical team well in advance of the service so we can ensure the service engineer has additional parts and components that may be needed, to avoid repeat visits.
How can I prevent breakdowns between services?
Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for operation and maintenance, including regular cleaning and fuel quality checks. Report any unusual performance issues promptly to address them before they escalate. Often an issue can be helped through remote technical advice if addressed early.
What is the expected lifespan of a biomass boiler, and can maintenance extend it?
A high-quality biomass boiler with good maintenance should have a life span of over 20 years. Regular servicing is a crucial factor to the longevity of the system.
What are the service requirements for the RHI?
If you have a boiler receiving RHI payments, you must have your boiler serviced by a biomass service provider accredited under HETAS MCS040 at least once per year. The details of the service must be recorded and up-loaded to the HETAS portal. BBSM Ltd was one of the first companies in the UK to achieve HETAS MCS040 accreditation.
What is the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)?
The RHI is a government support scheme for commercial and industrial biomass boiler systems. It was launched in November 2011 and works by paying a subsidy to the biomass boiler owner for heat used (kWh per year) over a 20-year period.
Is the RHI still open to new applications?
No, the scheme closed in 2021. However, new projects can still benefit from the RHI as Ofgem have relaxed rules about moving and transferring RHI tariffs. There is currently many RHI tariffs for sale and transfer which could give any new biomass boiler project a very valuable income stream. Please speak to BBSM Ltd about what tariffs we currently have available.
I already have a biomass boiler accredited under the RHI scheme, but the boiler needs replacing. Can I replace the boiler and still retain my RHI income?
Yes, absolutely. The RHI now allows boiler replacement. You can replace an existing biomass boiler with a new high efficiency biomass boiler system. RHI allows a site to change boiler manufacturer/make and also change the size of boiler e.g. if a site had a 199kW boiler, but the site now requires a larger heating capacity the site could replace with say a 300kW boiler and retain the RHI tariff value and remaining period. BBSM Ltd specialise in boiler replacement under RHI. Please speak to BBSM Ltd about options.
I already have a biomass boiler accredited under the RHI scheme but am moving premises. Can I move my biomass boiler and still retain the RHI?
Yes, absolutely. The RHI now allows boiler relocation. BBSM Ltd specialise in moving biomass boilers and re-installing and commissioning.
Does the non-domestic RHI cover residential dwellings?
This might sound contradictory, but yes, the non-domestic RHI includes “District Heat Networks” where two or more domestic dwellings are heated via a single biomass boiler house connected to the residential dwellings via pre-insulated underground heat main. This is a very common solution in mainland Europe and is becoming more common in the UK. BBSM Ltd are currently working on a number of DHN projects.
I need support with an existing RHI application/payment claim or I need support on a new biomass boiler installation. Can BBSM Ltd help?
Yes, absolutely. BBSM Ltd staff have a decade of experience on “everything RHI” and also work with a number of leading consultants to offer comprehensive support, whatever your needs.
I have a Biomass Boiler with RHI tariff. However, I no longer need or want to operate my biomass boiler and looking to sell the biomass boiler with RHI tariff. How do I do this?
Please speak to BBSM Ltd. We have bought a number of RHI tariffs recently and would be interested in discussing buying the tariff. We have also brokered a number of deals matching sellers of RHI tariffs with new biomass boiler installations.
What is a biomass boiler, and how does it differ from traditional heating systems?
Unlike traditional heating systems that rely on fossil fuels like oil or gas, biomass boilers utilise renewable and sustainable resources. These boilers operate by burning biomass fuel, releasing energy that is then used to warm spaces or produce hot water. One of the key distinctions from conventional systems is the carbon neutrality of biomass.
What size biomass boiler do I need for my property?
The size of a biomass boiler depends on various factors, including the property size, insulation, and heating requirements. Larger properties or those with high heat demand may necessitate a more powerful boiler. Efficient insulation reduces heat loss, influencing the required boiler capacity. We will conduct a thorough assessment of various factors including property size. The insulation quality of the building is crucial, additionally, the heating requirements of the property are evaluated, considering factors such as the number of rooms, bathrooms, and the desired temperature. The local climate and seasonal variations also play a role in determining the boiler size.
Can a biomass boiler be integrated with existing heating systems?
Yes, a biomass boiler can often be integrated with existing heating systems, offering a versatile solution for various setups. The compatibility depends on the type of existing system and the flexibility of the biomass boiler. In many cases, retrofitting is indeed possible, allowing the biomass boiler to work in conjunction with conventional heating systems. Compatibility considerations include the type of fuel used, heat distribution methods, and control systems. We can assess the feasibility of integration and recommend any necessary adjustments to ensure compatibility with the existing heating infrastructure.
What incentives or grants are available for installing a biomass boiler?
The renewable heat incentive (RHI) has now closed for new applications. However, a number existing RHI Tariffs are available for purchase that can be applied to new biomass installations. Please speak to BBSM Ltd about specific tariffs.
What software do you use drawing and design, and how does it benefit the design process?
AutoCAD 3D offers a comprehensive solution for designing biomass boiler projects, providing various Toolsets tailored for specific industries and applications. Plant3D, a component of AutoCAD 3D, is particularly advantageous for biomass boiler design due to its specialised features. Plant3D includes pre-built heating equipment assemblies, such as tanks, pipes, and fittings, specifically designed for heating system applications. This built-in functionality streamlines the design process, allowing for the quick and accurate placement of essential components within the biomass boiler system. By utilising Plant3D, designers can efficiently create detailed 3D models that accurately represent the layout and configuration of the biomass boiler installation, facilitating better visualization, analysis, and coordination throughout the project lifecycle.
How do you determine the appropriate system specifications for a biomass boiler installation?
The short answer is several decades of experience and many hundreds of biomass boiler systems designed and installed by our team of biomass boiler specialists. When determining the appropriate specifications for a biomass boiler installation, various factors must be considered: Firstly, analysing the heating or energy needs of the building, considering its size, insulation levels, and desired temperatures. Secondly, assessing the availability and quality of biomass fuel sources nearby, considering factors like type, moisture content, and logistical aspects. Thirdly, calculating the boiler capacity based on heat demand, including peak loads and potential future expansions. Additionally, considering efficiency targets and budget constraints when selecting boiler models. Ensuring seamless integration with existing systems, evaluating environmental impacts, maintenance costs, safety, and reliability are also crucial. Lastly, addressing client preferences and budgetary constraints while balancing technical requirements completes the process.
What are the benefits of integrating remote controls and monitoring into biomass boiler systems?
Integrating remote controls and monitoring into biomass boiler systems offers significant benefits, including remote operation for flexible adjustments, enhanced efficiency through continuous data analysis, improved safety with remote oversight and shutdown capabilities, reduced downtime by detecting equipment issues early, data-driven decision-making for optimized performance and cost-effectiveness, and streamlined compliance and reporting through accurate data collection and automated reporting processes.
How do you conduct a cost-benefit analysis for proposed biomass boiler installations?
Conducting a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis for proposed biomass boiler installations involves evaluating various factors, including the overall capital cost of the installation, the price of biomass fuels (either r wood chip or wood pellets), offsetting gas/oil costs, and increase in energy efficiency, and potential Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) income. Firstly, the price of wood fuel depends on type (chip or pellet), specification and other factors such amount of wood fuel that can be delivered, as well as location and supplier. Comparatively, the cost of fossil fuels like gas or oil is often higher, providing a significant cost-saving opportunity. Secondly, assessing the energy efficiency of the biomass boiler system is crucial. Modern biomass boilers typically offer efficiencies above 90%. This is often substantially higher than aging gas or oil boilers. Lastly, considering potential income from the RHI scheme is important. The RHI provides financial incentives to eligible biomass boiler installations based on the amount of renewable heat generated, offering a steady income stream over several years. Although the RHI has now closed to new applications, RHI tariffs are still available. Please contact BBSM for details. By factoring in these elements alongside upfront installation costs, maintenance expenses, and operational savings, a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis can determine the long-term viability and economic feasibility of the proposed biomass boiler installation.
What is district heating, and how does it work with biomass boilers?
District heating is a centralised heating system that provides heat to multiple buildings or facilities from a single energy centre. Biomass boilers can be integrated into district heating networks as the primary heat source. In this setup the heat produced by biomass boilers is distributed through a network of insulated pipes (usually buried underground) to supply hot water or steam to connected buildings for space heating, domestic hot water, or industrial processes.
What are the benefits of combining district heating with biomass boilers?
The benefit of district heating is that there is only a single energy centre, rather than multiple boilers in every dwelling. The Energy centre can be managed remotely, and heat is transferred efficiently to each building. The district heating can be more efficient and is well suited to biomass heating.
How can biomass boilers contribute to sustainable district heating solutions?
Biomass boilers contribute to sustainable district heating solutions by utilizing renewable biomass fuels, reducing reliance on finite fossil fuels, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions through carbon-neutral biomass combustion, supporting local economies by developing biomass fuel supply chains and creating jobs, and promoting energy independence and resilience through diversification of energy sources and reduced dependence on imported fuels.
What factors should be considered when integrating biomass boilers into district heating networks?
When integrating biomass boilers into district heating networks, key considerations include assessing the heat demand and load profile of connected buildings, evaluating biomass fuel availability, quality, and cost, determining optimal boiler sizing and efficiency, ensuring seamless integration with existing heating infrastructure, adhering to environmental regulations and emissions standards, addressing operational and maintenance requirements, and conducting a thorough analysis of financial feasibility and return on investment.
What government funding opportunities are available for district heating projects involving biomass boilers?
Government funding opportunities for district heating projects involving biomass boilers may include grants, subsidies, tax incentives, and financing programs aimed at promoting renewable energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving energy efficiency. BBSM has accessed this funding, please get in contact if you would like to learn more about these opportunities.
What criteria do district heating projects need to meet to qualify for government funding?
District heating projects seeking government funding, especially those incorporating biomass boilers, must meet specific criteria for qualification. These criteria typically include demonstrating environmental benefits, such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions or increased utilization of renewable energy sources, ensuring economic viability and financial sustainability, aligning with government energy policy objectives and priorities, maintaining technical feasibility and sound project design, contributing to local economic development and job creation, and adhering to relevant regulations, standards, and permitting requirements. Compliance with these criteria is essential for securing government funding and advancing sustainable district heating initiatives.
I would just like to pass on our thanks, to peter, for getting our heating up and running last night. he truly went the extra mile, and made sure all things checked out before he left our building. he,s a true asset to your company, and i only wished all contractors, had the same commitment to there customers. thank you once again, brilliant service!!!
Academy- January 2024
You have shown us what a good (excellent!) biomass boiler installation looks like.
You have become an essential partner in our net-zero aspirations.
You have set a new standard for heating system efficiency.
You have set a new standard when it comes to working collaboratively with suppliers.
Public sector customer
BBSM installed the first of our biomass boilers in 2021. We found the company to be very reliable, trustworthy, and they worked efficiently and to a high standard. Based on our experience, we asked BBSM to install our second, and then our third biomass boiler system.
We have engaged BBSM to carry our on-going scheduled service and maintenance.
I would highly recommend them.
BBSM were able to provide a team of highly qualified staff across the wide range of disciplines that were required to deliver this complex project.
BBSM's team responded with flexibility and with great professionalism when the scope of the project had to be amended due to circumstances outside of their control, and always demonstrated a solutions lead approach.
We could not be happier with the outcome of the project. The new boiler is delivering significant fuel savings and takes considerably less time from our on site team to maintain.
In fact, the project has been so successful we have subsequently contracted BBSM to extend the biomass system to provide hot water to a block of holiday apartments on the same site.
I would be happy to recommend BBSM unconditionally.
BBSM was a professional company to work with. They stood behind their work, and we are very happy with the installation, their continued support, and their level of service.
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