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How much space does a biomass boiler take up?

Posted by FairEnergy . on 7 July 2014 at 9:01 am

Space is a common initial concern for customers considering biomass, but there are a range of solutions regardless of your space restrictions.

Biomass boiler installations have three key components – the boiler itself, a buffer tank and fuel store. The amount of space needed can vary greatly depending on the type and size of biomass boiler required to heat your property; the size of buffer tank; and the type and size of fuel store.

Space is a major consideration during the first stage of consultation, and recommendations on the type and size of boiler are usually governed by the amount of space available – along with other key factors as outlined by my colleague Fred Thomson in our February blog.

Biomass boilers are generally much larger than conventional oil and gas boilers, thus requiring more storage space. Most people imagine the size of a standard gas or oil boiler but from the front a biomass boiler is the size of a large fridge freezer, only deeper, and must be installed away from the wall for air to circulate freely. A separate space is required for the fuel store and feed system.

During your initial consultation, consideration is also given to fuel type when determining which type of boiler best suits your requirements. Boilers can be fed manually from a store of bags, or by an automated hopper that feeds the pellets from an adjacent store facility. If the latter, a larger storage space will be required.  

The most preferable place to store a biomass boiler and associated equipment is within an outbuilding, and any reputable installer can usually provide solutions including wooden clad buildings as part of the design and installation project.

For commercial installations, larger boilers with bigger outputs are commonly used and therefore a much larger amount of space is usually required. In these cases, a biomass energy plant (essentially a wooden or metal clad box) can be installed to house the biomass equipment.

So, exactly how much space will you need? 

In a modern three-bed semi, you'll need a biomass boiler with an output between 8kW-20kW and require a minimum of 1.54m x 1m in space;

For a large, detached period property, you might be looking for a boiler with an 80kW output and you'll need 5m x 5m of space;

If you happen to be running a large residential care home, for example, you'll be looking at a boiler with an output of 200kW requiring a minimum of 11m x 6m of space.  

Written by John Fursdon

More information on biomass

YouGen guide to biomass

From the blog

Number of accredited boilers for domestic RHI

Biomass suppliers must register to prove fuel is sustainable

Find a biomass installer in your area


About the author: Fred Thomson is a technical surveyor and John Fursdon is a senior technical sales consultant at Fair Energy

If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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