Biomass Fuels FAQs

What is biomass energy?

Biomass energy is generally understood as any woody fuel. However, biomass can also include straw, miscanthus and other organic materials. Within the category of woody fuel the principle fuels are wood pellet, wood chip and logs.

Why is biomass energy important?

Renewable energy is becoming increasingly common as more and more people look for alternatives to fossil fuels. Traditional fuels such as oil, gas and LPG are costly, damaging to the environment and rapidly running out. Nor do fossil fuels suit modern household and industrial demands for clean, efficient and locally abundant sources of energy. However, we all have access to wood energy. It is an environmentally sustainable energy source as we are able to control and manage the resource and renew the available stock. Oxford Renewables supplies a range of wood pellet boilers, solar and biomass heating solutions that are suitable for domestic and commercial properties.

What is the difference between wood pellets, wood chips and logs?

The table below provides a breakdown of the difference between these wood fuels in terms of physical characteristics, fuel feed systems, access and delivery issues and the space required.

Fuel Source Wood Pellets Wood Chip Logs
Physical characteristics 2cm long, 5mm diameter. Easy to handle. High quality, high energy density, manufactured fuel. 5-10cm long, 1-3cm diameter. Requires heavy machinery to handle in large quantities. Locally produced, variable quality and medium energy density. 55cm long and 10-20cm diameter. Requires machine and direct handling in large quantities. Variable quality and medium energy density.
kWh per tonne 4800kWh 3500kWh 3500kWh
Fuel Feed systems Manual, auger and vacuum Auger only Manual only
Access & Delivery issues For a manual system, space to store pellet bags on a pallet is required. For an automatic system a lorry will blow pellets into the fuel store and need to be within 30 metres of the pellet store. Wood chip systems tend to require 10 tonne deliveries or more. The simplest delivery system is to have an open-ended store where the lorry can tip the chip directly into the fuel store. Otherwise a tractor may be required or mechanical delivery systems. A log store will be required to ensure the logs, once chopped, can be stored without getting wet.
Minimum plant room space required(boiler and buffer store) 2 metres by 3 metres by 2.5 metres high 3 metres by 3 metres by 2.5 metres high 3 metres by 3 metres by 2.5 metres high
Fuel Store Space Required 5 tonnes- 12m3
10 tonnes- 20m3
5 tonnes- 20m3
10 tonnes- 40m3
5 tonnes- 20m3
10 tonnes- 40m3

How does wood fuel compare with conventional fossil fuels?

Wood fuel is generally a carbon-neutral, locally abundant and cheap alternative to conventional heating fuels. However, in all cases where the user wants to keep a store of fuel, wood fuel takes up more space than the fossil fuel alternative. So, unless you are happy to fill up a pellet boiler (once a day in winter) then you really need to have lots of space available for the plant room and the fuel store.

The table below provides a breakdown of the difference between these wood fuels and fossil fuels:

Fuel Source Electricity LPG Oil Mains Gas Wood Pellets Wood Chips Logs
Type of system Electric heaters plugged in at the mains LPG tank and boiler heating a ‘wet’ system Oil tank and boiler heating a ‘wet’ system Boiler connected to mains, heating a ‘wet’ system Boiler burning wood pellets to heat a ‘wet’ system Boiler burning wood chips to heat a ‘wet’ system Boiler burning logs to heat a ‘wet’ system
Average price/kWh of heating 14p 7p 6p 4p 4p 2.6p Self-supply(free)
Manual Feed option No No No No Yes No Yes
Automatic Feed Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No

Is biomass eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive?

Yes. The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) accepts all type of natural wood fuel as an eligible fuel. The principle wood fuels accepted are: wood pellets, wood chips and logs. It is important to be aware of the quality criteria in each case and that the rules are slightly different for the domestic RHI and the non-domestic RHI. Each type of wood fuel has deifferent characteristics and advantages so it is important to understand which fuel you want first, before choosing the biomass boiler.

Take a look at our commercial case studies to find out more about our biomass fuel solutions.


Contact us for more Biomass Fuel information


For more biomass fuel information, contact our team on 0118 984 1753. Alternatively, leave your details on our contact us page and we’ll reply as soon as we can.

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