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Bioenergy is energy, which comes from biomass, which is all organic material, for example plant material or animal waste products.  A biofuel is biomass which has been prepared to provide energy, it can be solid e.g. wood pellets or liquid e.g. biodiesel.  For domestic purposes solid biofuel in the form of wood pellets or wood chips are the most common fuels.  There are a number of different options from simple wood pellet stoves to wood gasification boilers, most of which are covered by SEI grants under the Greener Homes Scheme.   With all biomass pellet boilers you must provide bulk fuel storage, this can be purchased as part of the system or it can be constructed and must meet all local fire and building regulations.  There are many advantages to bulk storage; it is much cheaper to buy pellets in large quantities than in bags and it allows for the convenience offered by oil systems.   

WOOD CHIP/PELLET STOVESbiomass house image
Wood chip or pellet stoves provide the comfort of wood heating and are highly efficient and clean burning.  They are very convenient to operate, totally automatic and have much higher combustion and heat efficiency than fireplaces or ordinary wood stoves.  The appliances are available either as freestanding stoves or fireplace inserts.  The stove requires connection to a traditional flue.  They can be used for heating a single room or if integrated with a boiler they can heat a whole house and hot water, see below.  Stoves that burn wood briquettes are not eligible for the Greener Homes Scheme, because these stoves typically allow for the use of other solid fuels such as coal, and there is no way of confirming that only wood is used. 
A price guideline for a wood chip/pellet stove is from €2,000 to €5,000. 

Wood pellet stoves are also available with a back boiler, which can be used for heating water and underfloor or radiator heating.  Again they are totally automatic and have a high level of heat efficiency.  These stoves can be connected to a traditional flue.  The pellets are fed into the boiler automatically from the bulk storage unit and they are self cleaning with the ash pan only needing to be emptied once a week.  To qualify for the grant these systems must make up the main heating system of the house.
A price guideline for a biomass wood pellet stove with a boiler is from €4,000 to €8,000. 

WOOD CHIP/PELLET BOILERwood pelletts image
Wood chip or pellet boilers are very convenient with automatic fuel supply and thermostats meaning you can turn on the heating system with the touch of a button, it is even possible to contact some systems via mobile phone to ensure a warm home on your return.  They are highly efficient and clean burning and save time and money, with the cost of one ton of pellets being equivalent to 500 litres of heating oil, and most homeowners using between two and three tons of pellets per year.  Again the pellets are fed into the boiler automatically and the ash pan only needs to be emptied once a week.  These boilers must be fitted with an adequate flue and ventilation to ensure efficiency and safety.
A price guideline for a wood chip/pellet boiler is from €10,000 to €16,000. 

A wood gasification boiler makes its heat through the combustion of wood gas, the wood fuel is first converted to gas and the resulting charcoal is also converted to gas.  A buffer store is also installed in conjunction with this type of boiler to ensure efficient operation.  The buffer store is an important heat storage device, because once combustion has taken place the fuel continues to burn whether the heating load is met or not.  The buffer store is the primary heat storage and distribution centre, which can store the hot water for long periods until heating or hot water is required.  Wood gasification boilers are clean and have extremely high heating efficiency and are a very good alternative to oil central heating boilers. 
A price guideline for a wood gasification boiler is from €10,000 to €16,000. 

Please refer to our Directory for suppliers and installers of the above products
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