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Article Date: 24th May 2019

Spirax Sarco - Talking Trash: Why Steam Could be the Hidden Gem of your Biomass Heating System

Biomass Heating System - Fossil Fuels - Renewable Heat Incentive

Spirax Sarco - Talking Trash: Why Steam Could be the Hidden Gem of your Biomass Heating System

Imagine being able to use industrial waste to heat a building. Now imagine the ability to use steam to generate electrical power. Waste products may not be the first thing we think of when we look at power, but as the future of fossil fuels is more widely discussed, steam and waste may just become the power couple of the future green economy.

In the world of industrial heating, chicken farmers are sitting on a goldmine. High in nitrates and phosphorus, chicken waste has typically been used as a farming fertiliser. This has, however, come with its own issues, such as water-course contamination from run-off, as well as transportation costs. Now, thanks to advances in technology, chicken waste, or litter, has become the fuel warming the very chickens that created it. Talk about recycle, reuse, reduce.

“Biomass is a significant area of growth for commercial industry,” says Angelo Giambrone, business development manager for Spirax Sarco UK. “As pressure from government bodies continues to mount, so too does the push towards greener, more sustainable fuel sources.”

The biomass industry has developed strongly over the past few years, and as the technologies advance, so too does the number of products that can be burned as fuel for heating.

“Biomass, biofuels, anaerobic digestion – they all encompass the concept of creating energy from sustainable sources, which can include waste products,” Angelo says. “Combustion technology is helping to drive this change, as is a rising awareness of the benefits of managing your own fuel source.”

Spirax Sarco - Talking TrashThe UK government in particular has taken an interest in the potential of biomass to contribute to the UK’s CO2 emissions targets, and has introduced the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) to encourage more businesses to invest in biomass heating systems.

”The RHI was first launched for domestic properties in 2014 and is the first of its kind in the world,” comments Angelo.

“For chicken farmers, for example, it’s like the cherry on top of an already sweet deal. Not only are they burning animal waste as an inexpensive source of fuel, but they also receive money from the government in the form of a quarterly payment.”

The RHI is open to businesses and organisations across England, Scotland and Wales but, as Angelo explains, there are a few caveats.

“You can’t stick a woodchip boiler in the back garden and claim the benefit. You have to be able to demonstrate that the biomass installation is making a valid contribution to your energy requirements.”

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