We often get asked; ‘Does the UK have enough wood for biomass boilers?’ or ‘Where does all the wood come from?’
According to the Forestry Commission’s latest ‘Wood Market Update’ (July 2013) in the UK there are over 1.2 million hectares of woodland covering a little under 10% of the land area and surprisingly the South East and London is covered by 15% of woodland. If 2/3rds of this were managed, the potential sustainable annual yield from the South East and London alone would be nearly 1 million m3, while across England this could product at least 4 million m3!
Currently a large proportion of these woodlands are not managed and so good amount of wood pellet imported from Scandinavian and Canadian waste wood. In addition, there is a large untapped resource of local wood chip in the UK and a growing industry of wood pellet manufacturers from sawmill waste and virgin wood.
Estimates for England show that wood from managed woodlands and cultivated forests could produce 6,000GWth per year of heat from waste wood that is currently either going to landfill / composting or animal bedding. This would cover the energy requirements of everyone in England who currently uses oil if they switched to biomass.
Remember, this is just the waste wood from managed sites, it does not include imported pellets or using any plantations as fuel. These high levels of supply are keeping the price of biomass fuel low and stable in the UK, avoiding large increases in prices like those we have experienced with fossil fuels.
More information and a full description of each fuel type, including their advantages, can be found on the Williams Renewables website under the relevant sections;
Wood Pellet, Wood Chip and Log boilers.
Or call our design team on 020 7430 2700.