Ofgem are clamping down on burning Recycled Woodchip

Posted by James on 23rd Oct 2018

The burning of recycled wood chip has been an area of contention ever since the Renewable Heat Incentive was started. The introduction of emissions requirements for installations after September 2013 started the process of controlling emissions from Biomass boilers.

Changes to RHI biomass requirements in 2013 required boiler manufactures to test their appliances to prove the level of PM and Nox. These tests were mostly conducted using virgin fuels, wood chip, pellets or logs. However most boiler test houses and hence certificates do not distinguish between virgin wood and recycled wood.

With both virgin and non-virgin timber being lumped together many boiler owners have been using cleaner non-virgin or used wood chip and logs. This has created an issue with the Environment Agency as they feel this is not generally allowed. Virgin timber is seen as cleaner than used timber, as often used timber will have some contaminates which means it doesn’t burn as well.

To close this loophole Ofgem have started asking boiler owners to update their emissions certificates to clarify what fuel can be burnt. When boiler test houses then update the certificates in most cases they end up excluding recycled wood fuels from the list of accepted fuel. This solves an issue for Ofgem with the Environment Agency but puts the boiler owner in a pickle. They have suddenly gone from burning permitted wood fuel, to burning banned wood chip or logs. They then have to worry, will I keep my RHI payment, will Ofgem want me to pay back the money they have given me. None of these are problems that anyone wants.

The reasons behind this move are honourable, none of us want to breath in smoke but this will cause a lot of boiler owners a lot of pain. We have heard of ETA, Windhager, Herz and Ala boiler owners being asked to update their emissions certificates.

As a supplier of purely virgin wood fuels, particularly wood chip Eco Dry Energy is able to help. Why wait for Ofgem to come knocking, stop using recycled wood chip and start burning virgin wood chip as your boiler needs.