Technical Note SB74: Pricing of different biomass fuels

A common question that those considering biomass fuelled heat applications for the first time often ask is - How can I establish the price of solid biofuel which I will have to pay if I install a biomass fuelled boiler?

The price of biomass fuel will depend on so many variables that even if a price were established at a location it could be very different the next day.

Solid biofuels are not all the same

Solid biofuel is no different than any other purchased product and so investigation of availability and price needs to be done in exactly the same way. The price of any product will change over time according to a wide range of factors including the availability and cost of raw materials, competition, delivery constraints etc etc.

Solid biofuel is produced from a wide range of sources of biomass and these will change over time as some sources are used up and new sources established. These will also change according to the locality of the facility.

Biomass as sourced will usually require some treatment before it is a fuel suitable for combustion in specific heat plant.  Once treated It is often referred to as solid biofuel (or wood fuel as wood is the most common source of biomass for producing solid biofuels). The degree of treatment will depend on the type and design of the boiler. Some boilers will take a wide range of fuels while others are designed only for a specific fuel – eg wood pellets. The degree of treatment will affect the price of the fuel so two different boilers next to each other may face very different fuel prices, even from the same supplier.

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