Rising energy prices have resulted in many consumers increasingly opting to use wood-burning stoves as a secondary heating system, and as of 2017, estimates showed that at least 200,000 wood-burning stoves were installed in the UK.
Over 90% of wood fuel users in the UK burn logs. While these small to medium-scale heating systems may produce relatively little pollution, wood fuel with high moisture significantly increases carbon emissions.
Britain's Forestry Commission recommends consumers seek suppliers who can guarantee the wood fuel's moisture content, ensuring that it meets industry standards and the specifications of the buyer's equipment.
Harrington Woodfuel Co. Ltd
One such supplier is family-run business Harrington Woodfuel Co. Ltd, based in Wythall. They are currently the only Woodsure/HETAS and Grown in Britain certified supplier of kiln-dried hardwood firewood in the West Midlands. Their randomised testing methods ensure their firewood’s moisture content always remains below 20%.
The growing availability of low moisture wood fuel on the market represents a commercial and environmental success story, but there is still room for improvement. Waste by-products like woodcuts and sawdust are produced in large amounts when cutting trees to fuel wood-burning stoves.
With input from Aston University’s Energy & Bioproducts Research Institute, Harrington Woodfuel Co. was able to investigate innovative uses for these by-products, helping to increase efficiency and reduce waste.
Protecting the environment by preventing waste
Low moisture wood fuel may be environmentally friendly, but the log production process inevitably generates waste. Nationally, about 350,000 tonnes of woodchip and pellet go into the UK heating sector, and the amount used is growing year on year. At Harrington Woodfuel Co. alone, for every 120 cubic metres of wood processed, they generate 25 cubic metres of sawdust and waste chippings.
These offcuts have the potential to produce G30 quality class woodchips, ideal for domestic and medium scale heating applications. Their market value is determined by the grade, moisture content, and size of the woodchips.
Harrington Woodfuel attended EBRI’s highly-acclaimed ‘Value from Waste’ Master Class, and following that our team provided the business an in-depth market review. Our findings revealed that the company’s waste sawdust could make excellent raw material, ideal for producing biofuel like wood pellets. With their low moisture and ash content, wood pellets are an efficient and environmentally friendly fuel source.
Our report highlighted recommendations for long-term investment and business growth. These included investing in specialist equipment to produce woodchip waste with consistent sizes, increasing their value and marketability, and selling waste sawdust to fuel pellet producers.
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Energy and Bioproducts Research institute (EBRI)