Benefits of Wood Pellet Fuel for your Business
Frequently Asked Questions about our Wood Pellet fuel
What are wood pellets?
Wood pellets are a high quality, clean and convenient heating fuel. A renewable biomass, the Balcas Energy wood pellet fuel is first to be pioneered in the UK and Irish markets in 2005. Having paved the way for the industry they have continued to grow and maintain its firmly established position as the most experience wood pellet supplier and the largest producer in the UK and Ireland.
What are wood pellets made of?
Balcas Energy wood pellets are made from wood residue produced as a by-product of Balcas’ saw milling processes. The original timber is either Sitka spruce or pine locally sourced from sustainably managed forests, accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council. No waste or recycled wood is used in the manufacturing process.
How are Balcas Energy Wood Pelles made?
By-product of our timber milling activities in the form of virgin wood material is fed into our Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Plant and Pellet Mills. The moisture level of the material is reduced to less than 10% before being forced through dies under high pressure. Breaker bars cut the material leaving the die at the correct length and as cooling takes place the naturally occurring lignin, inside the wood, binds the pellet together. The end product is a compressed wood pellets high in calorific value. You can read about our innovative manufacturing process here and our sustainability story here.
What dimensions are our locally produced pellets?
They are cylindrical in shape with a diameter or 6mm and a length of 30mm.
What standard are our wood pellets made to?
Searching for a standard that reflected the high quality of our pellets the company became the first in the UK and Ireland to be audited for the ENplus standard prEN14961-2 which resulted in successful accreditation.
Unlike other standards the ENplus goes further than just product specification as it assesses the whole supply chain, ensuring that standardised high quality wood pellets are received by the end consumer. ENplus A1 also guarantees a minimum calorific value or heat content and takes into account heavy metals produced during combustion, a factor that if unmonitored under other standards can lead to boiler corrosion and ultimately impact the lifespan of appliances.
Where are our pellets made?
They are made in two production facilities. Enniskillen, Northern Ireland is the site of a 2.7MWe Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant and pellet mill with a production capacity of 55,000 tonnes per annum. It is located on the same site as the our timber mill due to the close proximity of raw materials. Invergordon, Scotland has a production capacity of 100,000 tonnes a year. This is the largest CHP and pellet mill in the UK and Ireland and has an 8MW (electric) capacity, of this 5MW is exported to the grid, while the other 3MW used on site.
What are Balcas Energy pellets burned in?
Our wood pellets are used in specifically designed wood pellet appliances which can be boilers providing central heating or a free standing room heater/stove. Wood pellet boilers are as easy to use as conventional boilers with appliances that have automatic feed systems to bring in fuel, programmable settings and self ignition to name a few features. Wood pellet fuel can be used in specific wood pellet heaters generating a natural flame and a focal point in a room or in wood burning stoves and open fires, providing a suitable pellet basket is used.
What do I need to do to convert my oil boiler to a wood pellet boiler?
You will need to get an accredited installer to check that your wet central heating system is suitable for the conversion. In most cases it is as easy as removing your oil boiler and replacing it with a wood pellet boiler. The main issue is space for storage; you can convert space in your garage or buy a variety of different storage units to suit individual purposes, even units that sit below ground level. Free standing pellet stoves are often used.
More information on how to store your wood pellets here.
How much ash will be produced from burning our wood pellets?
Ash levels are extremely low with some boiler units removing the ash automatically. Ash from using Balcas Energy wood pellets is high in nutrients and can be used as a high grade fertilizer in the garden.
How messy or dusty are the wood pellets?
Balcas Energy wood pellets are very clean and can be handled easily without any mess. They are screened and sieved before leaving our facilities so they contain less than 1% fines.
How much space will I need to store the wood pellet fuel?
1m³ will hold approximately 650kg of pellets and so we recommend that storage units have a capacity to hold at least half a tonne over the minimum delivery amount in your area. Therefore if a minimum delivery is 4 tonnes or 6m³ of wood pellet fuel then your store should be 6.5 m³ – 7m³ to ensure you do not run out before you can re-order. Storage must be clean and dry with further information available through our Maintenance page.
How long can I store the wood pellets?
Provided that the storage unit is kept free from moisture and other forms of contamination there should be no reason that our wood pellets cannot be stored for an indefinite period.
What is the minimum delivery of wood pellets with Balcas Energy?
In Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland the minimum delivery is 3 tonnes. England and Wales have a minimum delivery of 5 tonnes while Scotland has a minimum requirement of 4 tonnes qualify for delivery. As customer densities increase and new depots open these amounts may be subject to change and we would welcome enquiries.
How are the wood pellets delivered to my home?
They are delivered through a fleet of branded, specialised vehicles that pneumatically blow the fuel into storage units and hoppers that they connect to using a A-400 Camlock fitting or equivalent. A range of vehicles are in use to suit the requirements of different customers with some examples listed below:
12m long and 3.9 m high
4m wide and Turning circle 18m
10m long and 3.9 high
4m wide and Turning Circle 20m
10kg bags are available to order online throughout the UK and Ireland (see bagged wood pellets)
How far can the wood pellets from Balcas Energy be blown?
Our pellet fuel quality can be guaranteed up to a blowing distance of 20 metres from vehicle to storage unit.
Where can our wood pellets be delivered to?
Our wood pellets are sold on a national level direct from either our production facilities or regional depots to consumers doors with 10kg bags available to buy online and delivered within days (see bagged wood pellets page).
vWhy choose Balcas Energy wood pellets?
Our wood pellet fuel has many similar qualities to other pellets in terms of particle size, but the ENplus standard ensures a quality that surpasses many domestically produced and imported pellets.
Uniquely our pellets are manufactured using CHP plants that operate on renewable energy and have been hailed as text book examples of “Green” projects. Since our wood pellets are made in a process that uses renewable energy as opposed to fossil fuels the carbon footprint associated with using them as a fuel is considerably lower than alternative products.
More and more people have started turning to biomass and wood pellets as an answer to the increasing costs of fossil fuels and their environmental impact, meaning there is greater demand for raw materials. Guaranteed security of supply for the lifespan of an appliance should be of paramount concern for current and prospective wood pellet users with many consumers choosing our wood pellets for this reason due to the well established brand, national presence and vast resources available which cements confidence in our promises.
What are the benefits of using wood pellets?
brites provide substantial savings and a great deal of stability in comparison to the volatile prices of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas as they are not subject to the same global factors. Using brites means a significantly lower carbon footprint than fossil fuels and other wood pellets because brites are uniquely produced using renewable energy. brites are sourced and produced locally, not imported, ensuring that considerable direct and indirect local employment results from their usage.
What appliances are required to burn wood pellets?
Burned correctly wood pellets produce very little emissions. They are best consumed in equipment which is specifically designed to burn them, this could be an efficient and attractive room heater or a central heating boiler. However, wood pellets can be used in an open fire grate or wood burning stove provided that a suitable pellet basket is used. For medium to large scale projects requiring heat and water, a wide range of highly efficient pellet burning appliances are available on the market, which may be automatically fed from a store, self ignite and programme like a conventional fuel boiler.
Can a future supply of woodfuel be guaranteed?
In our region we are lucky to have a promising supply of woodland (some 92,000 hectares) with much of this being currently under-managed. Well managed and sustainably harvested these resources have the potential to generate renewable woodfuel stocks well into the future.
Why should I use Pellets rather than wood chip?
Wood pellets require substantially less storage due to their higher bulk density so less space is required and much fewer deliveries are needed for the same heat. brites are made to a uniform standard, consistent in terms of particle size and moisture, allowing boilers and feed systems to be set to an optimum level and therefore increasing efficiency. Wood pellets will produce less ash than wood chip.
What is ENplus?
ENplus is recognised as the highest standard available in wood pellet fuel worldwide and the only standard within the UK delivering recognised guaranteed values. With alternative suppliers claiming to adhere to certain standards Balcas realised what matters is the specification a supplier will guarantee and importantly the substance of that guarantee. Balcas were the first in the UK and Ireland to research and become audited for ENplus, gaining accreditation in April 2011. ENplus requires regular and thorough external auditing as part of achieving certification; samples are consistently taken in accordance with regulations proving that brites is without fail making targets and falling into parameters, providing long term peace of mind to customers.
How does ENplus differ to CEN/T 14961-2005?
CEN/T 14961-2005 or BS EN 14961-2010 are just the standardisation of testing techniques, meaning that pellets can be compared in similar terms having all been tested in the same format. There are no minimum or maximum values to be achieved as neither CEN/T 14961-2005 nor BS EN 14961-2010 are standards to be adhered to. They are simply a long list of variables that pellets, when tested, can fall anywhere into. Fundamentally no external auditing system exists for CEN/T 14961-2005. There are no parameters for ash melting temperature, which when unmonitored leaves the door open to “clinker”. There are no minimum or maximum figures for guaranteed heat, let alone other variables like fines, durability, percentage of ash and so on.
ENplus ensures pellet quality is managed throughout the entire supply chain including production, storage and transport. Crucially the standard must be met at the point of supply to the end user i.e. their residence or business. ENplus guarantees the user a minimum calorific value or heat quantity from wood pellets; independent, 3rd party assurance that removes the need for a wood pellet user to rely solely on what their supplier is saying. Heavy metals like sulphur and chlorine are also monitored under ENplus due to their corrosive potential and impact on appliance lifespan unlike CEN/T 14961-2005.