Biomass Heating Vs Heat Pump Technology

With the current majority of households and businesses in the UK still relying on gas to supply their heating, alternative options such as electrical heating systems and heat pumps are starting to become more common as the UK government scales up its efforts to reach net zero. This has also seen the popularity of biomass heating begin to increase, although at this stage biomass heating still only accounts for around 7% of UK buildings. Burning biomass fuel still produces pollution but is significantly more sustainable than fossil fuels, but how does it measure up against heat pumps?

Biomass Heating Systems VS Heat Pumps
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With gas and electricity prices steadily increasing, and the UK set to reach net zero by 2050, there is more incentive than ever to switch to another heating system, particularly as new gas boilers are planned to be banned entirely by 2035. With gas-powered heating being phased out in favour of cleaner alternatives that operate on renewable energy, biomass systems and heat pumps are the solutions that offer not just greater efficiency but savings across the board. Especially heat pump technology that provides cost-effective heating and the additional benefit of on-demand cooling throughout the summer.

The experts at MAC can provide you with cost-effective heating solutions and advice, so you can make an informed decision on whether biomass home heating or air conditioning with heat pump technology are best suited to your needs.

Biomass Heating Systems - What are they

What Are Biomass Heating Systems?

Biomass heating systems produce renewable energy in the form of heat by burning organic matter such as wood or plants. A biomass heating system could range in size from a stove to heat a single room to a back boiler to provide full central heating and wood is generally the most common fuel source.  Whilst wood fuel can vary greatly in price and can come as chips, pellets or logs, it is usually cheaper than gas powered alternatives, although it does release carbon dioxide (CO2) when burned.

Biomass is considered a renewable heating practice since the C02 emitted from the burning process is roughly equal to the amount absorbed by plants during their growth.

While biomass heating requires fuel in order to produce warmth, the heat pump technology used in air conditioning units is powered by electricity, although not quite in the same way. Biomass heating directly burns fuel in order to produce heat, contributing to global warming and climate change in the process. Air conditioning on the other hand uses the electricity it is supplied with to move existing heat from one location to another, this is what allows it to be so much more efficient and kinder to the environment! 

Heat Pumps Vs Biomass Heating Systems:

Which Is More Efficient?

Much like gas boilers and electric heating systems, biomass efficiency differs depending on the type and age of the system as well as the fuel used. The most common fuel for biomass heating systems is wood, which comes in the form of pellets, chips or logs.

The efficiency of wood fuels does vary between the type of wood used and its moisture level – this will have a direct impact on the price. The cost and efficiency of other organic fuels can also fluctuate, but biomass boilers typically offer a range of 80-90% efficiency.

A heat pump relies on electricity to power the process of drawing on latent energy to release heat, but their heating output is not limited by the fuel they use. In fact, all MAC's air conditioning models use heat pump technology to achieve between 300-400% efficiency, and since they run on electricity, there is no need to order and store wood or organic fuels.

At MAC, we utilise heat pump technology to provide our customers with the most efficient systems on the market that offer both heating and cooling on demand. Get in touch with our friendly experts to discover how you can stay cosy in all seasons.

Heat Pumps vs Biomass - Which is more efficient - 2

Heat Pumps Vs Biomass Heating

Heat Pumps vs Biomass - Which is more efficient -1
Are heat pumps more expensive than biomass heating - Cropped

Are Heat Pumps More Expensive than Biomass Heating?

Gas and electric boilers cost around £3000-£5000 for installation but with average hourly rates of between £2.00 and £4.00, their annual running costs would far exceed the total of a biomass heating system and a heat pump combined.

Biomass Heating Costs

A biomass heating system would typically come with a hefty initial cost of between £10,000 and £20,000, although manually fed domestic biomass boilers are available for around £5000. Although it should be noted that the annual cost of running a biomass heating system would be approximately £2650, which is a lot less than the cost of a gas boiler or electric system, which would come in at up to £4400 for gas and up to a whopping £8,800 for electricity. (These amounts are based on 12 hours per day usage for six months of the year)

Heat Pump Technology Costs

A heat pump system will cost about £15000 for installation, but with an hourly rate of £0.48. It will become better value than a gas boiler after three years, better value than an electric system after two years and better value than a manually fed domestic biomass boiler after 10 years. However, there is also the option of installing an air source heat pump (ASHP) for as little as under £2000, meaning your heat pump will save you money from the start.

MAC is here to help with all your questions and considerations about heat pump technology so you can find the best solution to suit your needs. Our expert team of qualified engineers ensure not only the highest standards, but a wealth experience to ensure you get the very best out of your investment, giving you peace of mind you've made a sound choice for your energy needs.

Heat Pumps vs. Biomass Heating

What Heating Solution is Cheaper to Run?

As the cost of both electricity and gas steadily increase year after year, energy bills are being pushed higher and the cost-of-living crisis makes us all look for practical ways to tighten our belts. As shown above, sourcing an alternative method to traditional gas or electric home heating, is certainly the way forward, particularly as gas boilers will be phased out by 2050 and the price of electricity continues to go through the roof.

Biomass heating systems don’t require any gas or electricity, but they do need an organic fuel source which can fluctuate in price and efficiency. Depending on the size of the household and chosen fuel, it is not uncommon for 3-5 tonnes of fuel to be used annually and the most efficient wood fuels will cost approximately £1.20 per hour - you can get cheaper wood chips, but they offer much less efficiency.

However, an average three-bedroom household, using an air conditioner featuring heat pump technology, could cost as little as 48p per hour to heat or cool their home. This makes heat pumps the most cost-effective way of internal climate control – between four and eight times cheaper than gas and electricity and half the price of biomass heating, but much more efficient.

When it comes to maintenance, domestic and commercial biomass heating systems are known to be troublesome and often require regular monthly inspections to remove ash and clean flues and heat exchangers, as well as annual servicing from professionals. Thankfully, when it comes to maintaining heat pump technology, only an annual service will be required, much like gas and electricity. MAC can offer you peace of mind with detailed maintenance plans at competitive rates, ensuring you make the most of your investment in heat pump technology, making it last for years to come.

For further information on all our superb maintenance plans, get in touch with our expert team today by calling 0121 730 4800 or by emailing sales@midlandaircon.co.uk.

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