Around 350,000 tonnes of wood chip and wooden pellets go into the UK heating sector each year. But this could rise to 500,000 - 600,000 tonnes if plans for all the proposed non-domestic biomass plants go ahead in the next 12 months.

And with government subsidies increasing for domestic biomass boilers, we can expect to see even more growth soon.

Hilltop Products supplies an automatic wooden pellet boiler fuel ignition blower, which fits into domestic and non-domestic wood pellet boilers.

The government offers homes and businesses cash to use less-polluting biomass boilers. Find out if your home or business benefit from using a wooden pellet boiler below.

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

The government aims to have 12% of heating powered by biomass fuels by 2020. To help meet this target, the UK uses two financial incentive schemes. One targeted at domestic property owners and another for commercial premises.

The Domestic RHI

The Domestic RHI is a financial incentive scheme designed to make sure that 700,000 homes convert to biomass heating before 2020.

It is open to single properties which can get an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This is proof that the property is assessed as a domestic dwelling.

RHI cash payments are made quarterly over seven years and the amount that you receive depends on several factors – including the type of boiler you install and, in some cases, metering.

The money the government offers for domestic heat incentive payments has just increased. But to be guaranteed you need to make an application before December 31 this year.


Domestic dwellings that are on the RHI scheme are often quite rural and not plugged into the national gas grid system – but this is not a precursor to being accepted onto the scheme.

Some people do it for practical reasons – where other solutions are not available or expensive. Others like the idea of self-sufficiency, living ‘off-grid’ and producing less carbon.

The Non-Domestic RHI

If a renewable heating system is installed at a commercial, public or industrial premises then you may be liable to receive non-domestic RHI payments.

This can include small and large businesses, hospitals, schools and organisations with district heating schemes serving multiple homes.

Biomass like wood, wood shavings and wooden pellets are all popular sources of renewable heat. Wooden shavings tend to be popular with larger commercial sources of heat, while pellets are good for smaller domestic boilers.

Examples of Non-Domestic Premises that use the RHI Scheme

  • Holiday cottages
  • Farm buildings
  • Country hotels
  • Manor houses

What are Wooden Pellets

Wooden pellets are manufactured from the waste materials created during large-scale wood processing operations. The fine-grained remnants are compressed under high pressure to form the small pellets. The pellets are kept dry to ensure they burn optimally.

Pellets are easy to ignite, store and transport. It is beneficial if you can source the pellets from a local timber operation, because this can cut down on transport costs and the carbon cost of transporting pellets over long distances.

This is one of the reasons that wood pellet biomass boilers are popular among off-grid properties that are far away from cities.

Advantages of Wooden Pellet Fuelled Boilers

Avoid changing fuel prices – Gas prices are known to jump around quite a lot. This year has brought a series of price rises from the UK’s largest energy companies and other smaller operators.

Part of the reason why gas prices jump around is because they are closely linked with international oil prices. Wooden pellets are less dependant on international changes like these and they can be cheaper than using other fuels – particularly when you factor in government subsidies.

Carbon neutral – As we have already mentioned, the UK government sees biomass power stations and boilers as a key weapon in their fight against climate change. Countries in the EU and United States have introduced similar incentives to boost biomass burning.

Burning fuels like wooden pellets does produce carbon and other gases – but this is counteracted by the trees which absorb carbon as they grow. And because the pellets are made as a natural side product of wood processing, you do not cut down trees unnecessarily.

You can improve your carbon impact by sourcing pellets from a local supplier. Local timber suppliers can also deliver the fuel cost effectively a few times each year.

Self-sufficiency – Having a home or business which is self-sufficient in terms of its energy supply is important to some people. It is something of a romantic ideal, but also saves you from massive increases in the cost of fuel.

To an extent, you will still have to depend on the supply of wooden pellets from your supplier, but these can be stored for a long time if you have enough space.

Disadvantages of Wooden Pellet Fuelled Boilers

Storage space – Wooden pellets are small, but used in quite large quantities, so you need a lot of storage space if you want to keep supplies for months at a time. Unlike wood, the pellets don’t need to be kept outside but you do need to stop them becoming too damp.

Maintenance – Some of the more expensive biomass boilers are automated, with large fuel hoppers that automatically deliver the pellets to the heating environment. But cheaper boilers need to regularly be topped up with pallets and emptied of ash at regular intervals.  

Expensive to buy – Although you can reduce fuel prices, particularly with the help of government subsidies, the boilers themselves can be quite expensive.

Wooden Pellet Ignition System

Hilltop Products is a proud supplier of several of the best quality process heating systems, including one of the best boiler ignition systems for pellet and wood chip boilers.

The Leister Ignitor BM4 ignition blower is available to buy from the Hilltop Website, where our sales representatives can help make sure it is the right solution for you. 

It is an automatic ignition system that works like a super-hot hair dryer, blowing hot air over the fuel until it lights up. It can ignite wooden pellets very quickly and efficiently. And there’s no need to get your fingers burnt when trying to heat your home.

With an easy access connection plug for easy removal and installation and a special assembly support to fit it in the furnace, the ignition heater has been specially created to be installed in any pellet and wood chip boiler.

The tool also has a heating element protection with a phototransistor and device protection via a temperature protection circuit.

To learn more about Leister’s Ignition Blower or any of the products available to buy on Hilltop Products’ website, please contact a member of the accounts team. Call: 01942 723 101. BUY ONLINE >>>>