Industrial Biomass Boilers to Face Same Restrictions as Domestic Wood-Burning Boiler Stoves?

In the UK, domestic wood-burning boiler stoves are reportedly responsible for up to 20% of airborne pollution in the form of NOx and particulates.

The 2021 Environment Act granted local authorities the power to issue on-the-spot civil penalties ranging from £175 to £300. It is crucial to note that these penalties are applied to domestic users, not industrial users.

While industrial users employing wood waste for factory heating already adhere to stringent regulations, it is anticipated that these regulations will be revised to further lower emission levels. Presently, the stringent emission limits applicable to systems consuming over 90kgs/hour of wood do not extend to those below the 90kg threshold. However, a change to this provision is on the horizon.


Stringent Rules Await Industrial Wood-Burners

The government’s Renewable Heat Incentive initially had higher emission levels for NOx and particulate matter. However, these limits were reduced over the course of the programme. By the scheme’s conclusion, the limits had dropped to 30g/GJ for particulate and 150g/GJ for NOx, specifically for industrial boiler systems. In the case of Ranheat ceramic filters, consistent measurements have shown an average of 1.2g/GJ for particulate and 110g/GJ for NOx.

The upcoming limits for domestic stoves are expected to cap particulate emissions at a maximum of 375g/GJ. Meanwhile, it appears that the current regulations are poised to be tightened significantly, potentially lowering the limit to a more stringent 185g/GJ. If the government is focusing on regulating domestic wood-burning boiler stoves, there is a high probability that similar restrictions will be extended to industrial installations, including smaller ones.

Consequently, it seems likely that the new hand-loaded industrial heaters will need to adhere to an even lower limit than this proposed threshold.

Currently, hand-loaded industrial heaters are typically mandated to comply with the Clean Air Act and have undergone government exemption testing. However, many of these tests were conducted over two decades ago.

The prevailing expectation is that the forthcoming more stringent limits will apply to all new industrial installations. Meeting these lower limits with a natural draft system would seem improbable due to the insufficient control provided by a natural draft chimney. However, all Ranheat systems are equipped with induced draft (electric chimney fan) and forced draft fans for both primary and secondary air, ensuring better control and compliance with the anticipated stricter regulations.


Let Ranheat Help

Regardless of the specific Ranheat system you choose, or in fact any wood-fired installation utilising waste wood, compliance with the current regulations is imperative.

Legally, you must secure planning approval, chimney height clearance and permits to ensure the lawful burning of wood waste. This could involve obtaining an exemption from the Environment Agency for up to 50kgs per hour or acquiring a permit such as a Site Waste Management Plan (SWIP) or a full Part B permit. Rest assured, at Ranheat we are ready to provide free assistance to enable you to obtain the requisite permits and permissions.

For further information on all types and sizes of industrial wood-burning equipment from 150kW upwards, please call a member of our team on 01604 750005 or email [email protected]. Alternatively, you can visit our website at Ranheat also makes spares, and services and repairs wood-burning boilers and heaters.


  • 15 May 2024
  • Alexander Franklin