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Being Green makes sitting down expensive

What was not discussed much at the time was that the Government has to introduce a wider RHI plan to cover all renewable heat technologies in October 2012 thanks to our friends in Europe and the legislation laid down by the EU Parliament.

Currently, the RHI covers biomass boilers. I hate biomass; the idea of going outside and shoveling sawdust into a hopper in the driving rain at 2.30am fills me with dread. If I wanted to be a stoker I'd join a steam train appreciation society.

But the rise of biomass has also had an unseen side effect by impacting on the market for sawdust. Waste products usually find a use; in the case of sawdust, it typically ends up as MDF or chipboard.

The small rise in demand for biomass boilers has caused the cost of sawdust to rise nearly 100 per cent in the last two years. The result is that cheap furniture is beginning to rise in price due to the raw material price hike. So, if more people buy more biomass boilers, soon MDF will be worth more than gold dust. Ikea will become the shop of choice for the wealthy, and MDF and chipboard will replace real wood as the expensive furniture choice.

If this lunacy continues, we will soon have to make do with plastic chairs!
Posted by Graham Hendra 21 June 2011 13:19:22 Categories: Graham's Gossip


By Chris Murray
21 June 2011 13:25:22
I don't know how true this is, but I was told a couple of months ago that standing timber (growing trees)was worth more as fuel than as sawn timber for construction, so will this force the price of timber for construction up. What we need to do is improve the use of waste anything as fuel be it wood waste for a boiler, pig poo to a digester or domestic rubbish through a waste to energy plant. Clear thought is required; no one solution or strategy will solve the problem - local solutions for local situations. How can it be right to export wood chip to Finland?
By David wright
21 June 2011 13:24:22
Obviously written with no influence in favour of heat pumps then?? Manufacturers or people with obviously one sided views should not be allowed to blog in such a miss-informed fashion! The heat pump solution is now 20% worse due to the carbon emission factors of electricity rising! Sawdust shoveling??? Which biomass boiler seminar informed the writer of this trait?
By Ira Steiner
21 June 2011 13:23:22
Local CO2 ..... now there is a concept. I was not aware that there are or will be aerial border crossings keeping nasty foreign CO2 out of your area... the kind that is generated by the coal fired power plants needed to generate the electricity for the heat pumps... Biomass is carbon neutral, no matter how much you want to discredit it. Electricity for heat pumps is, at least in this country, for the most part not. Except for the bit that comes from the Power stations which have chosen to co-fire biomass!!, a little wind power and some nuclear, which has it's own issues. Of the renewable options, heat pumps is the one that is not carbon neutral, so this argument, I am afraid, is the wrong one to use. And I would be curious to see the business model that makes it feasible to go into the rainforest and cut it down for the sole purpose of harvesting biomass fuel...
By Richard Walton
21 June 2011 13:22:22
I fully appreciate the humour in your Blog posting.
The archaic notion of shoveling fuel into a boiler at 2;00 AM brings back nostalgic memories of steam trains.

Biomass boilers nowadays are completely automated, and the vast majority of our clients are not even aware that their heat is derived from a renewable source.

As far as sawdust impacting the chipboard market - you might be surprised to learn that chipboard is manufactured from wood chips - not sawdust. MDF on the other hand - is made of sawdust, which is a commodity that currently has an extraordinary surplus on the market. I would be happy to provide any of the furniture manufacturers with a few hundred thousand tonnes of it a month if they desire.

Thanks for a great laugh. ;-)

By Ira Steiner
21 June 2011 13:21:22
So over the top that I can only assume it is meant to be a joke. Nobody has to go outside to shovel sawdust into a hopper of a pellet boiler at 2:30am in the driving rain... not even at any more reasonable time in perfectly acceptable weather. The notion that MDF becomes more expensive than Gold is ludicrous, but I do hope that everybody reading this is aware of that. Also, the RHI does cover (once it is actually implemented) solar thermal as well. But I guess you don't like the idea of having to go up onto the roof, holding the panels into the air so they are closer to the sun... or some other ridiculous thing like that. Heat pumps have their place; there is no doubt (or so I thought until reading this) small, single family dwellings will rarely be heated by biomass boilers; biomass needs a certain economy of scale. That somebody finds it necessary to try and discredit one form of renewable in such a disgusting way however makes me a bit suspicious of the technology itself. If it was any good, such tactics would not be needed.
By David Lawrence
21 June 2011 13:20:22
Couldn't agree more re biomass. The only thing you haven't mentioned is the amount of local CO2 it generates...however, DEC try to dress it up. We'll soon be buying illegal wood to feed this habit... and think what that will do to the rainforest.
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