Biomass boilers, which use sustainable fuels rather than fossil fuels are considered to be carbon neutral boilers and are often mentioned as a great way to reduce carbon emissions. However, recent study claims that large scale biomass boiler systems in London can actually lead to a sharp rise in poisonous fumes.
The report forecasts a sharp increase in poisonous nitrogen dioxide (NO2) smoke particulates and other air pollutants when wood chip biomass boilers are used for power generation. The report shows that a widespread use of biomass boilers for heating and power generation across the capital can potentially have a negative effect on the air quality unless strict measures are adopted to prevent this.
The report concluded that further work is underway to develop and define the impact on London’s air quality from the take-up of the biomass boiler solution.
Nitrogen dioxide levels are already high in London. A further increase (due to biomass boilers’ wood chip fuel) would cause problem, the report found.
Energy minister, Malcolm Wickes has previously confirmed that opposition to construction of large scale power plants would be a challenge if the government is to meet its targets of providing 20% of electricity through sustainable sources by 2020. The minister added that the UK would require huge investments in its energy structure in the next five to fifteen years.