Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station ART, CH-8356 Ettenhausen

Comparison of wood-fired heating systems

The use of wood fuel for heat generation has been increasing steadily in recent years. Wood-fired heating systems do not only make economic sense for woodland owners; more and more often non-woodland owners are having their heat supplied by wood-fired power stations. Three output categories of wood-fired system were compared: 20, 60 and 100 kilowatt (kW). The cost price of the heat ranged from 16.4 to 34.0 Swiss centimes per kilowatt hour. Pellet heating was most cost-effective for the 20 kW output category, woodchip firing with tower-silo storage for outputs of 60 and 100 kW. A heat cost price comparison of heating systems with fossil energy carriers such as fuel oil and natural gas shows that medium and relatively high-output wood-burning systems cost only slightly more. An analysis of four case studies shows that investment costs can vary greatly for woodchip heating systems with comparable plant ratings. The type of woodchip storage and other operational factors can make all the difference.

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