Charlie Henderson of Climate Futures is the co founder and director of a new digital business, The Woodpicker, a service for biomass users.
Initially, the service is helping domestic and commercial users of biomass fuel to find suitable suppliers and the best deals. It hopes to make the market more transparent and the purchasing procedure more streamlined. The ultimate aim is to increase satisfaction and uptake of renewable biomass heat.
Automated biomass heat is relatively nascent in the UK - driven particularly by the non-domestic RHI for businesses and organisations since 2011 and domestic users / landlords since 2014. There are c.13,000 registered RHI solid biomass installations in the UK (Feb 2016).
Despite subsidy cuts and oil prices, use is growing across the EU. However, this comes at an important time. UK government incentives for renewable heat have been cut. Higher targets and more government support are required if the UK is to hit 2020 targets for renewable heat and transport, the Renewable Energy Association (REA) has said (ENDS Report, April 2016).
Until now, there has been no customer-focused, impartial source of information on biomass fuel costs, quality and suppliers in the UK. Other barriers to supplier switching includes the requirement for onerous detailed information on access, security and boiler specifications. Hence biomass use is less transparent and simple than it could be.
Since launch on 29th February, The Woodpicker has processed over 130 customer enquiries. Five major wood pellet suppliers have signed up to offer their fuel through the service.