The Importance of Quality Fuel

The Importance of Quality Fuel

Case Studies

Will Richardson of Rural Development Initiatives talks to HETAS about the importance of quality fuel and the initiatives in place for woodfuel suppliers, from Woodsure and Ready to Burn to Grown in Britain.

We are all familiar with the importance of producing and using the highest quality woodfuels – improved efficiency, reduced emissions, reduced wear and tear on appliances to name a few. Policy makers and enforcers are following the woodfuel industry with interest as more and more woodfuel burning appliances are installed and more and more woodfuel is being burned.

A number of Woodsure accredited suppliers in the north of England have been working hard to achieve top quality supply chains and I’ve set out below a couple of case studies on two different firewood suppliers using different production techniques to get consistently high quality fuel.

The Importance of Quality FuelDelamere Logs

Delamere Logs at Norley, Cheshire created in 2010, is harvesting logs from its own land, as well as from the surrounding area, and is contributing to the local environment and economy. They have not only committed to Woodsure accreditation but have also achieved the Grown in Britain Standard, with both marks allowing them to demonstrate both the quality and locality of the product.

“Grown in Britain licensing guarantees that our firewood is all-British in origin,” says Will Starkey, partner at Delamere Logs. “The brand is a sign that timber products are sourced from managed British woodlands. Imported firewood can bring the threat of unwanted pests and diseases. Supporting British-grown timber and wood products removes such concerns and helps maintain jobs in rural economies here at home. Managing woodland correctly also benefits wildlife”.

Delamere Logs is an offshoot of the Starkey’s family farming business. The farm’s woodlands have always contributed to its livelihood, but brothers Sam and Will Starkey decided to create Delamere Logs in response to the growing market for woodfuel following the introduction of the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive.

Will and Sam rely on traditional natural seasoning of their firewood product. Small diameter hardwood roundwood is bought into their yard where it is stacked on bearers in an exposed location for 6 to 9 months before being processed direct into potato crates. Here the split firewood is stored for no less than 12 months in order to achieve consistent average moisture content levels of less than 20%. The advantages of natural seasoning is a much reduced initial capital outlay but the trade off is a very long lead in time from processing the timber to selling the finished product to the customer.

The Importance of Quality FuelWoodfuel Barn

Woodfuel Barn at High Spen, Tyne and Wear, have been producing high quality firewood since 2009. Peter Stenner decided to create the business in response to the growing market for wood fuel as he realized a need for producing a sustainable local service to meet the increasing demand for great value dry logs. The business has been Woodsure accredited since 2015 and also holds Grown in Britain certification.

The business concentrates on kiln drying their product. In 2010 it was decided to install a biomass powered kiln drying logs down to very low moisture which are ideal for modern wood burning stoves. These logs not only burn extremely well but they are also a clean burn so they do not produce as much soot. The biomass used in the boiler is a by-product of the wood processing used in the production of the logs making the process efficient and sustainable. Consistent average moisture contents of less than 17% are achieved. The advantages and disadvantages of kiln drying are reversed to those of natural seasoning – high capital outlay compared to a very quick product turnaround time.

Of course, these case studies aren’t to say that a combination of both techniques can be used – initial air drying followed by finishing the product off in a kiln. Additionally, different types of kilning processes can be used including solar powered kilns such as poly tunnels. But both case studies demonstrate the commitment many businesses have made to the production of quality assured woodfuel giving consumers and policy makers confidence in our industry to deliver.

Grown in Britain’s Northern Group Scheme, of which Delamere Logs and Woodfuel Barn are members, is managed by Will Richardson of RDI Associates: “With the recent introduction of ash die back disease to the UK it’s critical that we all do what we can to reduce the potential spread of other pests and diseases from imported firewood,” he says. “Buying Grown in Britain licensed wood products, such as Delamere’s and Wood Fuel Barn’s woodfuel, householders and businesses can be assured of British traceability. This linked with Woodsure assurance gives customers complete peace of mind that their product is of the highest quality. They will also be helping to create a sustainable future for our forests and woodlands.”

Find out more

Click here to find out more about gaining accreditation with Woodsure and Ready to Burn.

Click here to find your local supplier on the HETAS Woodfuel Search.

The Grown in Britain brand identifies wood that has been grown in Britain and assured through their all new licensing scheme. Click here to find out more.

RDI is a highly experienced project management, consultancy and training service provider working at the forefront of sustainable rural development. Visit the RDI website.

Is your wood Ready to Burn?

Is your firewood Ready to Burn?

Ready to Burn LogoInstallation of a stove can be a whole new experience for many homeowners with a lot of information to take in.  HETAS in partnership with Woodsure aims to eliminate the confusion surrounding what wood to burn.  We have launch a scheme called “Ready to Burn” and it enables homeowners to have confidence in the wood they are buying.

Moisture Content

Any wood displaying the Ready to Burn logo will have 20% moisture content or less and once you get it home it is “Ready to Burn”, safe in the knowledge that it will not be causing damage to their appliance and in addition will be reducing harmful emissions into the atmosphere.

We believe that there will be many benefits; appliances will function as they should, the environment will benefit from the reduction of harmful particulates from burning wet or unseasoned wood and homeowners will have the assurance that wood bearing the Ready to Burn logo is exactly that, ready-to-burn! If the right fuel is not used in appliances; the once-beautiful stove becomes ineffective, smokes and smoulders and over time creosote builds up in the appliance and flue.

Ready to Burn Suppliers

For more information and stockist, please visit the ‘Ready to Burn‘ and Woodsure websites.

HETAS also has a range of consumer advice leaflets which can be viewed at www.hetas.co.uk/consumer/hetas-advice.

Ready to Burn Latest News

Ready to Burn Latest News

Ready to Burn Latest NewsYou spoke: We Listened!

Following a recent governance meeting for the Ready to Burn initiative, it was agreed that the scheme would accredit suppliers based on a moisture content of 20% or less.

Burning dry wood on modern stoves can further significantly reduces the amount of particle emissions and improve air quality compared to burn wet wood on open fires.

Moisture Content

The Ready to Burn certification mark is available to wood log suppliers who demonstrate to Woodsure their firewood logs have a moisture content consistently below 20%.  Note: whilst less than 20% is a key requirement of the scheme the message we are promoting to consumers’ and the industry is to burn dry wood fuel, ie the message is: burn wood fuel that is dry and ‘ready to burn’. The scheme is open to firewood and briquette suppliers who we are expecting to supply ready to burn fuel.

The scheme focuses on fuel that is purchased with the intent to burn within a short period of time; including small pre-packed retail woodfuel bags, and bulk delivery bags less than 2m3. Any suppliers offering the sale of wood for seasoning should contact Woodsure to talk through our other wood schemes options.

The scheme has the support of DefraHETAS, the Stove Industry Alliance and Industry representatives, including large producers of pre-packed woodfuel have committed to a scheme that will clearly identify the wood that is ready to burn at the point of sale. Woodsure and HETAS will raise awareness for wood fuel consumers to only burn low moisture, ready to burn firewood.

Scheme requirements

The ‘Ready to Burn’ initiative is for wood log suppliers, having a distinct certification category for dry firewood logs where they are able to demonstrate through audit and point of sale moisture checks that woodfuel they sell as ‘Ready to Burn’ is:

  • Labelled as ‘Ready to Burn’
  • Is less than 20% moisture content
  • There is point of sale information, labelling and support
  • Where appropriate, retailers provide information on how to effectively store and keep the firewood in good condition

Is your firewood Ready to Burn? Contact the Woodsure team on 01684 278188 or click here to complete an enquiry form.

Find out more about Woodsure: Click here to subscribe to their quarterly newsletters.

Ready to Burn Update

Ready to Burn LogoReady to Burn Update

Following on from a successful launch during June at Hearth & Home, HETAS and Woodsure are pleased to see firewood producers signing up to the Ready to Burn initiative. We introduced the scheme in our last newsletter and intend to have suppliers registered in advance of the heating season.

The ‘Ready to Burn’ initiative is for wood log producers, having a distinct certification category for dry firewood logs where they are able to demonstrate through audit and fuel testing that woodfuel they sell as ‘Ready to Burn’ is:

  • Labelled as ‘Ready to Burn’
  • Is less than 20% moisture content

(check the manufacturers instructions for your appliance, it should have guidance on the appropriate fuel and moisture content)

  • There is point of sale information, labelling and support
  • Where appropriate provides retailers with information on how to effectively store and keep the firewood in good condition

Making this dry fuel available to consumers in a way that they can recognise it is ready to burn and differentiate it from wet wood, will significantly increase the sale of dry wood whilst at the same time educating consumers on the benefits.

The principle of the Woodsure scheme is that raw materials, the collection of trees and forestry thinning or post timber processing is legally sourced, processed to achieve size and moisture characteristics and made available to the end consumer with clear identification.

If you are interested in joining the scheme or know of a supplier you’d like to recommend the initiative to, please click here to complete the Woodsure enquiry form.