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Supply chain - Getting woodfuel to your biomass heating system

Matching your woodfuel delivery vehicle with your fuel type, the size of delivery required and your fuel store are vital to the successful operation of your heating system.

You will want to minimise your number of deliveries while balancing this with the area available for and the costs associated with building your fuel store.

How you transport your woodfuel to your biomass heating system will vary significantly depending on the size and fuel requirements of your biomass heating system and the fuel you are using.

Log pile for a wood burning stove.Logs may just be transported by car, by individuals, or in a small van or truck if supplying to multiple sites or customers. At the other end of the scale, large scale district heating systems running on woodchip may use articulated lorries to transport the amount of fuel required on a regular basis by larger systems.

If you are producing your own woodfuel, you should include the transport costs (vehicle and fuel) in your business plan. If you are buying woodfuel from a supplier, the quoted costs will include delivery.

Transporting your woodfuel to your woodfuel heating system

Transporting your fuel to your biomass system may seem straightforward but it is important to ensure that you choose the right delivery method for the system you have in place. Just as woodfuel is varied in character, so too are delivery options, including size of trucks, and methods for getting the woodfuel into the fuel store. There are some key considerations you will need to think about when deciding how to get your woodfuel to your heating system:

Equipment required

Do you need trucks with multi-functionality or just a tractor with trailor (for logs). Types of vehicles and applications need to be considered when designing your heating system (e.g. for chip – tipped or blown deliveries are both options).


Make sure your delivery vehicle is large enough to deliver adequate volumes of woodfuel to your heating system.

The Carbon Trust’s Biomass Heating - Practical guide for potential users 

Information on the variety of timber delivery vehicles that can be used.

Delivery vehicles and woodstores

Match them up to avoid problems with deliveries making sure that your vehicle can access the fuel store to deliver the fuel.

If you are intending to deliver logs, bagging them will help with calculating costs per unit (e.g. a bag) and transporting your product to multiple customers.

Receiving your woodfuel delivery

In the case of woodchip or pellet deliveries, when planning your woodfuel deliveries, you should consider:

    • whether someone need to be available to coordinate/witness/sign for the delivery


    • what checks need to be completed as part of the delivery (e.g. woodfuel moisture content check, quality control check)


    • whether a clear access route will be required by the delivery vehicle (is there a risk of parked cars or anything else blocking the way?)


    • what time of day is best for deliveries (e.g. if in busy area, you might want to avoid rush hour)


    • that the area around the fuel store (particularly external fuel stores) should be kept clean to avoid contamination of fuel during delivery


  • that if you are intending to supply under the RHI, or you are supplying someone who is, has sufficient paperwork been provided?  Is the sustainability information adequately passing down the supply chain?  There may be other processes and systems that need to be in place for receiving woodfuel for use under RHI, including setting up a mass balance system. 

Woodfuel Guidance for more information.

Last updated: 29th August 2016
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This web section is provided in partnership with DECC.