The Theory

As part of the Government’s Clean Air Strategy, awareness of everyday activities contributing to air pollution is essential. The aim is to minimise human exposure to air pollution and continue the fight to save our natural environment. Using ‘smokeless fuel’ in your home will help you reach these aims.

Chemicals such as sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide are emitted by open fires, wood-burning stoves and other forms of heating that rely on firewood and coal. When heating the home in this way, it is essential to ensure: a) your appliance and chimney are efficient and sealed adequately; and b) you are using the best and safest fuel for the job, such as ‘smokeless fuel’.

Firewood should be as dry as possible when burned. (See our tips for wood storage to help support the process of drying and maintaining low moisture content in your firewood). The government have appointed Woodsure to assess companies selling firewood for Ready To Burn status. All companies selling domestic loads of firewood (under 2m3) aim to provide a product that is ready to burn at a moisture level of 20% or less. Dry, hardwood firewood is the best for a cleaner, slower burn, which will emit less smoke.

The other primary fuel traditionally burned in home fires/burners is house coal. It is the substitute for this we now call ‘smokeless fuel’.

The Product

Smokeless fuel has taken the place of coal in many homes and is a must for clean air zones. It resembles coal but often with a more uniform shape. It is usually formed of naturally occurring anthracite ground to a powder and reformed into briquettes using binding agents, such as starch or molasses. Newburn and Burnwell are both examples of this – they are formed in an ovoid shape that encourages easy lighting, good airflow and strong heat output. They are both HETAS approved, meaning they are tested and approved to be within specific parameters to be considered a cleaner and safer fuel choice.

These products are labelled ‘smokeless’ because of their cleaner burn – they emit very little or no visible smoke during combustion. They also benefit from having a higher carbon content, resulting in less ash to clear up afterwards. Smokeless fuels tend to release 20% less carbon dioxide than regular house coals. They also burn hotter for up to 40% longer, which means your fuel stock should go much further. The lower emissions mean they are better for your health and for your chimney lining and, of course, are more environmentally friendly than higher emission fuels, like house coal.

These fuels are suitable for use in multi-fuel stoves or open fires. They have a moisture content of just 7% and only a 3% ash residue. The briquettes are roughly 2.5 inches in size and oval-shaped. It is a recommended, high-quality product. To burn, it is advised to start with a clean grate so as not to block the airflow, start your fire with kindling and firelighters (newspaper and egg boxes also work well), and add your dry hardwood firewood and then add the ovoids when your fire is hot. You can use smokeless fuel independently of firewood, too – it may burn hot but continues to burn slowly for long periods, so it is great for keeping the temperature up in your home or for food cooking purposes.

The Action Points

TTSR Ltd can deliver smokeless fuel to your address in Norfolk. We sell this in sacks, which we can empty into your bunker for you or leave stacked in the sacks. Please do get in contact if you would like to discuss this product further or to place an order:

If you do not yet have a suitable set-up for using this kind of fuel, we recommend contacting Norfolk Woodburners, who can give you advice on the best type of burner/stove/fireplace/heater for your needs: