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Biomass (Wood Chip) Boilers
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# 1
wuthton
Old 01-03-2012, 1:11 PM
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Default Biomass (Wood Chip) Boilers

Does anyone on here have any first hand experience of biomass boilers, particularly those fired by wood chip?

I am seriously considering a DIY install of a wood chip boiler in the coming months and would love to hear any tips or experiences. I was holding out for the RHI but as we are on mains gas it is looking highly unlikely I'll qualify.

I am particularly interested in wood chip as I grow trees and forestry for a living and could produce 30 cubic metres of seasoned wood chip a year without breaking a sweat.

Space for the boiler and wood store is not a problem, one of the current boilers is housed in a 12x5m outbuilding which has good access.
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# 2
peat
Old 01-03-2012, 2:15 PM
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Woodchip boilers don't generally come smaller than about 30kw which is bigger than your average property would require. Such a boiler is likely to consume annually 100 m3 of chip at 30%mc or less.
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# 3
wuthton
Old 01-03-2012, 3:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peat View Post
Woodchip boilers don't generally come smaller than about 30kw which is bigger than your average property would require. Such a boiler is likely to consume annually 100 m3 of chip at 30%mc or less.
30-40kw is about what I was thinking, my property is a 350 m2 bungalow which was originally farm buildings. It is extremely energy inefficient as it is built in a square around a courtyard so maximising the amount of outside wall.

100 m3/pa of wood chip though, are you sure? That's a vast quantity, it equates to nearly 10,000 litres of fuel oil.

Edit: It also equates to about 40 tons of logs.

Last edited by wuthton; 01-03-2012 at 3:54 PM.
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# 4
bernithebiker
Old 02-03-2012, 8:20 AM
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We have a 44kW Guntamatic log boiler with 2000 litres of buffer tank. 3rd year now, it has been excellent. We too have access to lots of free trees, we live in 38 acres. I considered a woodchip boiler as there is less work in feeding it of course, but you need to have a pretty serious bit of chipping kit. I only have a 24hp petrol chipper, which is fine for general garden work, but too small to produce large volumes of chips. I would say you'd need at least 40hp, preferably diesel, and a good make, as they have huge forces thrust upon them.
A chateau near us uses a woodchip boiler and he makes the chips himself, but just the chipping kit (tractor, chipping attachment) is about 80k worth.
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# 5
peat
Old 02-03-2012, 8:48 AM
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100 cubic metres (sitka spruce) at 30%mc is about 20 tonnes and can produce around 60,000 kWh of heat
or the equivalent of 6000 litres of oil
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# 6
wuthton
Old 02-03-2012, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bernithebiker View Post
We have a 44kW Guntamatic log boiler with 2000 litres of buffer tank. 3rd year now, it has been excellent. We too have access to lots of free trees, we live in 38 acres. I considered a woodchip boiler as there is less work in feeding it of course, but you need to have a pretty serious bit of chipping kit. I only have a 24hp petrol chipper, which is fine for general garden work, but too small to produce large volumes of chips. I would say you'd need at least 40hp, preferably diesel, and a good make, as they have huge forces thrust upon them.
A chateau near us uses a woodchip boiler and he makes the chips himself, but just the chipping kit (tractor, chipping attachment) is about 80k worth.
Many thanks for your imput, I already have a Schliesing chipper which would just about chip a telegraph pole if I wanted.

Could I ask what your average consumption of logs is? Your system does sound to be a bit larger than what I'm thinking of.

Last edited by wuthton; 02-03-2012 at 10:41 AM.
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# 7
wuthton
Old 02-03-2012, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peat View Post
100 cubic metres (sitka spruce) at 30%mc is about 20 tonnes and can produce around 60,000 kWh of heat
or the equivalent of 6000 litres of oil
I'll mainly be using Alder, Rowan, Birch and Wild Cherry, which I believe chip down to about 2.5m3/ton when dry.

Last edited by wuthton; 02-03-2012 at 10:42 AM.
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# 8
bernithebiker
Old 02-03-2012, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wuthton View Post
Many thanks for your imput, I already have a Schliesing chipper which would just about chip a telegraph pole if I wanted.

Could I ask what your average consumption of logs is? Your system does sound to be a bit larger than what I'm thinking of.
We heat a 600m2 chateau, so the log boiler is going most of the time when it's cold.

That means a small trailer of logs every 2 days, which would mean about a cord per week. (3m3 ish).

In off season (Oct, Nov, Mar, Apr) probably about 1/2 that.

It's nearly all laurel (cherry type) not sure if that's what you call wild cherry. It is excellent firewood, bettered only by beech and oak, but oak is only better if not too big and mixed with other softer woods, as it can be hard to light.
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# 9
Greenfires
Old 10-03-2012, 4:34 AM
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Most of the schemes whereby you receive a payment from the gummint require that a registered installer is used, to install approved equipment. Registered installers and equipment suppliers have to pay to be on the list, and get the money back from the jobs they do for the scheme - ie - you!
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# 10
wuthton
Old 10-03-2012, 3:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Greenfires View Post
Most of the schemes whereby you receive a payment from the gummint require that a registered installer is used, to install approved equipment. Registered installers and equipment suppliers have to pay to be on the list, and get the money back from the jobs they do for the scheme - ie - you!
Many thanks for your imput but as we are on mains gas it is looking highly unlikely I'll qualify for the RHI so there is no incentive to use an MCS installer.
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# 11
wuthton
Old 10-03-2012, 3:30 PM
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Originally Posted by pcrosland View Post
Would installing a boiler by yourself effect your insurance? I'm sure they would want it professionally installed.
It's a fair point that I have considered. There is no legal obligatioan to use a professional installer unlike gas, but definitely a grey area regarding insurance. As there is no danger to the house in event of a fire I'm willing to chance it.
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# 12
Swipe
Old 10-03-2012, 4:25 PM
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I take it you'd need a large store to store the wood chips?
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# 13
tee-bee
Old 10-03-2012, 5:12 PM
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Default Bio-mass boiler - 3 bedroom semi-D

Hi all,

As we do not have access to natural gas, the only alternative for us is either bio-mass or ASHP. We are currently using LPG bottled gas.

We've been given a ball park figure of GBP10K for bio-mass installation or around GBP 8K++ for ASHP.

Our property is a double storey 3/4 bedroom and we have a wood burning stove & 3kw Solar PV install.

We quite like the ideal of going bio-mass.

Our query is, how many tonnes of wood pellet would one expect to consume annually? The number can vary based on one's need for heating.. but on a ballpark figure? There's just the 2 of us.. but we'll be looking to have a family soon.. so the heating will be on mostly during the winter.

Thanks
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# 14
Canucklehead
Old 10-03-2012, 5:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wuthton View Post
Many thanks for your imput but as we are on mains gas it is looking highly unlikely I'll qualify for the RHI so there is no incentive to use an MCS installer.
Hi: the Renewable Heat Premium Payment is restricted to those properties not on mains gas but the originally proposed Renewable Heat Incentive was to be made available for conversion to biomass for properties currently on mains gas. The ConDems are dragging their heels on this one as an announcement should have been made 'early in the New Year'. Tbh, the current situation is clear as mud and installers (especially those who had to fork out to get MCS) are fuming....lets see what Georgie's budget brings.

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# 15
Canucklehead
Old 10-03-2012, 6:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tee-bee View Post
Hi all,

As we do not have access to natural gas, the only alternative for us is either bio-mass or ASHP. We are currently using LPG bottled gas.

We've been given a ball park figure of GBP10K for bio-mass installation or around GBP 8K++ for ASHP.

Our property is a double storey 3/4 bedroom and we have a wood burning stove & 3kw Solar PV install.

We quite like the ideal of going bio-mass.

Our query is, how many tonnes of wood pellet would one expect to consume annually? The number can vary based on one's need for heating.. but on a ballpark figure? There's just the 2 of us.. but we'll be looking to have a family soon.. so the heating will be on mostly during the winter.

Thanks
Hi: handy biomass wizard here but a HETAS biomass installer would be able to give the correct spec. after conducting a site survey. Which biomass wood pellet boiler has the ballpark figure been based on?

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Ask to see CIPHE (Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering)
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