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  • FIRST POST
    wuthton
    Biomass (Wood Chip) Boilers
    • #1
    • 1st Mar 12, 1:11 PM
    Biomass (Wood Chip) Boilers 1st Mar 12 at 1:11 PM
    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.
Page 1
    • peat
    • By peat 1st Mar 12, 2:15 PM
    • 456 Posts
    • 94 Thanks
    peat
    • #2
    • 1st Mar 12, 2:15 PM
    • #2
    • 1st Mar 12, 2:15 PM
    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.
  • wuthton
    • #3
    • 1st Mar 12, 3:08 PM
    • #3
    • 1st Mar 12, 3:08 PM
    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.
    Originally posted by peat
    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.
  • bernithebiker
    • #4
    • 2nd Mar 12, 8:20 AM
    • #4
    • 2nd Mar 12, 8:20 AM
    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.
    • peat
    • By peat 2nd Mar 12, 8:48 AM
    • 456 Posts
    • 94 Thanks
    peat
    • #5
    • 2nd Mar 12, 8:48 AM
    • #5
    • 2nd Mar 12, 8:48 AM
    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
  • wuthton
    • #6
    • 2nd Mar 12, 10:31 AM
    • #6
    • 2nd Mar 12, 10:31 AM
    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.
    Originally posted by bernithebiker
    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.
  • wuthton
    • #7
    • 2nd Mar 12, 10:34 AM
    • #7
    • 2nd Mar 12, 10:34 AM
    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
    Originally posted by peat
    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.
  • bernithebiker
    • #8
    • 2nd Mar 12, 12:40 PM
    • #8
    • 2nd Mar 12, 12:40 PM
    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.
    Originally posted by wuthton
    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.
    • Greenfires
    • By Greenfires 10th Mar 12, 4:34 AM
    • 582 Posts
    • 506 Thanks
    Greenfires
    • #9
    • 10th Mar 12, 4:34 AM
    • #9
    • 10th Mar 12, 4:34 AM
    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!
  • wuthton
    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!
    Originally posted by Greenfires
    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.
  • wuthton
    Would installing a boiler by yourself effect your insurance? I'm sure they would want it professionally installed.
    Originally posted by pcrosland
    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.
    • Swipe
    • By Swipe 10th Mar 12, 4:25 PM
    • 2,086 Posts
    • 1,122 Thanks
    Swipe
    I take it you'd need a large store to store the wood chips?
  • tee-bee
    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
  • Canucklehead
    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.
    Originally posted by wuthton
    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.

    Canucklehead
    Ask to see CIPHE (Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering)
  • Canucklehead
    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
    Originally posted by tee-bee
    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?

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