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A pair of Windhagers 99% complete

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by heaterman, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    good thread, thanks for the info Heaterman.

    Up here in the great north, of the Northeast, it costs about 120 a cord tree length.This is by the weighted cord,5,000 lb per cord. I paid 185 a cord processed and delivered. this stacked up a bit more than a cord.For me, this was the best

    IMO....pellets is the way to go.

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  2. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Horsepower bump is a definite possibility as the load is substantial during really cold weather. That's why we left the plugs in the end of the supply/return manifolds. Easy to just add another boiler down the road.
    I would really like to get my paws on a couple of the XL BioWins. They are autofeed only and have to set up to fill from a bunk or bin. The feed apparatus is integral to the boiler. No hand fill hopper choice.
    flyingcow likes this.
  3. PassionForFire&Water

    PassionForFire&Water Minister of Fire

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    From feedback we received on the 15 or 16 BioWINs that were installed as pilot projects and worked last winter it looks like on average the ash canister on the BioWIN260 is full after burning around 3 tons of pellets.
    I the time of empting the ash canister it is also recommended to clean the burn pot and air pin.
    Both can be done in less then 10 minutes.
  4. PassionForFire&Water

    PassionForFire&Water Minister of Fire

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    I had a chance to swing by a Windhager BioWIN260 earlier today and made some pictures of the inside ash bin.
    The user interface told me it consumed 0.21 short tons of pellets; that is 420 Lbs or around 10.5 bags
    The system started up around Aug 26th and is since then primarily heating the DHW

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 5, 2013
  5. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    And it takes me about 30 plus minutes to clean my gassifier. Scrub tubes, etc....but keep in mind I'm not all that fast. And i seem to recall not that much splitting and handling of pellets vs cord wood. Seems like a win win.

    this got me to thinking....best way to save money and get plenty of heat is to burn our Congressmen/politicians? Just thinking. :cool:
  6. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Probably high moisture level and very low BTU content. Not worth the effort to cut split and stack.......>>
    Frozen Canuck and flyingcow like this.
  7. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    Gee...I thought that cutting & splitting would be where most of the fun was.
  8. Dana B

    Dana B Feeling the Heat

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    Talk about lobbing a softball over the plate. I'm surprised no one's taken a swing at that one yet. I thought about it but it's best if I don't start down that road because I might not be able to stop.
    BoilerMan and flyingcow like this.
  9. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Back on topic............here's a little info update.

    The boilers are on track to use about $515 worth of pellets per month for the current load, which has pretty much been domestic hot water only. This compares with LP gas bills that averaged about $930 per month using the gas boiler for water heating only.
    Not too shabby.
    flyingcow likes this.
  10. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Exactly right. Biomass pays big dividends vs all fossil fuels provided there is local, dependable supply. Transportation costs are always a key factor. Plus, using locally supplied pellet biomass provides jobs for local families and supports the local economy, a win-win on all fronts.

    A few calculations to help me understand the operation. 400 gal of water, 3x/day, 170F: 400 x 8.34 x 225::DT::F x 3 = 2,251,800 btu/day = 93,825 btu/hr to heat the dhw. I'm assuming the water is supplied from a well at about 45F. I think the 260 is rated at 25.9 kWatt = 88,000 btuH max output, so using two boilers allows each to operate continuously at around 55-60% rated capacity (after considering radiation losses), which to me seems a pretty good sweet spot with good excess capacity if needed, and in a crunch one boiler can just about meet the need if the other is down for maintenance. Use of pellets from a hopper can be a substitute for a higher rated boiler with adequate storage, drawing from storage between boiler fuelings. For the pellet boiler the pellets are the storage.

    I understand the practical difficulties that existed with the Garn, which is an excellent boiler when used in a batch burn operation and when continuous very hot water (170F in this application) is not needed, and the difficulties that arise when the Garn is operated by a variable staff not well trained in proper fueling and maintenance. The staff issues likely would exist with any cordwood fueled boiler, but they can be overcome with proper staff training.

    I like the automated ash removal and normal cleaning with the 260's, and I agree that automating these jobs is a big plus. The Wood Gun with its ash collection system comes close to this outcome because it can be operated for quite a long period of time between the times when more complete cleaning is needed.

    This has been an interesting thread to follow. It also will be interesting to see how the 260's fair over the long term and what issues, if any, may arise after a couple of years in operation. Keep up the good work, Heaterman.
    martyinmi likes this.
  11. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

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    You lost me on this number:
    flyingcow likes this.
  12. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    A couple notes.....

    I calculated the btu load at about 1.2MM per day for the 3x per day wash cycle. There is a little heat reclaiming from the refrigeration built into his system so the incoming water temp is usually between 70-90*.
    What I did not add into that overall calc was misc hot water use around the farm and the commercial sized washing machine that runs 24/7. The farm uses cloth towels to clean the udders and 1100 x 3 =3300 towels which are the size of a large dish rag. 1 towel per cow...I think they can load about 100 in one batch so the washer is running non stop as near as I can figure. There is also a power washer in the machinery clean up area that gulps about 4gpm from the hot water storage. No way to figure that load on a gpm per day because of variable use. You can imagine though how much hot water they go through when hosing off a 6,000 gallon manure spreader........

    From what I have observed, the Windhagers run at 100% fire for about 3 hours after each wash cycle and then throttle back. We have them running at a setpoint spread of 5*. One at 170 the other at 175*. When I get a chance to stop by and take a peek at them during non-recovery periods I find them both modulating at a system temp of 175-178*. The boiler with the lower setpoint will be at 30% fire and the higher one will be running at 45% +/- a couple %. With some refinements to the system control side of things, I think we can get the pellet consumption down even more.
    It will be a positive for this particular system to be able to maintain a consistent water temp from the boilers. The "care and feeding" the Garns were receiving did not make for stable supply temps.

    I hope to get my hands on a data logger that Windhager has available and be able to track actual run time/firing rate numbers. That will be really interesting.
    Martin Westermayer from the factory is going to be traveling with us 3 days next week and this installation is one we will be visiting. We'll see what he has to say about it.

    Regarding the Garns.........I can't begin to remember how many different people we "trained" over the 4 years these units were in operation. You could see that for more than a few the "lights were on but no one was home" to put it politely....
    With proper care and feeding the Garn/cordwood combo would definitely be lower cost to fuel but the personnel just did not capable of getting to that point.
    The owner still has a 1500 heating his house, detached garage and a 36x60 machinery repair shop and loves it. He or his kids fire it personally and it does a great job with virtually no issues.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2013
  13. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    I assumed well water "in" at 45F and hot water out at 170F, delta-T = 55 +70 = 125 and my fogged head saw this at 225. Good catch. The corrected cac = 1.25MM/day at 45F "in" water. As Heaterman states, the "in" water temp is higher and the calc accordingly would be lower.
  14. PassionForFire&Water

    PassionForFire&Water Minister of Fire

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    At what cost is the LP gas factored in?
    Here in the North East it's around $2.65 per gallon in some areas
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2013
  15. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

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    Thats pretty steep!

    South Central Wisconsin $1.59 /gallon

    gg
  16. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    I hear prices from $1.75 for big users like this customers is all the way up to $2.00+. Most of the LP companies were advertising $1.85 or 1.89 for pre season buy in.
  17. Karl_northwind

    Karl_northwind Member

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    That's a slick setup. I still haven't seen one run, but I imagine I'll see plenty at the factory and training. I'll be there next week(austria), and will report back. Following this project I'm certainly seeing the upsides of automatic VS hand fired systems in commercial operations. with our dairy farms around here, I'll be making some visits.

    Cheers,
    karl
  18. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    maine lists as 2.67 for LP, this is of 10-07
  19. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

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  20. PassionForFire&Water

    PassionForFire&Water Minister of Fire

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  21. DZL_Damon

    DZL_Damon Member

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    LP is so crazy on the price difference depending on how much you use, way more of a spread than fuel oil.

    Our prices for a "cooking account" in the western downeast maine area is about $2.70/gallon, but if you have a heating account it is $2.35/gallon. My friend owns his own 1000 gallon tank and filled up this summer at $1.90/gallon. At work we filled up our 30,000 gallon tank at $1.25/gallon and if we purchased a month earlier we could have gotten $0.95!

    In contrast, when fuel oil was about $3.70 last time I purchased it, we were getting it for between $3.07 and $3.25 at work (we were burning about 2,000,000/yr). Really not that large of a price spread.

    Oddly enough, pellets in bulk offer no savings at all vs 40# bags. When we installed our pellet boiler at work (which saves us 1.2 million gallons of fuel oil a year), we were initially paying $175/ton + delivery fees that came out over $200/ton. Now we pay $195/ton + delivery fees.... I just bought the same pellets for my boiler for $210/ton in 40# bags.

    Looking at cordwood... we pay $250/cord here in my region cut/split/delivered!!! Unless you have your own woodlot, it's very hard to justify buying a new wood boiler vs a new pellet boiler.
    flyingcow likes this.
  22. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    We find the same to be true here. There is no cost advantage purchasing bulk pellets vs bagged. A homeowner can drive up to one of the local mills here and have them load 1 ton on their truck for $165. That is the same price they'll deliver 10 Tons directly to an end user.
  23. thecontrolguy

    thecontrolguy Member

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    I was looking into pelletizing the ash from the wood heater (mine presently an old RSF 100) to spread on my hay fields. Some manufacturers actually make small pelletizers specifically for this purpose. If bound with a small amount of water, the pellets should hold up to slinging with a broadcast spreader. Ash pellets break down slowly releasing minerals onto the ground. You might consider the free minerals as a reclaimed part of your expenses for the pellet supply. Around here, LARGE amounts of ash are considered heavy-metal laden waste !!! needing permitting for land application. You might look into that too. No permits for me. Anyway, there has been heaps of research into this in the Northern European countries who are applying the ash from community heating plants via many methods. Good luck with all that ash.
  24. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    I think this is generalizing a little too much. Assumptions are that pellets are available at a particular cost, as in your example at about $200/ton, and cord wood c/s/d at $250/ton. Where I live there are no nearby pellet plants, transportation costs are significant, and cord wood c/s/d and 1 year seasoned before delivery is about $185/cord. At these prices pellets at assumed equalized moisture content when burned of 8% have about 7800 btu/lb and wood at 20% moisture content has 6050 btu/lb. If available, pellets at $200/ton = $0.10/lb, and red oak at $185/cord = $0.05/lb. On a btu basis, red oak provides the same btu's at a cost of $0.065/lb as pellets, which results in pellets costing about 50% more than cord wood for the same btu's. In both cases labor costs would have to be included in fuel handling, which would affect the result.

    But I think other costs also need to be included. For example, it takes a lot of energy with resulting CO2 to process and deliver pellets vs cord wood; it also takes time and land space to season cord wood, but the energy is provided cost-free by the sun and wind and CO2 is near 0. Handling costs would depend on local wage rates.

    And then for someone like me, my physical exercise comes from working outside, which includes the tree felling, cutting, splitting, stacking, etc. I am healthier and I have no fitness club cost, for example. These benefits are substantial and if possible to measure in $$$, the equation tips much more strongly in favor of cord wood.

    My only point is that each situation is different, additional costs need to be included, and a generalization doesn't fit very well.
    Downeast Farmer, martyinmi and maple1 like this.
  25. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Just cleaned these. 912 hours of actual runtime on the right hand unit. 887 on the one on the left.

    The burner door had not been opened since startup. I was pretty much amazed at the condition of the boilers and how little ash there was.

    The total pellet use between the two units was 4.92 tons and I removed approximately 15 pounds of ash. Flue temps at 100% output were still running below 240* before cleaning and they dropped down to about 225* afterwards.
    stayfitz and JP11 like this.

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