1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Bought a wood chipper - burning green chips

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Nofossil, Apr 7, 2013.

  1. BoilerBob

    BoilerBob Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    96
    Loc:
    SW Nova
    NoFo, you must have heard the rumor also!!

    Residential size wood chip boiler (Imported), will be on display at the NE Forest Expo in Bangor Me. May 17,18

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Messages:
    1,658
    Loc:
    WI, Milw
    There have been several commercial chip burning units installed overseas, none have worked out so far. To be fair what they call chips are small compressed pucks. Supply issues and cost have been the down fall on most. A fairly high rate of maintenance has not helped either as well as the requirement of two firemen in attendance at all times( what they call a person with a boiler lic.)
  3. scooby074

    scooby074 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Messages:
    393
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    What?

    There are all kinds of chip boilers out there, without stationary engineers running them. The video of the place in Scotland that I posted earlier for example.
  4. That's a nice looking setup but can you explain exactly what we are looking at? The Heizomat is the red one? And it has an auto feed system? What is the black box on the right -- it looks like it has an auger of some sort?

    Anyone wanting to try wood chips in their boiler should call a few tree companies. I get all the chips I want dropped off for free. I use them as mulch. And have tried throwing some in the boiler occasionally but for most of the winter they are in a frozen pile since I have no way to store/dry them.
  5. scooby074

    scooby074 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Messages:
    393
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    Red thing is the boiler. Heizomat.
    Chips on the LH side in the bunker are the feed.
    Black box and auger are for ash removal.

    At least that is what it looks like to me.
  6. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    6,527
    Loc:
    Philadelphia
    What make and model? Inquiring minds, and all...
  7. Woodsrover

    Woodsrover Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2012
    Messages:
    111
    Loc:
    Northwest Connecticut
    I'd like to know too. I bought a Salsco 824 years ago. I love it.
  8. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,525
    Loc:
    Arrow Bridge,NY
    My dad burns some chips in his OWB. I have a wood dump that tree trimmers use. They bring mixed loads of wood/chips to get rid of and I use a grapple on a loader to sort out the wood. Some times the chips don't all drop out the bottom of the grapple and are mixed with the wood when it is dumped into storage bin. When theres enough chips at the front of the bin for a load he lays in a few layers of slabwoob crisscrossing the slabs and then shovels in chips/bark etc on top. Works well and lots of heat. These chips are pretty dry as the bin gets loaded through the spring and summer with plenty of time to dry. Green chips may not work as well.
  9. PassionForFire&Water

    PassionForFire&Water Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    589
    Loc:
    Billerica, MA
    Guys, I don't want to hijack this posting.

    I will create a new posting just on the Heizomat wood chip boilers, with a link to a you tube video that explains all operational aspects.
  10. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    6,527
    Loc:
    Philadelphia
    Sounds good, but my question had nothing to do with Heizomat wood chip boilers. I wanted to know what brand and model chipper the OP bought.
  11. S.Whiplash

    S.Whiplash Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    Messages:
    22
    I looked in great detail at the Portage and Main chip burner and the Bio-Burner 100 and I went with the Bio-Burner. It's like comparing a Maserati to a Yugo. The P+M unit looked like a weekend reno. job strapped to their OWB and I guess that's what it is. The Bio-Burner is designed specifically to burn anything from powdered sawdust right up to wood chips, includes grain, corn, shavings and about anything else that is dry enough and can be ground down to size. The controls are quite sophisticated and are adjustable to the different fuels and moisture content. I am very pleased with my unit. I think Fuel Farmer has posted some threads about the bigger version of the Bio-Burner on this site.

    One thing about waste biomass is no need to make your own as there's lot's of it out there and for the most part it's FREE for the taking. I get a combo of shavings and sawdust from a local wood window and door factory. Just look for any industry that has a big dust vacuum silo attached to a building and you'll find dry biomass. Another good supplier is feedmills if you can get their waste feed before it gets rained on they're happy you spared them the expense of hauling it to the landfill.

    I'll try and post some pictures of my setup later if I can figure out how to do that.
  12. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    Messages:
    3,422
    Loc:
    Addison County, Vermont
    It's an 8" hydraulic feed model sold by WoodMax. It's a Chinese model that they upgrade a bit. I don't ever need to chip anything anywhere near 8", but the larger opening and hydraulic feed means it can inhale all sorts of twisty branches (and our Christmas tree).
  13. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Messages:
    1,719
    Loc:
    Northern NH
    When DIck Hill was building his gasifier at University of Maine, Norm Smith from the ag engineering department was building a wood chip boiler. It worked fine but the density of the chips made storage a major issue. Not many folks wanted a silo next to their building. The reason why pellet boilers are somewhat successful is the BTU content of the pellets is much higher per cubic foot than chips. Uniformity of the chips helps. Unfortunately many folks think of chips as uniform square pieces of wood, the reality is that the low grade forest residual chips are mostly chopoed and shredded twigs mixed with irregular chunks. Many of the school chip boilers in VT were designed for the nice uniform chips (referred to as bole tree chips) or sawmil residual chips and when thsoe supplies eithe ran out of got too expensive, they switched to forest residual chips and the boilers ended up requiring constant tending due to the chip clogs. BERC in vermont has some excellent free studies that cover wood chip heating http://www.biomasscenter.org/resources/publications.html
  14. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,239
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    lots of bark in chips. do we fill our boilers with bark on purpose? same idea. Not saying there's not energy there. But, much like the 1" limbs on the stuff you're felling.. You cutting and stacking up the little stuff? No. The labor isn't worth the output.

    Now... you're heating hundreds of thousands of square feet... chips get appealing.

    My B.I.L. installed and maintains a HUGE boiler for his job. Live floor for the loading of the boiler was into the MILLIONS of dollars, just for the floor. Works for them.

    Most of us only WISH we were full time boiler tenders. We need to balance equipment needs with storage space and tending time. I don't think chips is it for the heat output most of us need. Now... a farmer with many buildings and need for huge amounts of DHW.... guy's around the farm already.. May work for them

    JP
  15. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    Messages:
    3,422
    Loc:
    Addison County, Vermont
    If I had an outside boiler room/shed with a chip bin that I could load from outside with the tractor and unload from inside with a shovel, I'd probably do it. As it is, i might burn the occasional bucket for fun.
  16. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    4,511
    Loc:
    Northern MN
    I suppose I burn some chips without ever thinking about it. All the scraps after splitting, bark, etc., I gather up and spread out on the concrete floor for a couple of days. They dry fast, then I throw them into a container. When I burn and as a wood load burns down, I throw a shovel full or so on top from time to time until all the scraps are burned up. Burn hot and fast. Goal has been to clean-up and eliminate waste, not thinking that I'm burning chips.
  17. Mushroom Man

    Mushroom Man Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2008
    Messages:
    183
    Loc:
    Eastern Ontario
    With storage burning hot and fast does not (at first look) present a problem.In fact it is precisely what we want.

    However maintaining a bed of coals to facilitate that is difficult. The chips themselves burn very completely into ash but then you have to start all over and create a bed of coals. Nofossil mentioned lava rocks here. I read someone suggesting that years ago. So, a few years back, I got some and tried that technique, as I said earlier in this thread.

    The lava rocks fell through the nozzles so I tried a few other things. First I got some barbeque grate and placed the lava rocks over the nozzles. I don't think that I accomplished gasification. The ash collected around the lava rocks/ grate and effectively blocked air from entering the secondary chamber.

    In a second attempt with lava rocks, I draped chain down into the nozzles, added lava rocks, and burned biomass (straw) above. Again the ash blocked the air to the secondary.

    In retrospect, I should have been careful to create a great coal bed above the lava rocks to ensure that the lava rocks got as hot as possible and then added biomass. My theory being that If the lava rocks stayed really really HOT, the process might be sustained by just keeping the biomass gases coming and the need to recreate a hot coal bed continually could be eliminated as the lava rocks would effectively become the coal bed.

    Being stubborn, I am willing to try again to accomplish finding an effective means of maintaining a coal bed (even if it is artificial) while burning chips or straw. The payoff would be more BTUs from the same tree OR more BTUs from my waste substrate.

    My friend, a smart fella with lots of engineering knowledge and experience, says it doesn't work because the lava rocks don't burn; they just absorb the heat from the materials burning above (in this case) and spread it evenly where they are collected. I contend that the gasification occurs when the gases pass through the hot coals (or lava rocks) whether they are burning or not provided the heat is sufficient to ignite the gases.

    I remember seeing a Youtube video once where sawdust was burning in a gasifier with no visible flame in the primary chamber but the secondary was gasing like no tomorrow. I wish I knew how they ignited those gases as they entered the secondary

    I would appreciate hearing experiences of others who have tried lava rocks with chips or other biomass.

Share This Page