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Is storage a "must" with a gasifier?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by bigbear, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    I'd say you are correct on both statements.

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  2. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I'd agree with that - goes to the 'firing cushion' thing I mentioned in my first reply.
  3. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    I recall a conversation with a person at Econoburn in which he told me the majority of their boilers were installed without storage a few years ago. Now the trend is the other way with nearly all of them being installed with some amount of storage.

    That should tell you something.........

    When I look at whats coming down the turnpike in the industry concerning regulations, I think that we will see some kind of mandate from EPA that all cordwood boilers must be sold with storage. On/off cycles are dirty. Period. It may be 3-5 years out yet........... Guessing that the recommended amount will be dictated by the btu output of the boiler being installed. (of course, that would make sense and we are talking about EPA here so draw your own conclusions)
    Storage is nearly universal in Europe where they have been doing this a lot longer than we have.
  4. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    The fact that you can go vertical with 1000 gallons will definitely help out your stratification in the tank. Before you spray it, think about how you might want to monitor the temperatures on the tank so you can get your probes right up against the metal. I find its amazingly helpful to know what the top, middle, and bottom of storage temps are.
  5. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I would think they would regulate boiler emissions tighter first before going the big jump to regulating required storage? That's a pretty significant upping of requirements for a lot of people & installations.

    Or do you mean they would regulate required storage but still allow 'dirty' boilers but they be tied to the required storage?
  6. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    Not sure where in PA you are, but you may be close not only to AHS, but also AHONA and Smokeless Heat. Just in case you dont see what you were hoping for at the home show. For a few more miles, you could head up to check out Econoburn also.
  7. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    My guess would be that they would use language that isnt clear and is vague enough to not really solve the problem. Like "All newly installed solid fuel boilers shall be installed with a means to prevent excessive cycling of the burn process." Or "boilers shall be connected to a suitable thermal storage battery to minimize the amount of time spent outside the ideal combustion zone".

    Something goofy that means different things to different people.

    But here in NY they already made it illegal to have a conventional outdoor boiler, and you now need one that is EPA white tag certified. It wouldnt surprise me if eventually they try to move to regulate indoor boilers and woodstoves also. If people would just be good neighbors and not smoke everyone out, these problems wouldnt happen. (IMO)
  8. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

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    i think i would like at least three sensor and i am open to suggestions of what products to use to moniter temps. I have not looked into this yet. I suspect there are options for probes into the tank as well as sensors affixed to the outside of tank.
  9. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    There are some good threads about monitoring storage temps, and I stole my setup from others on here. I used temperature sensors off of eBay, and they are just strapped to my tanks in three locations with heavy duty HVAC tape and thermal grease. Depending on what the tank has for openings, you may be able to use temperature wells, which is what I would do if they were already in place.

    My sensors were from Sure Electronics. Not too happy that they were straight from China, but for the cost and their performance so far, I really cant complain.
  10. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Thermal grease - I think I need some of that for my sidearm thermostat I've got rigged up (a flat thermostat on a 3/4 round valve body doesn't seem to be working the best). Here comes another search...
  11. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    Radio shack or a computer store should have it. Its the stuff designed for getting heat transfer between microchips and heat sinks.

    Not sure if that would work out well for your situation or not Maple.... But it probably couldnt hurt. Im not sure if there is some conductive silly putty that you could stick in there that would help or not...
  12. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Well the deal is that the agencies involved in testing are finding out that storage and emissions are very much connected. The ability to reduce the number of on/off cycles for a given batch of fuel is being shown to have a marked effect on emissions. Fewer on/off cycles = fewer emissions.

    It's the reason the Garns meet and beat the current emission level so easily. Plain and simple. No "magic" needed.
  13. Vermontphil

    Vermontphil New Member

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    Storage with a gasifier. Perfect time to ask me this question. After 4 years of owning an econoburn and never getting it to heat just right. I have begun to build a 1,600 gal storage tank. The big problem I have found is that the gasification loves to burn hot. But you also need to be able to take the heat off quickly then. A large storage allows it do to what it wants burn hot and give of heat. I think radiant heat which I have also does not allow for a rapid transfer of heat to keep up with the boiler. So it is basically an issue where if you just need to maintain temps-my boiler doesn't like to idle and wants to over-heat. I am planning on 4 60 foot 1/2 inch coils to do the heat exchange in the tank feeding off an 1 1/2" pipe. Got to check the math on that. But either way I am a firm believe in the need for storage with gasification
  14. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    I had my wood boiler for 10 years without storage (its not a gasifer but its the same principal). I burned far more oil as the most boilers are desgined to burn full out, that is the only way to be efficient. If you dont need the heat, they inevitably shut off the draft and at some point go into "smoke dragon" mode. Once I put in storage, I basically stopped buying oil as I would run the boiler every coupel fo day in shoulder season and then slowly ramp up to once per day.

    American Solartechnics sells modular tanks that can be sized for odd spaces and can be brought in through anywhere you can walk to.
  15. CTFIRE

    CTFIRE Member

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    I have 8 or 9 weeks experience with my Woodgun, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I don't have storage and still struggle with the need for it. I agree that there were a couple warm days in December early on when there wasn't enough demand and the fire would go out. My new problem is running it full on without the low temp shutoff. Have burn through entire nights load a couple times. I am continuing to read up on the storage vs non storage and figure I can decide later on. I can't say enough good things about the Woodgun. I am shocked at how little ash there is to clean up. Very efficient. We are heating 3000 sf with the e180. Haven't hooked up the oil back up yet. My wife laughs every time she sees an oil truck drive by the house
  16. McKraut

    McKraut Member

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    Bigbear,

    I've burned for over 18 years without storage. When I first got the boiler there was little mention of storage so I never considered it. My Tarm has only had a few days when it had trouble keeping the house and DHW comfortable. My house is a very old farmhouse with little insulation and a lot of drafts. I usually heat 4 floors (including the basement and sometimes the attic) depending upon how many kids are home. I burn anywhere from 3 & 1/2 cords (last year) to as many as 7 cords (usually around 5 cords a year of red oak).
    I have never had a problem with creosote formation, never had any noticeable deterioration of the firebox, and never had any serious problems with the boiler. It has worked very hard and I have gotten more then my money's worth from it. I am in the process of putting in a EKO Biomass in a woodshed, and I can't afford the storage this year or probably next year. After reading the posts on this forum, I decided that I would go with storage. The people that know what they're talking about recommend using storage.
    I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can do it without storage, but you would be better off with it. Best of luck to you.

    Bob

    Where are you located in PA? I'm in Fulton County.
  17. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

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    Bob please share with us how often you are tending fires.
  18. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I think people need to clarify "tending" a fire. I spend 6 mins in front of my boiler/day. That is 3 mins in the morning and 3 mins in the evening. No storage.

    From what I read from the storage guys, they need 1 fire/day and sometimes 2. Is that 1 fire = 1 LOAD? In other words, throw in wood and what you know will start and walk away? Or is that start a fire in the evening and reload it until storage is up to temp?

    ac
  19. bmblank

    bmblank Minister of Fire

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    With mine,i make a fire and load it up. Then i load it up every 3 our so hours, give or take depending on my schedule, until the storage is 180 or so. Then i forget about it until the storage is down to 110-120 or so, again, depending on schedule, usually a couple days in the winter, hopefully allot longer in the summer.
  20. gimmegas

    gimmegas New Member

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    OK. Since we are talking about storage here, I was wondering how much volume does a 1000 gal tank take up, and what are the advantages of 1000 gal vs. say, 500 gal? I know it seems intuitive but does 1000 gal. hold temp that much better than 500 gal. tank? Seems like more water will take more wood to heat, but if it's well insulated then... Will the 1000 gal storage save me from stoking more wood? I haven't purchased a boiler yet but will likely get one this year and I am building new. I plan to use radiant heat for about 2400 sq ft and baseboard for 600 and also use it for DHW if I can. Just wondering if the extra cash for a 1000 gal tank is that much more economical that a 500 gal tank?? Also, where can I find a 1000 gal storage tank and how would I get it in my basement? Do I have to build my house around it??? Will I have to consider a thicker cement slab to support it??? At 8.33 lb/ gal x 1000, seems like a lot. Anyone want to tackle this?
  21. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

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    It doesn't hold temp better but 1000 gallong contains twice as many btus as 500 gallons. Yes more wood for given delta t but can go longer between fires, prob almost twice as long. I am having some trouble locating a tank that big but i dont think they are much more money than 500 gal. Now moving a 1000 is also probably twice as more interesting than 500.
  22. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Bigger tank = longer between fires. Think of them like a battery - bigger ones crank out juice for longer but take longer to charge up. Getting tanks in your basement depends on how your basement is for getting big things into. You could also put multiple smaller tanks in and just plumb them all together and build a simple insulated box around them to keep the heat in. My 330 gallon tanks are 30"x9ft. 500's are 36"x9.5ft. 110's are 30"x4ft., 1000's are 40"x15ft. (roughly). The 330's roll around pretty easy even though being pretty heavy - with the help of some friends you could likely cobble up some timber ramps & roll one up on top of another to stack them. My stacked 330s are just sitting on my ordinary slab - I did put some plywood under the timbers they're sitting on.

    If you can get storage into your basement, it's not as critical to get them super insulated - any heat loss will be into the building envelope so will go towards heating the house. My tanks are keeping my other-wise unheated basement warm right now, I cracked one end of my enclosure open since it was getting chilly down there. But you'd want to get them pretty well insulated for DHW in the summer if being used for that.
    gimmegas likes this.
  23. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    How many times would you load it up to get to 180? 1 reload? 2?

    ac
  24. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

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    another consideration is you have a big volume of storage (i remember reading somewhere that it was suggested to have at least 2-3 gallons of storage per 10sqft of heated area. you far surpass this.) and are heating with radiant which is effective at low water temps, which is great. i would think anybody with radiators or forced hot air would not be able to effectively heat with temps down to 110*. might be more like 140-150? is there anybody with some other than radiant that worked fine with fossil fuel furnace that is now having trouble supplying BTUs to heat home when below a certain supply temp?
  25. I have baseboard heaters and a few kick space units. I can heat my house when it's 0 out with storage down to 120. Oil will kick on at 118.

    When it was 10 below 0 one of my zones lost 3 degrees from the setpoint with storage at 125. Though that zone never had enough oomph even with the oil running to heat the room fast.
    Defiantly want to leave the tstats alone and not have night time setbacks with water temps that low. Otherwise it takes forever to raise the temp 5 degrees. I leave everything set a 68 now.

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