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New Venture That Could Make Pellets Hard To Find In Maine This Year

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by BrotherBart, Jun 17, 2008.

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  1. Thomask9590

    Thomask9590 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Messages:
    123
    Loc:
    Portland, ME
    My Father called these guys for a quote and some more heating details and they were very...VERY.....uninformed. He spoke to some young person with no clue about BTU/HR or soft vs hard wood pellets. So I think they need to work on their marketing and sales before the big launch. :bug:

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  2. codercal

    codercal New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    west Gardiner, Maine
    What is the best type of pellet to burn? What is a good cost for a ton of pellets? Which is better hard or soft pellets to burn? New to this!
  3. ugenetoo

    ugenetoo New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2006
    Messages:
    141
    Loc:
    northern maine
    all good questions, but for every three pellet burning people out there, you will hear two opposite views and one that doesnt really think there is a difference.
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,288
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    coder,
    you might want to start a new thread......on the general pellet questions.

    As to the issues that Maine Energy has not addressed (in someone or another's opinion) - I have not heard these questions asked and carefully answered about the tens of thousands of pellets stoves that are selling each year NOW. Certainly they are valid, but some are obviously unanswerable.......there are a lot of pellet mills starting to do bulk deliveries, for instance! If ANY company goes belly-up, where does that leave the customer - for instance Harman almost disappeared last year and VC almost this year, etc. etc.

    I can assure folks that almost no pellet stove manufacturers reimburse properly for warranty work....

    I guess what I am saying is that it becomes a little unfair to hold one vendor to a standard that no other one is held to! From the outside it appears as if they are trying to do this thing right - sell them in a limited area (so they can stand behind), use a top brand, help supply fuel, do installation.......

    I assume that they are not looking for the "nervous nellies" as the first round of customers. No matter what the technology, the first users are taking somewhat of a chance.....without the trailblazers, there would be no trail (or roads)....

    I'm confident that the homeowners spending north of 12K will ask these questions and more.
  5. MaineEnergySystems

    MaineEnergySystems Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2008
    Messages:
    16
    Loc:
    Bethel, Maine
    Sorry for the delay! We're really getting swamped with orders here, and I had to play "answer the phones" for a day or two. Anyway!

    1) who will handle this and determine who will pay
    The contractors will handle 100% of the warranty work, but Bosch/Janfire will supply your parts for free if they fail within the warranty period. I'm not 100% sure about the warranty because Bosch is being slow with getting us warranty.pdf >:[ I do know that it complies with Maine's required 5 years for the boiler and 2 years for the burner.

    2) will the contractor who installed be adequatly compensated for warranty
    That depends on your definition of "adequately", "compensated", and "warranty". Adequately? We'll be competitive. Compensated? He'll bill SOMEONE for the time, but we are leaning towards a mixed pay-for-labor (standard on most heating appliances as I have been told) warranty. Warranty depends on the part that failed and the time at which

    3) who will stock parts on this side of the pond or will customer wait weeks for repair parts
    Parts will be stocked this side of the pond, and you'll more than likely not have to wait more than 24 hours for a part during the business week.

    4) If MES goes belly up where does that leave the customer?
    Backed by Bosch Thermotechnologies and Janfire, who are already supporting identical systems as they are some of the most frequently installed parts in regards to pellet heating.

    5) if local contractor who installed goes belly up or gets out of the business will MES pick up the mess
    You'll be picked up by another contractor local to the area. For example, we're going to have at least 4 (low estimate) contractors from Portland after this Friday.

    6) if MES goes belly up and customer has funky storage system which uses the new pellet truck to fill
    his hopper who would he turn to??

    The technology is widely adopted in Europe. You can get a bin with hatch access if you want to "disaster-proof" your fuel supply chain, but we probably won't be going anywhere. Even if we did, it will be a standardized coupling, and we'd have to sell our trucks, distribution nodes, etc to someone anyway, and they'd probably "take up the slack", so to speak. I don't think Les is going to let his business fail very soon, though.


    TGun, feel free to post your dad's questions here. Our BTU/hour is 100k or 150k, depending on how leaky and big your house is. The way our system works is that it measures the amount of heat your house is losing, then puts that heat into the house at a constant rate. That way, when your house is set to 68, it stays at 68, instead of dropping to 67, having the heater fire full bore for 3-5 minutes, and warming up to 69. This also lets us size our boilers a little smaller because we don't fire at full capacity when we need heat. The burner itself modulates from about 17 kBtu to 150 kBtu.

    Soft vs hard wood pellets: I hate to be blunt, but at $250/ton (for a typical 4 ton load) with free delivery with 25 miles, it doesn't matter. We have the cheapest advertised, delivered price for pneumatic delivery, and we are contracting for a more-soft-than-hard mixed premium pellet with a consistent Btu/ton.
  6. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    914
    Loc:
    Limerick, Maine
    Thanks for getting back to us!

    How about the disparity in the price calculations? What does MESy say about the actual end cost?

    Why are the contractors responsible for purchasing the boilers? Why are customers not purchasing them through MESy, and then having 'your certified' installers set them up?

    Where are the 25 mile marks in the cities listed? I live in Limerick, and bet I could find a 'piece' of Portland within 25 miles - lol However, I am sure the 25 miles are from your distribution site. Which is where.................?

    Any firm prices on the bins yet? Specs for bin and auger/delivery system? You mentioned before that the auger was part of the boiler price. Can the auger be purchased separately?

    Thanks ~ Jeff
  7. MaineEnergySystems

    MaineEnergySystems Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2008
    Messages:
    16
    Loc:
    Bethel, Maine
    From our end, there is no disparity in costs. We got estimates for installing this system, then we used those estimates to come up with a weighted-towards-the-more-expensive "composite estimate". Any perceived disparity between "your" installation cost and "my" installation cost is the discount we give installers for buying multiple units.

    The contractors are responsible for purchasing the boilers because the can get a discount and use that discount towards the cost of installation. We also don't want Bob the Builder purchasing a boiler direct, then weaseling out of getting it installed by a certified installer, then have his house catch fire because he forgot to put in a safety system. It would be bad press for us, bad news for Bob, and bad news for the pellet industry in general.

    We're actually getting some competition from other energy industries, so we're not comfortable disclosing the addresses of our distribution nodes just yet. If you're outside the 25 mile radius, you'll be billed for the additional diesel, and that's it.

    Our price on the bin is not quite firm yet, but it should be $1500, plus or minus about $300. Our contractor hasn't made that clear, and our engineering consultant is "already on it", so to speak.

    The auger will probably not be available for separate purchase because of our contract. We might be able to part something out on a case-by-case basis, but we have to wait for our parts shipments to come in before we can make any sort of judgment about auger availability.
  8. ugenetoo

    ugenetoo New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2006
    Messages:
    141
    Loc:
    northern maine
    we know how to burn stuff to get heat, but getting it there to the fire in the right amount and in the right condition has always been the biggest obstacle to overcome when attempting to automate biomass burning systems.
    ive been trying to decide what some of the pitfalls of the delivery system might be. the boiler units arent really where the problems will occur.
    one potential problem i see that will need to be dealt with is the fines generated every time pellets are handled. especially with mechanical handling equipment. will there be screening done at every handling point along the system from pickup at the plant all the way to the fire?
    how is wet weather going to impact the delivery process?
    if someone else decides to go into the pellet delivery business, will the owner of the mesys units be able to use the least expensive one or be able to fill the tank themselves?
    how well does the bosch delivery system adjust to different pellet size and consistency from different manufacturers?
    at $12k, this system will have to perform fairly well in order to continue sales after the initial hype and novelty has worn off.
    im just playing devils advocate here trying to bring up questions that need to be answered.
  9. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    914
    Loc:
    Limerick, Maine
    So precisely what does the customer get for $12,500? Please be as specific as possible ~ thank you!
  10. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    12,288
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    I'm going to close this thread - the board is not the place where manufacturers have to give the cost of each fitting and every possible installation. We can assume that sinnian or anyone else can get an exact cost or other info for their particular setup.....by calling the companies they are interesting in.

    I'm certain that many MES users will be here during this coming winter to discuss their results.
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