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Pellet Boiler Options

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by arngnick, Oct 30, 2013.

  1. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    I'd take a hard look at the contract before I'd make that assumption. In a lot of cases there are clauses that state the price reduction or financial assistance depends on a given amount of fuel being purchased from a specific supplier.
    Maybe not the case here but I would sure want to be certain of that before I pulled the trigger.

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  2. Paste

    Paste New Member

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    The NH rebate has no clause concerning purchasing a given amount of fuel from a specific supplier. I spent less than $400 on the bin and it saved me 30% on the boiler, bin, and install. From a financial standpoint, it was worth having the bin, and we have the convenience of choosing bulk delivery or bag pellets.
  3. Dana B

    Dana B Feeling the Heat

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    Is your bin homemade?
  4. Paste

    Paste New Member

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    its a fabric bin with a homemade base and coupler to work with the biowin suction probe.
  5. arngnick

    arngnick Member

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    Wow so much great info! Looks like the BioWin is worth another hard look with so many supporters. Second on the list IMO would be the Viadrus Hurcules Eco but I have not heard ANY reviews from real users. Of course the last option is to upgrade the oil boiler for 3K or less and install a pellet insert to supplement the oil heat. All is being considered and nothing is being rushed at the moment.
    Since I do most of my work myself I was surprised to hear that the "ballpark" estimate to install one of these BioWin's is over 4K that is with me building the pellet bin and taking care of the supplier hookups. Does this sound right?
  6. Dana B

    Dana B Feeling the Heat

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    Did you design and built it youself? How much space does it take up and do you have any pictures?

    I f I can get a bin for $400 I just might have to take another look at the program.
  7. bdud

    bdud New Member

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    I am not worried about the single bulk supplier/pellet/price, I also can manually fill my silo if necessary. I have spoken a couple of times to the pellet supplier I used for the last couple of years and they are looking into the bulk delivery side. They have also installed at least one BioWin that I know of and had previously mentioned they had 3 lined up, so they might have some incentive to pursue it. They also said they would hand fill the silo for me. I used to use a kiddie slide also, that was so much better and would then stack the bags on reinforced pallets with heavy duty wheels so I could move them if necessary. About 2.5 tons is the max I stored in my basement in bags, I do not have room for much more. With the height and the walls of the silo I can theoretically get more pellets in a given space than I could by just stacking them alone, ~3.5 tons.
    In the MA grant it has no stipulation that you use a bulk delivery, it does say you need to have a bulk delivery company willing to deliver to you.
  8. Karl_northwind

    Karl_northwind Member

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    I will second everything heaterman has said about the Windhager BioWin. I was at the factory in Austria a couple weeks ago and went thru the entire training and setup instructions, and followed the whole fabrication process (all in house, nothing farmed out except the motors and circuit boards) and was very impressed. If you are going to go with a pot-style burner I wouldn't go with anything else. Of course I have a vested interest, as I plan on selling them, but I think that if you need just a boiler, you'll have a hard time beating the Bio-win. the bonus is that there is nearly nothing that can go wrong that will shut down the boiler, short of a water loss, a fried main board or a couple of sensors. these are all things that we installers will have to have on hand. the day-hopper with add-on bulk storage is an extra nice feature. it does make getting them in tight spots a little tricky, but certainly do-able.

    karl
  9. Paste

    Paste New Member

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    The bin is a 6' cylinder. I'm working with a manufacturer overseas to build a custom bin that will work better with suction/auger feed systems. Also, it will have a few other features I wish this bin included. The auto feed sounds like a small shopvac running for about 30 seconds.

    PassionForFire&Water likes this.
  10. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

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    What happens with a vacuum system if there is a longer than standard pellet that gets stuck?
  11. bdud

    bdud New Member

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    I have not had a problem yet on the Biowin. The suction hose is I think 3". I did have a problem with longer pellets jamming inside the Cornvac which I use to suck pellets out of my silo to feed my pellet stove. I used the hose Cornvac recommended and supplied which I think was 2". I swapped this out with the larger Biowin vacuum hose that Marc gave me and I have had no problems since. I would think with the large install base Biowin has, the hose would have optimized for these problems. Maybe American / Canadian pellets are longer? I am using LaCrete.
  12. Dana B

    Dana B Feeling the Heat

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    What other features is the bin potentially going to have and do you have an idea when they might hvae the bin finalized? I might be interested in one if the numbers work out. I spoke with Barbara w/ the State of NH and she said that there is no requirement to actually use bulk delivery in order to be in compliance with the rebate terms. This is good because if I do go the bulk bin route I have zero intention of getting my pellets from one of the bulk delivery companies. I'd only be doing it for the monetary incentive. i explained this to barbara and she seemd fine with it. The one thing that did concern me was that I thought I read something about having the bulk system be within 100 feet of the street or something like that as a requirement. I will have to go back and reread the terms and conditions of the rebate.
  13. bdud

    bdud New Member

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    MA has a requirement for less than 100' also, maybe it is a bulk delivery / hose limitation. This is from the MA grant doc....
    "9. the Eligible Equipment is fed from a bulk fuel storage bin (two tons or greater) and
    access to the bulk storage bin (by pipe or auger or both) is located 100 feet or less from
    the street or driveway;
    10. the customer has indicated that at least one pellet distribution company can make bulk
    pellet delivery to the project site;"
  14. Paste

    Paste New Member

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    The turbine and tubing are optimized for pellet size and the pressure difference needed to move pellets from point A to point B. Best analogy I can think of is drinking your favorite soda through a straw. When you suck the air out of a regular straw the pressure inside decreases and the higher atmospheric pressure on the liquid pushes the soda into your mouth. Yum! However, if you increase the straw size, think big Pixy stick candy size, and keep the same suction you only decrease the pressure inside enough to get a small amount of soda.

    The biowin is similar to the second example. During operation, the tube isn't filled with a 'wall of pellets'. My best estimate is pellets fill only about 1/4-1/3 of the tube ID. Tube ID is about 2" and the avg pellet is .25x1". As bdud discovered with his corn vac, a smaller tube size will increase the pellet velocity because it lowers the pressure. The cornvac backed up because it couldn't handle the increased flow rate. By increasing the tube dia. he lowered the pellet velocity and equilibrium was reached.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2013
  15. Paste

    Paste New Member

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    They want the bulk bin 100 ft or less from the road or your driveway because most trucks carry 100 ft of tubing. When I spoke with one bulk company they said they could delivery over 100 ft. I'm sure they could fill from your driveway, through your bulkhead, and be less than 100 ft, but since you're filling the bin yourself it isn't an issue.

    The rebate was easy and quick; I had my funds in about a week. I encourage anyone getting a pellet boiler to apply for the rebate.
  16. PassionForFire&Water

    PassionForFire&Water Minister of Fire

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    In my opinion 100' should be the maximum or even 60' to the house CAM-lock hookup
    I watch a pellet delivery 2 months or so ago.
    See Pictures

    From the truck, the guy needed to install 4 or 5 top heavy stainless steel hoses - 16' long each
    It took at least 30 minutes to set it up and the same time to take it down.
    I don't think they are making much money if at all, and a fixed delivery fee is not gone work because each situation is different.

    Imagine doing this setup when there is snow and ice and you don't see that stone wall; flat out dangerous.

    This pellet delivery concept is all good and well, but just doing the same as the Austrian or Germans are doing is not gone work in the long term for us.
    Everything is pocket format in Europe; also the property where a residence is located on.
    We will need to come up with our own solutions.

    And last week I did see an oil truck arriving while I was at another customer to top off his 275 gallon oil tank. He was in & out in 11 minutes.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013
  17. Dana B

    Dana B Feeling the Heat

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    Wow. An hour to assemble and dissassemble the hose? Did that include the time to blow in the pellets too? I assume that while the delivery guy is making his one hour per customer delivery he's left the truck idling so that it can continue to burn gas/deisel. I don't see how they can be making any money like that either given the small number of customers they probably have.

    As you pointed out Marc it seems like doing all that work to get the hoses ready when there's snow and ice on the ground can be pretty hazardous. I could see a situation where a delivery guy falls, injures himself, and then sues the homeowner. Who needs that kind of aggrevation?

    I've decided that I'm not going to go the bulk hopper/delivery route. I don't have the time or energy for it at the moment and bag feeding/delivery has been working out well so far. I have a company coming out tomorrow morning to spray foam my rim joists. Been looking forward to this for weeks now.
  18. DZL_Damon

    DZL_Damon Member

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    Sounds like it might be a rookie driver. It takes 1:45 to unload a 35ton trailer of pellets to our silo through 4" hoses using our high volume blower. We've tested the trucks blower and it takes 3 hours.

    We use stainless hoses for the pellets, but the vent can be much simpler. I'm actually surprised residential bulk deliveries mess around with stainless. We went through several hoses before landing on stainless... but I'm sure we went through 500-1000 tons on regular "high abrasive material" hoses before making holes. Also, we probably have greatly increased wear rates due to the 60hp blower we use resulting in much higher velocities. I'm sure the normal high abrasion hoses would last a truck like that for a few years.
  19. PassionForFire&Water

    PassionForFire&Water Minister of Fire

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    The driver is not a rookie.
    I know he is around for many years; ie since they have this truck.

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