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Wood/Pellet/Bio Boilers- Future Thinking

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by jebatty, May 23, 2008.

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  1. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    With fossil fuel prices likely headed only up in price, demand on local round wood increasing, and transportation costs also increasing, a multi-fuel gasification boiler makes increasing sense. Setting aside the combustion control aspects and engineering issues, competition in fuel choice is likely also to be of increasing importance, and multi-fuel helps to address this for the individual.

    Any boiler with metered fueling (pellet, corn, etc.) has the great advantage of not needing daily attention, if everything works. A round wood boiler has the current great advantage of the lowest fuel cost. Maybe this is too wild, but what might make an entrepreneurial adventure would be a "small" grinder/pellet mill, operating perhaps off the PTO of a tractor, to provide a ready supply of pellets for local markets from available round wood. This marries the sweet spots of low round wood price and low transportation cost.

    The economics could be impressive. A quick scan of pellet prices shows $155 low and $229 high per ton cost. This compares to red oak cords of seasoned round wood at $271 to $400 per cord. Aspen has about 60% of the heat value of oak per pound, so this also compares to $162 to $240 per cord.

    Obviously a lot more is involved, but just a thought.

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  2. Rick Stanley

    Rick Stanley Feeling the Heat

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  3. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    The cost of a machine like you describe even on a small scale would blow your mind. A commercial whole tree chipping operation will set you back $1-2 million on the smaller side and a pellet operation like those producing now well into the $10's of millions ! Even on a small scale the cost would be staggering.

    What I would like to see is more boilers that are capable of burning chips like they have in Europe.
  4. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    The EKO burns chips happily, but they need to be dry. I don't know how to efficiently handle, dry, and store wood chips. I'd love to chip up all the branches and brush that I have - many cords worth at this point.
  5. Willman

    Willman Minister of Fire

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    You got that right Jim AFAIC.I am awaiting more information on the Froling boiler. Can burn pellets as well as roundwood. I would use the pellets this year then switch to rounds next as my wood was just purchased end of April. I will buy another load next year to stay a year ahead for proper MC. Then when I can't cut and split anymore I can switch back to pellets. Thats the plan at this time but is subject to change.
    Will
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