Built A Pellet Storage Box

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velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,135
Sand Lake, NY
I built a storage box in the basement to load bagged pellets. It is 4x4x4 feet. I bought the boiler with vacuum transfer but hadn't used it yet. I haven't yet arranged a bulk delivery storage bin. I built the box to take advantage of the vacuum transfer capability, lengthen the times between feeding, make it easier to load (only 4' high), and when I do get the bulk delivery set up, it'll be more flexible changing from bulk to bags (just switch hoses).

Anyway, it started up with a big whoosh and made a pretty good dent. It looks like pellets have a pretty steep angle of repose, but even without a hopper-type of design, there should be a pretty good amount extractable. I'll have have to load it up; there were only 16 bags in there when the vacuum kicked on.

It has a timer on it, so you can specify times that the unit refills. I'm not exactly sure of the ramifications of that (want to minimize burnout/restart just for reloading).

IMGP3673.JPG IMGP3674.JPG IMGP3675.JPG
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,135
Sand Lake, NY
I just filled it up. It holds about 55 bags.
I wonder how much of it will empty and if it would be worth it to rig up a vibratrory assist?
 

Boil&Toil

Burning Hunk
Jan 13, 2014
133
SW Vermont
I just filled it up. It holds about 55 bags.
I wonder how much of it will empty and if it would be worth it to rig up a vibratrory assist?

This transfers to the internal hopper on your boiler, right?

So let it become "empty" (suck everything it can out)

Take a sharpie or lumber crayon and mark where the left-behind pellets are on the walls.

Shuffle those into the sucker and fill that space in with slanted bottom - wood, galvanized steel, whatever.

Seems like a lot less fuss than a vibratory assist, IMHO.

I'd assume you don't really want to "just have that space full of pellets that don't get used" as eventually any staling/aging/swelling that's going to happen to those pellets will happen, and a few will get into the mix. Surely not an issue for this year, but eventually that might cause some issues.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,135
Sand Lake, NY
This transfers to the internal hopper on your boiler, right?
Right

Shuffle those into the sucker and fill that space in with slanted bottom - wood, galvanized steel, whatever.
At this point, I just don't think it's worth it. I think of as some additional storage that I can access with a couple of sweeps with a rake. I will let it run down and see how much is left. I did put a 2" polyiso board under the bin-maybe that'll help too.

But now that I think of it, I can see your point
 

Chris Hoskin

TarmSalesGuy
Aug 29, 2008
560
Lyme, NH
www.tarmbiomass.com
Make your slanted sides at least 45 degrees and 60 degrees if you can. Forty five will funnel most of the pellets but will tend to leave some pellets and fines behind, 60 degrees will let it all slide to the fuel pick up. Nice set up, btw!
 

mustash29

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2012
701
SE CT
When you build the sloping hopper walls, cover them with something slippery, like thin HDPE sheeting or fiberglass reinforced plastic. Even a couple good coats of polyurethane on the plywood would make it slippery so the pellets & fines slide down to the suction tube easily.
 
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BoilerMan

Minister of Fire
Apr 16, 2012
1,717
Northern Maine
I've seen aluminum "trim coil" used for this as well, easier to work with than sheet steel, as it can be scored with a utility knife, or easily be cut with sheers.

TS
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,135
Sand Lake, NY
I just refilled it since the suction terminal was getting exposed. It took 41 bags. First time I filled it, it took 57 bags, but as I recall the lid didn't close completely, so that's why I said 55 earlier. Anyway, that'd be a fill of 75% I leveled it out, and filled it.
Here's a picture:

IMGP3689.JPG
 
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mchasal

Burning Hunk
Jul 10, 2008
225
Hudson Valley, NY
I just refilled it since the suction terminal was getting exposed. It took 41 bags. First time I filled it, it took 57 bags, but as I recall the lid didn't close completely, so that's why I said 55 earlier. Anyway, that'd be a fill of 75% I leveled it out, and filled it.

Instead of worrying about the sloping sides, take care of your REAL problem. You've got at least a tablespoon of pellets bridged across those mounting bolts on the top of your pic. If that keeps happening, or imagine if it happened multiple places, you could be missing out on a whole 1/4 cup of pellets. ;)

Nice job on the hopper.
 
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velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,135
Sand Lake, NY
It's funny, I heard the vacuum last night, and it occurred to me to check under the hood this morning. A tiny vortex already is forming on top of the 4' height of pellets. Interesting (to me anyway).
 

BoilerMan

Minister of Fire
Apr 16, 2012
1,717
Northern Maine
Looks good Velvet nice work!

TS
 
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