Got a little project going this week........

heaterman

Minister of Fire
Oct 16, 2007
3,378
Falmouth, Michigan
Background:
This farmer cash crops his own land and does custom tillage, manure hauling, harvesting and commodity handling for other farms all over Northern Michigan. He has an 8,500 sq ft heated maintenance/repair shop to service his machinery. The back part, which is over 13,000 sq ft was not heated and was used simply as parking area for all the tractors, harvesters and implements.
The business has grown to the point where they can not cycle all the machines and tractors through the existing heated area during winter downtime. He needed more space so they ripped the concrete out of the back area and hired us to heat it.
(NOTE: Always put insulation and tube in cement even if you'll "never" heat it)

We put down 2" of foam under the slab and the same on the edge, placed about 14,000 ft of 3/4" pex in 3 zones and they poured 6" of new cement on it about 6 weeks ago.

The current 8,500 was heated with radiant floor and btu's are generated with a 7260 Central Boiler. Despite being well insulated, they have always had difficulty maintaining temp in that area, partly due to the piping and tube arrangement and partly due to lack of output from the Central. Last winter they went through 5 or 6 semi loads of wood and the shop was rarely above 60*.

We went through a number of heating options including more efficient wood burners, waste oil boilers, LP gas, water to water heat pumps and pellets and came to the conclusion that pellet boiler(s) with automated feed made the most sense and offered the quickest ROI.
His main issue with wood burning was the labor involved. When outdoor temps were at 10* or less, the Central had to be tended every 4 hours, even during the night. If they missed the 2AM "feeding" it would take all the next day to bring the water temp back up. The thought of heating all that additional space even with an efficient wood boiler system sounded like far too much labor. Processing and handling what would figure out to be around 70-80 cords of wood demands at least one full time employee. Didn't want to go there.

So we went with the new XL series Windhagers. 3 of 'em.
The boilers came in the 13th and we spent most of the 17th hauling them and other materials to the job site. (Deer season opener got in the middle of that...........)
The Windhagers are very heavy. shipping weight for 4 of them was 11,500 pounds! Getting them off the pallets and set on the floor made me glad to have a Matt. Everyone should have a Matt when moving heavy stuff. ;)

Marc Caluwe had called and said Martin Westermayer, Windhager's field service tech was in the US and wanted to help with installation, set up and commissioning. They were coming the 19th so it was pedal to the metal, 16 hour days Monday and Tuesday getting started. Martin and Marc showed up Wednesday afternoon and stayed at my place until Saturday. In between handling all their other phone calls and e-mails they pitched right in and helped make things go exceedingly well........Thanks to both of you!!!

We wanted to get the boilers piped and fired by Friday night and we managed to do that. It was amazing to see something that size putting out <50ppm CO and efficiency in the 84-86% range.
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1st picture: My boys doing what they do.
2nd Picture: 3 pick up heads bolted to the floor in the bulk bin. I sized it to hold a usable quantity of 10-11 tons.
3rd picture: Matt. Everyone needs a Matt when the steel get to 2" and pipe wrenches are a yard long.
4th picture. L-R Andy Ebels (Head pipe fitter for Ebels Heating), Martin Westermayer (the European Standard), Marc Caluwe, (AKA Mr Windhager himself.)

Note: If you ever run into Martin someday, do not mention steak to him. You'll wind up buying him one. ;)
 
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velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
9,973
Sand Lake, NY
Went to Windhager site. Exclusiv is now discontinued (oh well, that was quick).
What are the differences with the Excel? Is that the replacement for the Exclusiv, or is there another one? I see with the Excel direct outside air is now possible, and the door to the firebox looks different, and the ppellet side isn't as high, but that's just what I kind of see.
 

heaterman

Minister of Fire
Oct 16, 2007
3,378
Falmouth, Michigan
The Exclusive is still tin the line. The Excel (XL) is the commercial model which comes in 35,45 and 60KW output The ones in the pictures are all 60's. (205,000btu)
The XL is bin feed only and is a much larger framed unit than the Exclusive. They weigh about a ton and a half each.
 

JBainbridge

Member
May 31, 2014
15
Southwest Michigan
Very impressive!!!
Are you using a buffer tank on this setup?
Do all three units run independently where only one would fire up when the heat demand is low and the other two would only run as needed?
Thanks for sharing!
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
9,973
Sand Lake, NY

Gasifier

Minister of Fire
Apr 25, 2011
3,178
St. Lawrence River Valley, N.Y.
Wow. Nice work.
 

stee6043

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2008
2,624
West Michigan
Silly question - how is it these rigs can share a flue?

Very nice looking setup though.
 

Gasifier

Minister of Fire
Apr 25, 2011
3,178
St. Lawrence River Valley, N.Y.
Would it be because they all burn the same fuel and run at the same time?
 

heaterman

Minister of Fire
Oct 16, 2007
3,378
Falmouth, Michigan
Jodi... Thanks :) Yes there is a buffer tank on the system. Mainly for hydraulic separation of the boiler and system side but a little cushion for excess heat when the boiler(s) go into burnout mode. We haven't started the control wiring yet but it's pretty basic. Each of 6 main zones will be run through a standard Taco SR506 pump control. Signal that there is a heat call will go from that to a Tekmar 274 multi boiler control that will stage the boilers as needed and also rotate them to maintain equal run time.
Windhager would like to see a buffer tank of about 300 gallons on a system like this. We have room for an 80 and that's it so I am taking other precautions with an aquastat controlled "dump" zone on one of the main areas of the 13,000 sq ft shop floor. Bleeding a few hundred thousand btu's of excess heat into that slab won't even make a ripple in the temperature of the building.

Velvet.....At some point I'm sure the BioWin will be updated or replaced in the product line just like anything else. As of now though it is a current model here in the US and elsewhere.

Mr Robertson.... The flue size is a question that remains to be answered. The deck above the boiler room is set up for storage of parts, bulk oil containers etc and was layed out with 14" TJI's on 12" centers. I would have liked to use a single 10" Class A flue for this but it won't fit between the joists. 8" was max. If we find that it will not provide enough volume for 600,000 btu, we will install an additional 6" flue and drop one of the boilers into that. The flue draws like someone is sitting on top of the 24' stack with a shop vac so we might be able to get away with it. Other than that there is no problem venting multiple appliances into a common stack.

Gasfier....That is indeed a factor. They all have to run the same fuel. These boilers will be controlled in such a manner that output might be anywhere between 70,000 to 600,000 at any given time. They can modulate and run independently or simultaneously.
 
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heaterman

Minister of Fire
Oct 16, 2007
3,378
Falmouth, Michigan
Well this will be interesting........

The builder finally got the new portion of the construction where the boilers are located all closed up and we can finish our piping in there to the floor zones.
Problem is though...........they are out of cordwood to feed the CB 7260 connected to the old part of the shop and the owner says he really isn't fond of the idea of buying more firewood.
So we are going to wire up one of the XL's today to temporarily run just the old part of the building because we are a week or so from being able to fire up the whole thing.

Right now the weather is single digits to low teens and the CB is chuffing along at 100% output, maintaining system water temp at about 155-160. It's maxed out.
The interesting part will be seeing if a single XL can keep up with the demand the CB is now serving.
We'll know by tomorrow and I'll report back. The portion of the structure being heated is about 8500 sq ft with 20' ceilings and 3 overhead doors large enough to drive a locomotive through. I'm thinking it will be a pretty good test for a single XL.........
 
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Karl_northwind

Minister of Fire
Feb 13, 2012
511
Central Wi.
That's an awesome application. Please keep us updated. I would love to see 3 XLs in operation. they're going to be blown away by the results of that install.
Pic 1 looks like one of our jobs, IE: a coffee mug on nearly every flat surface.

k
 

heaterman

Minister of Fire
Oct 16, 2007
3,378
Falmouth, Michigan
Just checked it early this morning.....
There were 2 out of 5 zones calling for heat, approximately 5,000 sq ft of floor.
The demand aquastat in the small buffer is set to 160*, the XL was at 162* with same temp water going out to the mix valves.
The operating aquastat setting on the XL itself is dialed in at 158
Boiler was firing at 43% output and maintained that 162* temp right on the button for the 15 minutes I was there observing. Yesterday when they were working in there and shuttling machines in and out the 24x16 overhead door, we saw it running between 65-90% most of the day.

We actually fired up the Windhager at 10AM on the 31st so it has been heating the structure for right at 3 days now.
It used .36 Tons of pellets so far. 19 start/stop cycles. Combustion tests have shown between 84-87% depending on water temp and output%.
Wood use with the CB ran in the range of 500-600# per day vs what looks to be about 200# of pellets. The auto fill could not work any better.

Next week we do the wiring and set up on the Tekmar boiler control, Taco zone control, install the low temp mixing valves and pumps and fire up the new 13,000 sq ft slab.
That'll make all 3 of 'em bark pretty good.
 
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Eric Johnson

Mod Emeritus
Nov 18, 2005
5,875
Central NYS
I thought I recognized Marc Caluwe. He brings chip boilers to the trade shows we sponsor in Vermont and Maine.

Beautiful project!

Hard to find pellets this year, so I hope they lined up a good supply in advance.
 

heaterman

Minister of Fire
Oct 16, 2007
3,378
Falmouth, Michigan
I thought I recognized Marc Caluwe. He brings chip boilers to the trade shows we sponsor in Vermont and Maine.

Beautiful project!

Hard to find pellets this year, so I hope they lined up a good supply in advance.
17 Tons sitting in the shop right now in bulk bags and another 20 tons to be picked up in a couple weeks at the mill about 40 miles away.
 

Eric Johnson

Mod Emeritus
Nov 18, 2005
5,875
Central NYS
It's nice to have a pellet plant close by. Around here, both of the "local" mills do bulk deliveries--or you can pick up loads at the mill.
 

heaterman

Minister of Fire
Oct 16, 2007
3,378
Falmouth, Michigan
I wish i could do that. I'm only about 20 miles from pro pellets but they wouldn't let me buy direct unless i were to buy a semi load.
Well we can fix you up with an auto fill for your BioWin and let them drop 10 tons at a time ;););):)
 

heaterman

Minister of Fire
Oct 16, 2007
3,378
Falmouth, Michigan
Good test coming up Monday with a high of 3* predicted.
 

BoilerMan

Minister of Fire
Apr 16, 2012
1,717
Northern Maine
Steve, are you are you using the outdoor reset for mixing or just the setpoint of the tank for boiler demand? Nice looking install, creative venting too :) Are there any fan-coils for quick heat or 100% radiant?

I do a lot of multiple boiler jobs, but never with anything fun like pellets. Always oil and LP.

TS
 

Eric Johnson

Mod Emeritus
Nov 18, 2005
5,875
Central NYS
I wish i could do that. I'm only about 20 miles from pro pellets but they wouldn't let me buy direct unless i were to buy a semi load.
Right now they might be hard to get in any quantity. Both mills are going full-bore and can't meet their orders from retailers and wholesalers. OTOH, I suspect they'd want to protect their existing customer base if possible. Don't want to run good customers off.

They do make pellet delivery trucks in Europe, and I think it's just a matter of time before enterprising entrepreneurs on this side of the Atlantic start getting those trucks and delivering orders to residential customer. Here's one on display a few years ago at a bioenergy fair in Sweden. It blows the pellets through that hose into a bin in your garage or basement. Not having to deal with all those 40-lb bags would probably justify paying a premium per ton, as strange as that might seem. And, I imagine the mill would be willing to cut a deal, since they don't have to mess with the bags, either.

Great opportunity for some young go-getter.

 

BoilerMan

Minister of Fire
Apr 16, 2012
1,717
Northern Maine
We have one local pellet mill and one independent oil company has a pneumatic bulk delivery truck IIRC it is about a $20 dollar premium for bulk delivery in a residential setting.

TS
 

JP11

Minister of Fire
May 15, 2011
1,452
Central Maine
I've seen a few pellet delivery companies here in Maine. Handy to have a year's worth of fuel all stored in. Of course.. i can fit 10 cords on my pallet racking in the barn. Does take about 15 minutes to move a cord from the barn to the house.

JP