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Wood Pellet Boilers: An Eco-Friendly Heating Solution

Wood Pellet Boilers

Wood pellet boilers are a sustainable and cost-effective heating solution for both residential and commercial buildings. They run on wood pellets, which are made from compressed sawdust, a byproduct of sawmills. These pellets are not only eco-friendly, but they’re also cheaper than many fossil fuel alternatives. Let’s dive into what makes wood pellet boilers unique and explore the different feed systems used in these heating solutions.

What Are Wood Pellets?

Wood pellets are a form of biomass fuel made by compressing sawdust into small cylindrical shapes. The pellets’ dense, smooth surface is a result of natural resins found in the wood that act as binders during the compression process. Beyond their eco-friendly nature, wood pellets are more affordable than many traditional heating fuels like gas and oil. Curious about the benefits of switching to wood pellets? You can find more information in our website’s fuel section.

Wood Pellet Boilers: Efficient and Environmentally Friendly

Why should you consider a wood pellet boiler? For starters, these boilers rely solely on burning wood pellets to generate heat and hot water. They’re suitable for a wide range of applications, from heating domestic homes to warming large industrial facilities. In the UK, they’re a popular choice, with over 45% of commercial and industrial systems running on wood pellets. They also boast impressive efficiency, typically above 90%, compared to traditional fossil fuel systems that range from 70% to 80%.

Let’s discuss the environmental impact. Burning wood pellets significantly reduces carbon emissions compared to fossil fuels. For example, a three-bedroom home heated with pellets emits less than a tonne of CO2 annually, while a similar home using oil might produce 6.5 tonnes of CO2. This dramatic reduction in emissions is a compelling reason to consider wood pellet boilers.

The Advantages of Wood Pellet Boilers

Apart from their efficiency and environmental benefits, wood pellet boilers offer other advantages. One key feature is their automation potential. Unlike log boilers, which require frequent manual refills, wood pellet boilers can be set up with a bulk fuel store, reducing the need for daily maintenance. This automation makes them user-friendly and versatile in terms of equipment positioning.

Additionally, wood pellet boilers qualify for the UK government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), providing financial incentives for generating renewable heat. This, along with the potential for fuel savings, can significantly offset the initial cost of installation, with payback periods often as short as five years.

Fuel Feed Systems for Wood Pellet Boilers

There are several ways to feed pellets into a boiler, each with its advantages and ideal use cases. Let’s examine four common fuel feed systems and how they work:

Manual Feed System

The manual feed system uses a small hopper attached to the pellet boiler. This hopper holds a few days’ worth of fuel during peak winter use and requires manual topping up with 15kg bags of pellets. Although it has the smallest footprint, it’s best suited for domestic properties where heating demands are lower. This system is simple, but its manual nature makes it less suitable for larger commercial setups.

Suction System

The suction system uses a bulk fuel store filled by a fuel company, eliminating the need for manual feeding. A suction tube connects the boiler’s day hopper to the bulk store, allowing for automatic replenishment when the hopper’s fuel level gets low. This system is ideal for larger installations where manual feeding would be impractical. The Froling P4, with a capacity range of 15 to 105kW, is one of our popular boilers with this option.

Pellet Auger

The pellet auger system is similar to the suction system but with a key difference. Instead of connecting directly to the bulk fuel store, the suction tube links to a pellet auger, which runs along the floor of the fuel store. This auger transports pellets to the day hopper when the fuel level is low. The Guntamatic Pro and Biocom boilers use this system, with capacities ranging from 50 to 250kW.

Auger and Agitator

The auger and agitator system is unique because it can handle both wood pellets and wood chips, offering flexibility in fuel choice. Unlike the other systems, this one doesn’t use a day hopper. Instead, an auger runs from the boiler into the fuel store, with agitator arms that move fuel toward the auger when the boiler needs it. This setup suits large commercial or industrial applications, where flexibility and bulk storage are priorities. Boilers like the Froling TX and Guntamatic Powerchip use this system, with capacities ranging from 24 to 1,500 kW.

Our Experience with Wood Pellet Boilers

We’ve been in the wood pellet boiler industry for over a decade, with hundreds of installations under our belt. Our projects vary from small domestic setups to large district heating schemes, like the one at a holiday park with a 1MW biomass system and 3MW of LPG backup. Curious to know about some of our work? Let’s discuss a few case studies from our portfolio:

  • Tata Global Beverage – Tetley Tea: This project involved installing a biomass system at a tea manufacturing facility.
  • Soho Member Club – Great Tew: Here, we installed a wood pellet boiler for a prestigious members-only club.
  • Teighnbridge District Council – Dawlish Leisure Centre: This installation brought renewable heating to a public leisure center.
  • Warwick Council – Sayers Court: We helped this local government entity transition to wood pellet heating.
  • NHS – South Petherton Hospital: A healthcare setting requires a reliable and sustainable heating system.
  • Sandroyd School: This school opted for a wood pellet boiler to reduce its carbon footprint.

These case studies are just a snapshot of our experience with wood pellet boilers. If you’re considering this heating solution, we’d be happy to discuss your specific needs and help you find the best setup for your situation. Would you like more information about our installations or need advice on which fuel feed system might work best for you? We’re here to help!

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