With several different biomass boiler options available, customers often ask for support in choosing the right biomass system for their needs. We asked our biomass experts for some customer guidance, and they have helped us to put together this “things to consider” list.
1) Boiler and Fuel Type, ie wood pellet, wood chip or logs
Think about the space you have available on-site for the boiler plant and fuel storage. Boiler plant and the fuel stores that keep the boilers loaded with fuels can be very large and therefore need to be carefully positioned to make the most of external space.
What biomass fuels do you have access to? Consider how hands on you want to be and please be realistic about this – eg are you happy to re-fill a manual log boiler on a cold January night, or would you rather choose a boiler that loads itself. Think about producing your own chips - customers who fell trees as part of their services may wish to use the wood to produce their own biomass chips. Other customers may prefer to purchase the fuels from one of YPO’s biomass fuel suppliers.
2) Fuel Handling, Storage and Transfer
As a general rule, the bigger the better in terms of the fuel store, as this minimises the number of deliveries and thus reduces the associated cost and vehicle movements. Do think about where the fuel store is to be positioned particularly in terms of fuel delivery and transfer. A well designed fuel handling and transfer system is particularly crucial when dealing with wood chip, but also important for wood pellet. Be aware many systems end up flawed or compromised with poor design in this area, so it is worthwhile giving some forethought to the system design.
3) System Design
This is vital to the success of any heating system and with biomass it is no different. However with biomass do be aware there are some additional elements to consider such as the accumulator tank and system control. Biomass boilers do not like to "short-cycle" (ie come on and switch off continually in quick succession). YPO’s biomass installers will be able to provide useful information to optimise boiler performance
Once the biomass boiler has been installed and commissioned you need to be confident in the back up that is available. Ask about the service and maintenance packages that are available and how much experience does the supplier/installation company have? Ask about the size of biomass boilers they have installed and the fuel types that were involved. Do the suppliers keep stocks of spare parts? Can you speak to existing customers to get their opinion of the services offered?
All suppliers on the YPO biomass framework will be able to answer any questions that you may have and will be happy to discuss all aspects of the design and installation. It is appreciated that the capital outlay for a biomass system can be significant, and as such we want to help customers make the right choice.
Click here if you would like information on YPO’s biomass framework.