How to store biomass pellets in six easy steps

07 April 2016 By Steve Sefton, Buyer - Energy

Biomass boiler

One of the most commonly asked questions from customers about a biomass boiler is, how do you store the biomass pellets?

Many of our customers have biomass boilers installed and it’s a well-known fact that they need regular servicing and maintenance to keep them running at their best. But did you know that the hopper where the fuel pellets are stored also needs some TLC to make sure that the pellets stay in tip top condition. Pellets that are not stored correctly can mean your boiler does not operate efficiently and after making that investment in a biomass boiler, you would want to keep it running smoothly!

One of the most commonly asked questions from customers about a biomass boiler is, how do you store the biomass pellets? Billington Bioenergy have shared with us their top six tips for storing your biomass pellets:

  1. Ensure the store is watertight at all times 
    Pellets and water don’t mix.  If your pellets do get wet, for example by a leak to the hopper, it is really important that these are removed as soon as possible before hardening and sticking together which could cause a hopper or boiler blockage.

  2. Use a pellet protection mat
    Ensure that your hopper has a pellet protection mat which is kept in place at all times, especially during deliveries. This mat is normally made of rubber and is located inside the hopper. As pellets are blown into the hopper they should bounce against the mat. This helps to ensure they retain their intended size and do not break up too much. Whilst you will always find a few broken pellets, too many breakages are never a good idea. If your hopper does not have a mat installed, it’s probably a good idea to think about getting one (If you have a fabric silo, a mat is not required).

  3. Rake the pellets periodically
    If possible, periodically rake pellets within the hopper to encourage even distribution and usage – if this involves entering the store, do take great care as hoppers can be hazardous places to be in. Check manufacturer handbooks and view safety guidelines here.

  4. Keep the store clean to avoid build-up of dust 
    Pellet stores MUST be fully cleaned out after five deliveries or a minimum of once every two years, whichever sooner.  Ideally, clean the store each year, and if possible during summer when the boiler is probably not being used as much. A spring cleaned hopper will help the boiler to run more efficiently.

  5. Avoid creating too much dust 
    If you are cleaning the store yourself, scoop residual pellets out and then use an ATEX Zone 22 rated vacuum to remove any dust.  Keep brushing to a minimum to avoid creating too much dust in the air. Always wear a dust mask and eye protection.

  6. Pellet Extraction services are available 
    If you need third party help, there are pellet suppliers that offer pellet extraction services.

    Remember that a well-maintained biomass hopper is important to ensure that a boiler runs at its optimum. For more guidance regarding biomass hopper care, please click here.

    YPO offers a fully EU compliant framework for the procurement of biomass boilers, as well as for the procurement of biomass wood pellets and chips. For further information on our Biomass framework please contact Steve at [email protected].
Categories: Frameworks , Energy , Procurement

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