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Thread: Biomass boiler

  1. #1
    rogerm
    Guest

    Biomass boiler

    which is best, Dragon or Farm 2000 ?

    about 100 kWh, burning young sycamore or willow felled 1-2 years in advanced & split down as much as poss

    would have an accumulator tank & only want to stoke ave once daily

    Thanks

  2. #2
    kennyo
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    dragon will be cheaper to buy (I have one) but will come without any fan controls so I got a 500 sparky bill to wire it very simply.

    Built quality is good. Some of the paint is burnt off the door and it has a small crack in it next to insection door- but this is my fault for leaving it open a few times to get it to burn with more air!!

    Ours is a B20 sited 20m from the house set up as a pressurised system and it cost 5k to plumb it!! This is without an accumulator which I now want to add.

    I would advise going for the double pass systems and you will only need a smaller boiler if only burning wood. However 100kw ans single firing will need to be a reasonable size. Accumulator will be essential.

    Try and get a look at installations of both kinds I only saw a dragon b20 but think if I seen others I may have chosen differently.

    hope this helps

    Kenny

    ps don't skimp on insulated pipes for connecting to house like I did.

  3. #3
    NeilO
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Roger, we have a Farm 2000 (our third straw burner) with an accumulator tank to heat a draughty old farmhouse. Fire bricks in the top lasted a few weeks before they cracked and fell out, doesn't make a lot of difference though, so never been replaced. Electrics work well for control, unless the fan gets rain water in it.

    The system's not perfect by any means, but you're welcome to pop down and have a look I you like, if only to see how not to do it. Brother installed it, I'll give you his number if you want a chat about it.

  4. #4
    Till Seeder
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Roger,was going to suggest you had a word with NeilO,seemed to remember he'd had one or two.

    After discussing with my friend,a heating engineer,who's putting in a system based on a Farm 2000 HT60 without an accumulator tank,for me,decided to put the boiler as near the house as possible.

    My original plan was to site it away from the house,but he said the price of the insulated pipe needed would make my eyes water.

    Well I am from Yorkshire.

  5. #5
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Consider insulation and ideally try and get a quote for external insualtion and re-render. It may well work out the best thing you can do. You will need to extend the rafters maybe but it will also help any damp issues.

    not done ext insualtion but just done a place and internally dot and dabbed it -its amazingly warm!

  6. #6
    Gonso
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    I have a Dragon. A 2 round bale boiler. Your biggest problem is going to be hand loading your willow. Soon as you put the first pieces you will get a raging fire ball unless you let it burn right out, or use the inspection door which will take forever. Full up dry wood will burn for 2-3 days will no ash. Brilliant.

    Ours is single burn. Green wood will tar up the double burn systems. Keep it simple.

    Flexible pre-insulated pipe is easy to install yourself and loses no heat. If its just house heating concider only1" diameter. Smoke and neighbours is our main worry.

  7. #7
    rogerm
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Thanks for the replies

    Kenny, what fuel are you using & are you heating house only

    Neil, what model do you have & what fuel, how big is accumulator ?

    Tilly, if you'd fitted an accumulator, would that have saved you fuel ?
    (you being a Yorkshireman )

    Will, 3 of the 4 houses are well insulated barn conversions, the farmhouse will be dry-lined soon I hope

    Gonso, did you use Uponor pipe ?
    we will need 60m underground pipe & will be supplying 4 houses, so if we can use cheaper than Uponor, we could save a lot
    was hoping to load it & light it, heat 2000 gallon accumulator & let it nearly out before re-loading ?

  8. #8
    silverfox
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Have a look here these guy's have installed a range of system's.
    They have a Dragon heating the shop and the farm house's.
    They run their's on Hesston size bale's and they have other's running on wood pellet's which they produce on site.

    www.wadswickenergy.co.uk/

  9. #9
    kennyo
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    we're using a mixture of straw and wood. Been on rape straw for the last month. 2 soft 4 foot bales a day. heating on 24hrs a day. these have been sitting outside though- were ment to be covered but it never happened.

    this year going to use straw for colder months then back to wood. wood is much cleaner but have to hand load. old tattie boxes and pallets give a good quick heat. wood will also retain heat in the ash/ embers.

    we have a shortage of dry storage so often burning fuel with a bit of moisture.

    An acumulator will give you much more flexibility than i have.

    yes just heating a drafty farmhouse.

    Also went for the cheap copper pipe inside a drainpipe method for pipes from boiler to house which was very stupid of me!!

  10. #10
    Richard
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Just installed a B4 dragon here with accumulator, your welcome to come and look.

    It was piped to the house through farm buildings roofs using 1.1/8" steel pipe, with the black foam lagging.. very effective.

    It connects to the house system with a heat exhanger, (its only small but what it does is amazing!) it has its own pump which runs when the house timer control is in "on" mode, so when not in use the oil boiler works as before, and does not heat the dragon, as the pump can be switched off.

    With a bale of straw and old wood and cut up trees it will last 24 hours and after that the accumulated hot water will give a reasonable temp in the radiators for another 8 hours-ish, but cannot then get the hot water cylinder hot enough.

    We are still learning how to set the stats up for best effect...they switch pumps and the fan.

    My main problem is the fan and shunt pump keep running if the fire is out, I think a timer fitted somehow might help?

  11. #11
    NeilO
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Quote Originally Posted by rogerm View Post
    Thanks for the replies

    Kenny, what fuel are you using & are you heating house only

    Neil, what model do you have & what fuel, how big is accumulator ?

    Tilly, if you'd fitted an accumulator, would that have saved you fuel ?
    (you being a Yorkshireman )

    Will, 3 of the 4 houses are well insulated barn conversions, the farmhouse will be dry-lined soon I hope

    Gonso, did you use Uponor pipe ?
    we will need 60m underground pipe & will be supplying 4 houses, so if we can use cheaper than Uponor, we could save a lot
    was hoping to load it & light it, heat 2000 gallon accumulator & let it nearly out before re-loading ?
    Not sure of the model number (I'll have a look tomorrow), but it's about 4' diameter with smoke chamber in top. Haven't used straw for years, as it burn quickly (so needs stoking more often unless massive chamber) and makes for a lot of ash. Mostly wood going into it, seasoned or waste. Never had it tarred up as it gets damned hot, so I guess it burns the tar off. Accumulator is about 1500 gallons, an old steel tank on legs with loads of lagging wrapped round.

    Edit: just checked, it's a HT50.

  12. #12
    quavers
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    try www.flexenergy.co.uk for under ground pipe , based in fife.

  13. #13
    kennyo
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    Just installed a B4 dragon here with accumulator, your welcome to come and look.

    It was piped to the house through farm buildings roofs using 1.1/8" steel pipe, with the black foam lagging.. very effective.

    It connects to the house system with a heat exhanger, (its only small but what it does is amazing!) it has its own pump which runs when the house timer control is in "on" mode, so when not in use the oil boiler works as before, and does not heat the dragon, as the pump can be switched off.

    With a bale of straw and old wood and cut up trees it will last 24 hours and after that the accumulated hot water will give a reasonable temp in the radiators for another 8 hours-ish, but cannot then get the hot water cylinder hot enough.

    We are still learning how to set the stats up for best effect...they switch pumps and the fan.

    My main problem is the fan and shunt pump keep running if the fire is out, I think a timer fitted somehow might help?
    I was reading on another forum that you can put a temperature sensor on the flue/ flue box so that it would cut pumps and fan if there was no fire burning. Haven't got round to trying it myself and have the same problem as you.

  14. #14
    Till Seeder
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Quote Originally Posted by rogerm View Post
    Tilly, if you'd fitted an accumulator, would that have saved you fuel ?
    (you being a Yorkshireman )
    They say it saves on fuel by reducing the frequency of stoking but after talking with my heating engineer mate we decided to go up a boiler size and reduce the frequency of stoking that way and it was the cheaper way(being yorkshiremen,we're not tight,we're cross threaded)

    May use slightly more fuel but as it's all ''waste'',ie cord wood out of the woods,straw such as linseed and old doors etc from around the farm.

    It's all free for the collecting apart from the linseed straw which has the cost of baling.

    As far as flexible pipe went,after my mate had researched it and the manufacturers had told him they would not guarantee it to the temperatures it could reach if used with biomass boilers we decided on doing the whole system in copper for peace of mind.

    This may cost you a pint in the Bull later.:kiss:

  15. #15
    Rookie.
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Roger,
    I have a GEJS boiler from Denmark burning post consumer wood chip, very cheap fuel, we heat a farm shop and farmhouse, kitchen and underfloor heating in an old cow house, now pottery/ craft centre for 3 / day in winter and 1.50 day in summer, it is doing 34 double radiators, so has it's work cut out, we looked into a straw boiler before i put this in and the Dragon looked a good heater, but if you start burning higher moisture fuel you get smoke, what we burn has no moisture so no tarring of the chimney and boiler, very critical to burn the right fuel.

  16. #16
    rogerm
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    thanks Rookie, I can see the importance of your operation needing to be "clean"
    having made more enquiries, I reckon we could get a free supply of pallets/scrap wood etc to give us a clean enough burn in our location

    having burned straw in a burner from 84-95, we have had experience of smoke, ash & tar so will get it right this time

  17. #17
    Rookie.
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Rodgerm,
    First night on B F Forum tonight, all new to me, we don't get pallets / scrap wood, comes chipped at about 23 / ton, wagon loads, about 10 ton, normally goes for cattle bedding, it's the cheapest way to heat a large farmhouse by far, we grow Miscanthus and folks say why not burn that, but sell that for 55 / ton, it is a very cheap set up, stoker, boiler and accumalator tank, theres a lot of bull shit about from the so called experts when wanting to sell you a biomass system, keep things practical !

  18. #18
    sledgeit
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Quote Originally Posted by Rookie. View Post
    Roger,
    I have a GEJS boiler from Denmark burning post consumer wood chip, very cheap fuel, we heat a farm shop and farmhouse, kitchen and underfloor heating in an old cow house, now pottery/ craft centre for 3 / day in winter and 1.50 day in summer, it is doing 34 double radiators, so has it's work cut out, we looked into a straw boiler before i put this in and the Dragon looked a good heater, but if you start burning higher moisture fuel you get smoke, what we burn has no moisture so no tarring of the chimney and boiler, very critical to burn the right fuel.
    Welcome Rookie
    I am very interested in your wood chip system as we will be looking to install this type of heating very soon, had a look on Google for GEJS boiler but could not find it.
    Can you give me a contact for them?
    Regards Sledgeit

  19. #19
    Rookie.
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Hi, put in GEJS Stoker and it should come up, mine is a 3A, 50 / 70, which means 50kwh on high moisture wood and you will get 70 kwh or more on bone dry fuel like we use, we also have it feeding a 2000 lt Akvaterm accumulator tank, the fuel/auger feed hopper is 1200 lt capacity, all in all a good set up, are you a million miles away, if not come and have a look at cheap heating.

  20. #20
    sledgeit
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Quote Originally Posted by Rookie. View Post
    Hi, put in GEJS Stoker and it should come up, mine is a 3A, 50 / 70, which means 50kwh on high moisture wood and you will get 70 kwh or more on bone dry fuel like we use, we also have it feeding a 2000 lt Akvaterm accumulator tank, the fuel/auger feed hopper is 1200 lt capacity, all in all a good set up, are you a million miles away, if not come and have a look at cheap heating.
    Hi Rookie
    I may just take you up on your kind offer to come and see your heating system in action,
    could you PM a contact No.
    Regards Sledgeit

  21. #21
    theph1l
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Would anyone have heard of a steam boiler that you can stoke with biomass - preferably feed chaff, waste grain, etc rather than wood pellets only?

    After about 300kW = 4-500kgs/hr steam so a bit smaller than many big plants bit bigger than domestic

  22. #22
    NeilO
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Has anyone any experience of 'domestic' biomass boilers (20kW?) that can burn grain as well as wood pellets? On the face of it, burning home grown cereals rather than bought in wood pellets, makes a lot of sense as they both have similar calorific value.

    If you heat a separate building, such as a farm office, I'm told it could be considered a commercial project for RHI purposes, qualifying for payments of 7.9p/kWh. Hmmmmm.

  23. #23
    agri contractor
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Has anyone looked at taking the gas from these biomass boilers to power a generator. We are looking at biomass ourselves and was searching the net for info came across enthusiasts that are after manufacturing boilers to produce heat and electricity.

  24. #24
    Till Seeder
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Quote Originally Posted by agri contractor View Post
    Has anyone looked at taking the gas from these biomass boilers to power a generator. We are looking at biomass ourselves and was searching the net for info came across enthusiasts that are after manufacturing boilers to produce heat and electricity.
    Have you any links,would like to produce electricity with my biomass boiler.

    TIA.

  25. #25
    Wood Fuel
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Quote Originally Posted by theph1l View Post
    Would anyone have heard of a steam boiler that you can stoke with biomass - preferably feed chaff, waste grain, etc rather than wood pellets only?

    After about 300kW = 4-500kgs/hr steam so a bit smaller than many big plants bit bigger than domestic
    You won't find a wood fired steam boiler at that size. The smallest available are around 1,500 kg/hr.

  26. #26
    Wood Fuel
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Quote Originally Posted by agri contractor View Post
    Has anyone looked at taking the gas from these biomass boilers to power a generator. We are looking at biomass ourselves and was searching the net for info came across enthusiasts that are after manufacturing boilers to produce heat and electricity.
    Many have tried, most have failed. UK firm Talbots went bust two years ago trying.

  27. #27
    martian
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    It's a shame. Talbotts had a good looking machine, fitted into two containers, produced 100kW electricity and 150kW hot water. FITS and RHIs would have paid for it in no time. Sad it never worked. Sorry to hear they've gone bust

  28. #28
    ploughman_001
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Saw these down at LAMMA http://glenfarrow.co.uk/

    I built my own boiler 4 years ago thats similar to a farm 2000 / dragon.
    It was built from a 10 foot water ballast grays roller with one half being the burning chamber and the other being split lengthways and opened up around the first to create a 2 inch water jacket. The chimney exits the burning chamber and turns 90 to lay flat over the length of the boiler then another 90 up and out, the first 5 foot of chimney is also inside the water jacket to get more heat recovery.
    Theres a thermostatically controlled fan on the door feeding through a 2.5inch hole so when the fan cuts out (85 degrees C) the fire just smolders away nicely.
    We dont have an accumulator on the system and she runs 24 7 through the winter.

    The boiler is heating 2 farmhouses that join which consist of 16 double rads 2 singles and an underfloor heating setup in one large kitchen and a kickspace heater, also theres 2 water cylnders with indirect coils.

    The boiler is piped to each house seperatly with 22mm hepworth grey plastic pipe well insulated and ducted, each house has its own pump which are standard central heating pumps. The boiler is run on an open circuit with the header tank in the house loft, the boiler has a temperature and pressure safety valve just in case we get a boil on!

    She burning logs that are supplied for free by 4 local tree surgery companies, we get mostly softwood as they keep all the good stuff to log and sell themselves.

    I have some pics somewhere taken during fabrication i will post later if anyones interested.

    Im not so sure id build another now though with the RHI payments etc but if i did it would be bigger to take pallets etc without splitting them up.

  29. #29
    NeilO
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Quote Originally Posted by ploughman_001 View Post
    Saw these down at LAMMA http://glenfarrow.co.uk/

    I built my own boiler 4 years ago thats similar to a farm 2000 / dragon.
    It was built from a 10 foot water ballast grays roller with one half being the burning chamber and the other being split lengthways and opened up around the first to create a 2 inch water jacket. The chimney exits the burning chamber and turns 45 to lay flat over the length of the boiler then another 45 up and out, the first 5 foot of chimney is also inside the water jacket to get more heat recovery.
    Theres a thermostatically controlled fan on the door feeding through a 2.5inch hole so when the fan cuts out (85 degrees C) the fire just smolders away nicely.
    We dont have an accumulator on the system and she runs 24 7 through the winter.

    The boiler is heating 2 farmhouses that join which consist of 16 double rads 2 singles and an underfloor heating setup in one large kitchen and a kickspace heater, also theres 2 water cylnders with indirect coils.

    The boiler is piped to each house seperatly with 22mm hepworth grey plastic pipe well insulated and ducted, each house has its own pump which are standard central heating pumps. The boiler is run on an open circuit with the header tank in the house loft, the boiler has a temperature and pressure safety valve just in case we get a boil on!

    She burning logs that are supplied for free by 4 local tree surgery companies, we get mostly softwood as they keep all the good stuff to log and sell themselves.

    I have some pics somewhere taken during fabrication i will post later if anyones interested.

    Im not so sure id build another now though with the RHI payments etc but if i did it would be bigger to take pallets etc without splitting them up.
    Heating 2 houses would make it a 'district' heating system. Crazy as it sounds, you might well find it could be worth replacing your boiler with an MCS accredited one in order to qualify for the commercial RHI payments (7.9p/kW x 1300hrs/yr for 20 years). Certainly worth looking at.

  30. #30
    rogerm
    Guest

    Re: Biomass boiler

    Quote Originally Posted by NeilO View Post
    Heating 2 houses would make it a 'district' heating system. Crazy as it sounds, you might well find it could be worth replacing your boiler with an MCS accredited one in order to qualify for the commercial RHI payments (7.9p/kW x 1300hrs/yr for 20 years). Certainly worth looking at.
    not quite so simple
    district heating becomes "complex" and you need meters etc & a report
    on metering system by a qualified person
    you also need at least 2 council tax bills
    still worth trying for though

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