Biomass is an excellent fuel choice because:
- Your heating dollars stay in our region; biomass fuels are made from locally sourced wood, usually from within 50 miles of a vendor.
- The ten-year cost for a biomass system is usually the same as an oil or propane system when you consider the average cost of fuel plus the installation cost of the related boiler system. We can help you with these calculations.
- Biomass is “near carbon neutral.” If reducing your personal carbon footprint is one of your priorities biomass should be in your portfolio.
It is a fact that the biomass boiler systems that we recommend all cost more than their counterparts that burn oil or propane. We believe that they are worth the added cost in both future fuel dollars saved and the peace of mind that comes from doing the right thing.
Only a site analysis will reveal just how much a system will cost for your building and we are happy to talk to you about that.
Again, getting specifics about your situation and seeing your building first hand are the best routes to choosing both the boiler(s) and the fuel(s).
Sometimes there are choices, and sometimes everything points to a single solution. We will help you to decide.
While all boiler systems have many similarities, each site is different. Often there is demolition of existing boilers and piping and then a good amount of new piping work to do once the new boilers are in place.
- Interior fuel storage silos range from a prefabricated bag-type to a completely custom site built bin.
- Exterior silos require concrete foundations and take a good amount of time to assemble.
- Chimneys usually need new stainless steel liners. Some projects require new chimneys.
SO, the answer is projects can last from one to 6 weeks—it depends on many variables.
Thermal storage is hot water in a large tank that is located in the boiler room. Most biomass boiler manufacturers require the use of thermal storage tanks but a few, like the AutoPellet boilers from Maine Energy Systems have no need for them due mainly to their burner design.
When storage is required, it is usually sized according to boiler output and a few other factors. Residential boilers often use a 119-gallon tank that also acts as an “indirect” domestic water heater. A boiler with an output of about 1.5 million BTU/hour might need a buffer tank of 2500 gallons. Engineers make these determinations but State grant requirements may also specify buffer tank size.
Yes, this is as easy as adding a typical and readily available “indirect” water heater tank such as the SuperStor by HTP. Other sorts of options are available depending on your situation and need.
The delivered cost of these fuels can be deceiving. More expensive pellets have lower cost boiler systems while least cost green chips have very expensive systems.
It is true that all three of these biomass fuels contain the same varieties and quality of wood, but there are significant differences in how easy they are to move around and in the moisture content. For example pellets are compact, have 8% moisture and are easy to move from storage using a blower. Green chips are heavy with up to 50% moisture (water), of a wide range of shapes and sizes and are hard to move around--heavy equipment is required. PDC screened and dried wood chips are right in-between with 25% moisture and a maximum size that allows them to be blown into silos and then use light augers to get them into the boiler.
This will vary from project to project. We have seen ROIs from 5 years to 20 years, with most projects less than 10 years.
The biggest variables are how many gallons of oil or LP gas is now being consumed annually, the price of that fuel (in the future, without a crystal ball) and how difficult is the installation of the biomass boiler system. A building that consumes a lot of fossil fuel will have more potential savings, and a difficult installation will cost have more costs. Other big factors are grants and rebates which can significantly reduce initial costs.
Yes, but only for state incentives as there is nothing from the federal level for biomass thermal systems. We are happy to explain the incentives that we know about for your state and can direct you to the agencies involved.
T-RECs are Class 1 Thermal Renewable Energy Certificates that can be generated by nearly any new commercial biomass boiler installation. As of this writing, only New Hampshire and Massachusetts have active programs that allowss biomass boiler system owners to obtain Thermal RECs.
The NH program is managed by the NHPUC and there are many rules that must be followed for the owner of a biomass heating system to benefit from them. T-RECs mainly apply to new systems which meet specific emissions and equipment requirements. Learn more and download the application.
When a qualified wood fuel is burned in a boiler, T-RECs can be generated by measuring the net heat output. One Megawatt of net heat = One T-REC. Roughly, burning 1 ton of wood pellets generates 4 T-RECs, burning 1 ton of PDCs generates 3 T-RECs and burning 1 ton of green wood chips generates 2 T-RECs.
Modern wood boilers have been designed to have very low emissions. All of the boilers that we install have been officially tested by independent labs under a variety of conditions.
Regulations in each state require that their normal emissions are below specific particulate matter (PM) targets—and these are significantly below levels that woodstoves and pellet stoves currently are allowed to meet. In fact, the pellet boilers we install have PM outputs that are much closer to oil boilers. Woodstoves have emissions that are 200 times worse than modern pellet and dry wood chip boilers
A well-managed forest is one which is thinned selectively which enhances the vigor of the best and most healthy trees, increasing the net carbon sequestration of that forest. A good thinning leaves 60% of the trees with room to grow. The 40% that is taken consists of lumber grade, veneer grade, and low-grade wood—which is what is used for biomass fuel.
The market price of low-grade wood has declined lately because of a glut caused by paper mills shutting down. Without income from the sale of low-grade wood, loggers and owners do not have enough incentive to thin a forest stand and the lack of income could cause them to sell off the land to developers.
When buildings are heated with biomass comprised of local and regionally derived low-grade wood, everyone benefits. When heating budgets are spent on biomass, that money stays in the region—employing loggers, foresters, truckers, and landowners.
Why send money spent on oil or propane to other states and countries? We think it is better to keep that money in the local economy!
Froling Energy aims to provide a “right sized” biomass system using fuels that make the most sense for the site and application. An important question is, how much heating fuel does your building use now?
With larger systems, we work with mechanical engineers who specialize in biomass boiler systems to arrive at the best possible design and details for your situation.
Froling Energy frequently self-performs most of the work in a boiler replacement project. Our in-house contracting services include project management, system and site design, equipment selection, procurement, demolition, building alteration, installation, piping, electrical work, start-up & commissioning, as well as ongoing service and maintenance.
On the other hand, if you already have a plumbing and heating contractor we can work with them. They can do the piping while we do all the biomass fuel material handling and storage work as well as system commissioning. Our goal is to give you the best results.