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Author Topic: Biomass CH advice, please  (Read 7240 times)
smitk008
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« on: May 04, 2012, 10:45:35 AM »

Hi all

i'm new to the forum and have read up on a few threads with interest. I would like to move away from oil to pellets but am having a few troubles finding the finance, the right system and the best advice.
With free advice from websites and people in the trade we have worked/had worked out a heat load whereby we need a boiler up to 15kw for heating radiators and hot water.
We need the automation as we work through the day, and need the convenience of bunging the pellets in and not having to worry about it for a couple of days. With two small nippers we need a decent but not massive supply of hot water (I'm hoping that a tank/store of 150-300litres).
Down here in Cornwall, we can usually do without heating in the mornings from mid April but the option of over-riding a digital system to put a bit of heating on, will have to be a consideration. And, yes I plan on doubling loft insulation, replacing old draughty windows and filling the extension roof with lots of layers of more insulation.
I have liked the Extraflame Melinda (competitively priced) but decided against having a focal-point boiler due to noise and the fact that it needs maintenance. We found the Extraflame LP14 to be a satisfactory alternative that could go in a purpose built utility space. At 4000 it seems like a good buy. The flue parts come in at 700. And, if I find someone who is MCS accredited I will hopefully be able to apply for the voucher.

Can anyone give me advice on a) alternative biomass boilers? that are sub 5000 b) heat and water storage and associated costs that i have overlooked!!  c) Applying for the RHP and finding a good Engineer near St Ives (I have checked the MCS website search facility)
Thanks
Kev
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renewablejohn
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2012, 11:41:00 AM »

Have you considered a cooking stove that will also do your CH and DHW. I suggest taking a look at an Austrian Lohberger cooking stove as it also gives you the option of using cheap logs as well as the convenience of expensive pellets and the stove is not that much more expensive then the figures your quoting. There use to be a quirk in the Vat rules whereby certain stoves had Vat at 5% whereas others had Vat at 17.5%. I know the rates will have changed since we bought our stove but does anybody know whether the quirk still exists as it made a big difference to the price of our stove.
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smitk008
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2012, 12:36:16 PM »

Thanks John

I did have a look at one or two, yes. Whilst they seemed like a good combination we felt that the timings of using the boiler and cooking food wouldn't always coincide, especially on a morning when we're rushing around trying to leave for work. I get the point about the wood v pellet costing though. And being a tight northerner I love to save a bob or two! I may have to give it another thought.
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dhaslam
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« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2012, 01:14:58 PM »

You can also have  a degree of automation by having a normal woodstove and  a heat store.   It means that you can use ordinary firewood if there is a local source.   There is also the advantage  that you can use input to the store from other sources including solar. 
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DHW 250 litre cylinder  60 X 47mm tubes
Heating  180,000 litre straw insulated seasonal store, 90X58mm tubes + 7 sqm flat collectors, 1 kW VAWT, 3 kW heatpump plus Walltherm gasifying stove
smitk008
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« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2012, 01:45:06 PM »

ok, dhaslam- this is where my naivety begins. I am aware of how the heat store holds the heat energy from a burner of fuel but I am unaware of how this is managed to give prolonged heating/hot water after the burning of a fuel has ceased, yet I realise that understanding this is crucial!!
I recall reading of a 'tank within a tank' system and stratification. Would you be able to explain a basic system (in the meantime I will try to find a case study on google).
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gb484
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« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2012, 02:08:43 PM »

4,000? Look again! http://www.arredatutto.it/shop/shopping_cart.html
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gb484
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« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2012, 02:11:39 PM »

martin, please delete if this constitutes spam amd accept my apologies
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gb484
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« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2012, 02:23:36 PM »

Reworded post: I would advise anyone planning to make a major investment on equipment - 4,000 -  to have a thorough trawl through the Internet first, since prices can vary considerably from supplier to supplier and indeed, from country to country. Many forum members buy from Poland, but there are other places in the EU that are worth investigating.
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smitk008
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« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2012, 02:48:21 PM »

Thanks GB484

I did find one on Italian Ebay for way under 3000, but if the RHI was to kick in how could I make it worth my while? I thought it all had to be MCS accredited, blah blah blah.
There is a phenomenal mark up on these products if they're supplied by MCS suppliers in the UK.
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dhaslam
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« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2012, 03:21:59 PM »

Using a store in conjunction with a stove is fairly simple.   My store is about 860 litres and is separate from the DHW cylinder.    The store is heated by the stove in the evening, usually  it has to stay burning after the underfloor circuits are  closed. The following morning  the underfloor circuits open and are heated from the store.   My house doesn't need heat during the day normally but in the evening there will be some heat left in the store which will keep the circuits going  until the stove is lit.     Of course 860 litres is quite small, it only stores one kWh for each  degree of temperature rise.     For a house with more normal insulation  the store would need to be  bigger.     My  solar panels heat the DHW cylinder  but my home made panels make a small contribution to the store and should be a lot better when the  insulation is improved.    Evacuated tubes will  provide a contribution in all but very dull weather  but they need to heat the  bottom  part of the store and  returns from the heating circuit need to go above  that  level.   

Generally there won't be  stratification in the store except that volumes are reserved by   separation of inlet and outlet pipes.  DHW at the top, low temperature solar in the bottom and  heating circuit flow and return in the larger middle area.   

I avoided a pellet stove for two reasons,  I was concerned about reliability and maintenance of the stove  but also there are  no local suppliers of pellets and  the cost seems to be about double that of  firewood.       
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DHW 250 litre cylinder  60 X 47mm tubes
Heating  180,000 litre straw insulated seasonal store, 90X58mm tubes + 7 sqm flat collectors, 1 kW VAWT, 3 kW heatpump plus Walltherm gasifying stove
renewablejohn
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« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2012, 07:02:11 PM »

Thanks John

I did have a look at one or two, yes. Whilst they seemed like a good combination we felt that the timings of using the boiler and cooking food wouldn't always coincide, especially on a morning when we're rushing around trying to leave for work. I get the point about the wood v pellet costing though. And being a tight northerner I love to save a bob or two! I may have to give it another thought.

The point with the Lohberger is that its a fully automatic wood pellet stove but as a side trick can burn ordinary logs. As for breakfast a full english is on the cards every day if you want as the pellet stove is fully automatic lighting in sufficient time to have a hot stove.
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