Fuelling your Boiler

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Gary Battell Suffolk County Council Woodland & Woodfuel Advisory Officer [email protected] Fuelling your boiler Government Business Award Winner Ashden Award Winner Confor Oscar Award Winner

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Presentation given at the CLA's Woodfuel Conference at Doddington Hall on Wednesday 30 October by Gary Battell, Suffolk County Council Woodland and Woodfuel Adviser.

Transcript of Fuelling your Boiler

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Gary BattellSuffolk County Council

Woodland & Woodfuel Advisory Officer

[email protected]


your boilerGovernment Business Award Winner

Ashden Award Winner

Confor Oscar Award Winner

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Lincolnshire – Woodfuel Potential

408 x 50 kW boilers

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Woodfuel Potential

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Boiler & Woodland Owner

• Typically rural estates with their own resource

supplying their own boiler/s

Woodfuel Purchaser

• Single or multiple end users purchasing wood

under a supply purchase/contract.

Heat Supply ESCo

• Energy Services Company supplies heat (and

boiler/s) to an end user via a heat meter.

Three main ways to fuel your boiler

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Fuelling your boiler

• Fuel storage design is crucial – Your fuel supplier /

chipper operator should be project design partners.

• Have adequate access and avoid side slope.

• In urban areas and in retrofits pellets should be

considered to reduce number of deliveries / noise &


• Optimum size of storage = 1.5 x 2 delivery size

= 20m3 - 30m3 - 68m3 - 110m3

• Keep fuel deliveries to a minimum – they are costly!

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• Boiler owners will go where the cheap supply is...

• but woodfuel suppliers will always have to meet the boilermanufacturers fuel specification.

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Cheap fuel = Big Problems (MDF, plastic, metal and stones)

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Fuel Supply

1. Have your fuel supply in place at the design stage of the project.

2. Buy / produce CEN standard fuels.

3. Use industry standard delivery methods, fittings and pipe sizing.

4. Shop around for your fuel; the local supplier maybe be able to providequality fuel at a reduced price e.g. Pellets £230 / £185 = 19.56% saving.

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CEN Standards are useful for buyers and sellers of woodfuel

Boilers will require fuel to specific CEN standards

Methods and characteristics can be measured by:

• Sampling

• Particle size

• Bulk density

• Moisture content

• Ash content

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The fuel specifications and classes for all solid biofuels are set out in CEN/TS 14961:2005, which defines

certain parameters and property classes.

Normative specifications for wood chips:

• Origin

• Particle size (P16/P31.5/P45/P63/P100)

• Moisture content (M20/M25/M30/M40/M55/M65)

• Ash content (A0.7/A1.5/A3.0/A6.0/A10.0)

Normative specifications for chemically handled wood or used wood:

• Nitrogen (N0.5/N1.0/N3.0/N3.0+)

Informative specifications for wood chips include:

• Net energy content (lower heating value (LHV)) as MJ/kg or kWh/m3 loose

• Bulk density in kg/m3 loose

• Chlorine content (Cl0.03/Cl0.07/Cl0.10/Cl0.10+)

• Nitrogen (N0.5/N1.0/N3.0/N3.0+)

Many other properties may also be specified, including concentrations of many other elements and volatile matter and ash melt ing behaviour. Different specifications

are required for different fuels, and for pellets and briquettes these include mechanical durability and particle density.

About CEN/TC 335

CEN/TC 335 allows all relevant properties of the fuel to be described, and includes both normative information that must be provided about the fuel, and informative information that can be included but is not required.

CEN/TC 335 biomass standards

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EN 14961, structured by mass fractions

Standard Main fraction FinesCoarse

fractionExtreme values

P > 80% <5% <1%

P16 3.15 ... 16 mm <1 mm > 45 mm <85 mm

P45 3.15 ... 45 mm <1 mm > 63 mm <120 mm

P63 3.15 ... 63 mm <1 mm > 100 mm <350 mm

P100 3.15 ... 100 mm <1 mm > 200 mm <350 mm

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Woodfuel consumers can be confident if they purchase

their fuel from a supplier who is accredited under a

woodfuel assurance scheme.

Independent quality testing ensures that the producer

and the supplier know how to make or supply fuel that

will be correct for a boiler and comply to the CEN


Accreditors take a simple, practical approach to

accreditation, but they do undertake a stringent quality

evaluation regime that means woodfuel production costs

can be kept down whilst quality improves.

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A reliable source of correctly specified

woodfuel is vital to the efficient, trouble-free

operation of a biomass boiler.

The majority of boiler problems arise from

poor quality fuel of the wrong specification.

(90% +)

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Felling while the sap is up will mean more bark is removed – this will aid seasoning

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Hygiene at all stages from the forest to the boiler are vital

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Do not store wood on shady, damp and windless rides, it will never dry

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Stack and store your wood in a dry sunny location

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Use bearers to keep your woodfuel off the ground

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Try and keep species, large and small diameter timber in separate stacks

(One year for most conifer species depending on spp./dia. & location)

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Keep gaps between the rows for better air circulation

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Date your stacks

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It’s dangerous to stack timber too high. 2m by ROW and 3m max.

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All the debris in high heaps gets into the lower logs and creates poor woodchip

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Store your wood close to the chipping site and woodchip storage

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Snow melts in this country!

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Covering heaps is a good idea, especially when producing fuel for small boilers

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You might have to buy or sell wood and buy woodchip

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Fresh felled timber

Drying outside




Ready for use

5.5 %

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Chipping companies are offering varying services & outputs that meet client needs

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Do not store woodchip outside and expect to see it at below 30% MC!

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Moisture content is crucial - it should always be below 30%

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Test the moisture content

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1. Season your wood in a dry, sunny and windy location.

2. Put your logs on bearers.

3. Keep your heaps at least 1m apart.

4. Chip your wood in August / September.

5. Store conifer a minimum of 1 year *

6. Store hardwood a minimum of 2 years *

7. Consider splitting larger diameter logs.

8. Use the correct sieves in the chipper.

9. Use sharp blades.

10.Store the woodchip undercover.

11.Store chip in a store with good wind circulation.

• This does vary according to species, diameter and UK location.

Producing good quality woodfuel

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CEN standard woodchip is essential to running an efficient woodchip boiler.

It is easy to achieve

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Store your woodchip undercover in a well ventilated store

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Manage your woodchip heaps so that you can always get the driest fuel

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A simple gale breaker door can provide air flow & stop rain ingress

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This would not be an adequate woodchip store

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This is now a highly suitable woodchip store that was achieved through partnership working

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Chip Store - Points to consider

Direct chipping / chip delivery design

Log storage – Close to the store

Access – for chipper and delivery vehicles around the store

Hygiene – Hard standing for wood prior to chipping

From chipper to store – Make sure you can move the chip fast enough

Air flow around logs and in the store

Sealed lower joints to stop water ingress


Access to two heaps of woodchip

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Using existing equipment to load your fuel hopper is the cheapest option

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Delivery with a high-lift trailer works very well

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Blown delivery is a quick & easy. Blown delivery will limit you to fewer suppliers

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Underground storage maybe effective on large scale biomass projects

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• Milling oak (planking) £165 - £250 /m3 £6-£9 /Hft

• Milling oak (beaming) £100 - £125 /m3 £3.60-£4.50 /Hft

• Milling ash £60 - £90 /m3 £3.60-£4.50 /Hft

• Firewood (mixed species) £12 - £20 /m3 £0.43-£0.72 /Hft


• Sawlogs £18 - £24 /m3 £0.65-£0.87 /Hft

• Bars £8 - £12 /m3 £0.29-£0.43 /Hft

• Chip £0 - £10 /m3 £0 - £0.36 /Hft

Biomass at roadside £20 - £24 /m3 £0.72 - £0.87 /Hft

Summary of current prices (Standing)

£24 & £165

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CW Chip£24 / £62

Natural Gas 1.78 p/kWh5.5 p/kWh£/tonne Equiv. £/kWh

CW Chip£24 / £62

Heating Oil/Gas Oil 19.28 p/litre54p/litre£/tonne Equiv. £/litre

NCH Chip

£165 / £211Natural Gas

6.39 p/kWh5.5 p/kWh£/tonne Equiv. £/kWh

NCH Chip

£165 / £211Heating Oil/Gas Oil

69.37 p/litre54p/litre£/tonne Equiv. £/litre

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Natural Gas 1.72 p/kWh5.5 p/kWh

CW ChipEquiv. £/kWh

£/tonne Heating Oil/Gas Oil18.65 p/litre

(54 p/litre)Equiv. £/litre


Natural Gas 2.24 p/kWh5.5 p/kWhNCH Chip

Equiv. £/kWh

£/tonneHeating Oil/Gas Oil 24.33 p/litre

(54 p/litre)Equiv. £/litre

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Heating Oil/Gas Oil£0.61

CW Chip£196.21

£ per litre Equiv. £/tonne

Heating Oil/Gas Oil£0.61

NCH Chip£185.53

£ per litre Equiv. £/tonne

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Good fuel and well specified boilers are giving many people highly efficient heat

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Gary BattellSuffolk County Council

Woodland & Woodfuel Advisory Officer

[email protected]


your boilerGovernment Business Award Winner

Ashden Award Winner

Confor Oscar Award Winner

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© This presentation cannot be stored or reproduced in any form without permission in writing to:

Gary Battell

[email protected]@afiweb.net

T: 01473 264776 or M: 0750 1463832

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Gary Battell has over thirteen years extensive practical experience within the biomass industry. He along with the late Alan Tong and Peter Brown were the initial champions for biomass at Suffolk County Council, who have installed twenty seven biomass boilers.

Gary worked with the late Robert Rippengal and Clarke Willis to set up Anglia WoodfuelsLtd, a hugely successful wood chipping and woodfuel advisory cooperative that operated throughout the East of England.

As a result of Suffolk County Council’s commitment to biomass Eastern Woodfuels, a new Suffolk business was set up by Sarah Brown at Bentwaters Parks to supply Suffolk County Council with woodfuel. Gary Battell advises them on the wood supply chain, chipping, storage and woodfuel quality. Eastern Woodfuel has provided Suffolk County Council with consistent excellent quality woodfuel and delivery.

Gary also has offered advice to numerous private individuals, businesses and charitieswho have installed boilers.

Suffolk County Council employ Gary as their Woodland Officer, he is also a Director of Small Woods, Heartwoods, RFS & Confor regional committee member, EWTP member and steering group member. Gary also sits on the Steering & Exec. committees of WoodfuelsEast and the Wild Venison Project.

Gary is also an accomplished speaker and writer on woodfuel and is the creator of the Woodfuel Wizard.