Pellet ON – Do you want to switch onto PELLETS?

25.06.2018

Are you looking for comfortable and efficient solution? What is important? What you need to know?

Ecology – empty words?

Almost everybody in Poland has been personally effected by negative effects of heating season. When washing balconies or terraces to remove carbon black deposits, you do not realize the real reason behind this problem and very often focus on aesthetics only. But carbon black contains a lot of toxic and harmful substances that we are exposed to every day. Many of them directly cause some diseases and disorders, mostly related to respiratory tract. Dirty elevations, facades and carbon black deposits visible all around make the situation worse and testify that it is serious problem. But there are many other invisible effects – resulted from illegal waste combustion or use of boilers that pollute the environment. Therefore – ecology is much more than empty words, and this is an issue of our everyday life. It is the high time to take care about environment and teach such responsible approach also the next generations. For this reason we should definitely prevent any further pollution and be committed to use every day ecological solutions only.

Ecology every day

Actually there are accessible environment friendly products that when used every day contribute to our health and clean environment. With regard to heating it is the pellets fuel that is getting more and more popular every day. Pellets are biofuels made from compressed organic matter or biomass. During pellet combustion process no carbon dioxide is released (a closed circuit in nature), therefore pellet is friendly for the environment and humans. It is possible also to claim that this biofuel is totally compatible with environment as firstly – it solves the problem related to wood waste management, secondly – reduces consumption of fossil fuels and thirdly – the ash may be used as fertilizer.

Pellets accessibility– facts and myths

At present Poland produces around 600 thousand tons of pellets a year, and Poland is the seventh biggest manufacturer in European Community. Actually neither production process neither pellet price is connected or affected somehow by political trends contrary to gas, coal of electricity. Russia will not restrict such supplies. These supplies are regulated by the free market, supply and demand as well as competition. The political situation plays no role whatsoever. Note also that you can purchase high quality pellets very quickly as it is available on the Internet, by phone, on petrol station or market … This material is available across the whole country.

Comfortable heating system - is it possible?

Pellets relate to solid fuel so use thereof for heating purpose is associated with boiler firing up, fuel loading, ash removal, cleaning of heat exchanger or burner. In fact the truth is quite different, as modern boilers eliminate these onerous works:

  • automatic burner cleaning– pneumatic cleaning very often does not ensure removal of heavy fractions from the burner, whereas mechanical burner cleaning ensure total removal of ash;
  • flue vertical flow– prevents ash deposits inside the heat exchanger, low performance and clogging of flue tubes;
  • cleaning system– exchangers are often provided with lever-operated devices that clean the exchanger during movement. State of the art boilers are fitted with automatic cleaning system, what prevents boiler opening and manual brushing of flue tubes;
  • automatic fuel loading– at this moment devices are available that enable loading of fuel from the big dispenser into the boiler. Therefore loading follows quickly and use of additional equipment is eliminated.
  • automatic firing up – this function adds to the comfort and reduces user’s work to minimum. Absence of this function actually disqualifies the pellet fired boiler;
  • temperature thermostat – an advanced controller ensures boiler and boiler room operation including pumps, valves, buffers, boiler and additional boiler using special sensors installed inside boiler room, apartment and outside the building;
  • convenient storage– pellets are mostly available in 15kg bags that ensure easy and convenient loading and storage;
  • decreased ash quantity –widely available pellet contains from 0.4% to 1% of ash. Consequently combustion 1 ton pellet will result in generation of 4 to 10kg of ash that may be used as fertilizer.

In short – in fact manual work required during efficient boiler operation takes no more than 15 minutes a week.

Which pellet fired boiler offers efficiency?

When planning purchase of boiler note that its design shall be purposed for pellet combustion, because only these models are provided with specially designed solutions that ensure efficient boiler performance during operation. Furthermore only the state-of-the art boilers ensure highest combustion efficiency in total working range, what has direct impact on quantity of consumed fuel. Any modifications or alterations made to enable pellet combustion will never ensure performance or efficiency provided by pellet dedicated boilers. So what kind of equipment shall be installed on highly efficient pellet fired boiler?

  • Burner – pellet relates to biomass that will be gasified, therefore burner design shall ensure proper combustion temperature and required volume of oxygen. Whereas conventional pellet combustion offers significantly lower efficiency.
  • Heat exchanger – heat exchange degree may be easily verified on basis of flue temperature. This measurement is conducted by laboratory according to applicable standard. The average flue temperature at nominal output and efficiency over 90% shall not be over 140oC. Flue temperature over 160oC disqualified the pellet fired boiler.
  • Control – boiler operation includes many phases, begging from firing up through stabilization, achieving nominal output, nominal output, output reduction, and finally shut down. However the crucial issue is that the boiler achieves the highest efficiency at any phase of operation. Such performance is ensured with top-secret output modulation algorithms developed by boiler manufacturer.

Use of pellets for heating purposes reduces significantly costs related to heating, as costs of this fuel are lower than gas or electricity, and comparable to coal. According to statistics, pellet heating reduces costs as much as 60%. Parameters and attractive price makes pellet a perfect fuel for heating purposes.

Boiler with or without lambda probe?

There are many factors that results in poor combustion and boiler efficiency, namely: atmospheric pressure fluctuations, strong wind, a high chimney, poor quality pellet or frequently changed heating parameters. You can prevent poor combustion and low efficiency by using lambda probe- a small sensor that controls oxygen content in flue to ensure combustion process optimization. Thanks to this sensor developed algorithms control fan and feeder operation, and at the same time ensure tangible savings.

Hot – Cold – Colder

According to applicable standard pellet fired boilers shall undergo test regarding temperature 70°C to 90°C that is the standard operating temperature of pellet fired boiler. To compare – in case of gas, heating oil fired boilers or heat pumps temperature of heating water is usually from 30oC to 40oC, as higher temperatures result in significantly lower efficiency. This parameter disqualifies gas fired, oil boilers and heat pumps regarding use with traditional installation. Pellet fired boiler will be a good solution both in such installation and in case of newly erected thermally insulated buildings and will provide comfort as well as higher operating temperature.

Thermal, maximum or optimal efficiency?

EN303-5 Standard applicable in European Community laid down specific requirements regarding boiler tests and parameters. One of them is thermal efficiency related as XXXXX number instead of the range “from -to” or an approximate value or „~”. This Standard does not specify optimal, maximum or desired efficiency. Note to check thermal efficiency before purchasing the boiler– as this will enable a reliable analysis and selection of the most-efficient one.

Costs, costs, costs .....

Fuel Price Actual
combustion
efficiency
Cost of 1 kWh
Natural gas 2,5 zł/m3 99 % *  0,32 zł
Heating oil 3,2 zł/l 90 %  0,50 zł
Eco-peal coal 850 zł/t 75 %  0,16 zł
Pellets 900 zł/t 90 %  0,20 zł

 * - Efficiency above 100% specified by boiler manufacturer results from the method of calculation, as actual efficiency is below 100%. Calculations depend from many individual factors and may be different regarding parameters obtained by boiler users. The above table specifies cost of kWh for different fuels and enables quick comparative analysis regarding actual costs of heating. The list includes exclusively devices with automatic fuel supply system. The analysis indicated that Eco peal coal is the cheapest fuel at present. Pellet is more expensive ca. 20%, whereas natural gas is more expensive than Pellet by ca. 60%. We can explain that with the following illustration: if we consume 5 tons of that Eco peal coal a year, priced PLN 4250.00, to obtain the same temperature with pellet heating we will spend PLN 5100.00. To compare –natural gas will cost PLN 8160.00, whereas heating oil will cost PLN 12811.00. Calculation is therefore very easy – if we replace the gas boiler with pellet fired boiler we will save PLN 3060.00 a year.

Safety for the user and his family

You can say or write a lot about ecology or possible savings, however it is safety of the user and his family that is the priority. Therefore when choosing a device and technology the main criterion shall always be total safety. For this purpose, some very important factors shall be taken into account:

  • Rotary valve– a steel or cast iron rotating valve that cuts off fuel inside the dispenser from the boiler protects against firing. It is standard protection installed in pellet fired boilers by the western manufacturers;
  • Plastic hose– it is a cheaper alternative to the rotary valve, installed mostly in simple and cheap boilers. In case of fire return to the dispenser, hose will be consumed by fire and damaged totally what provides for boiler cutting off from fuel dispenser. In above will follow hose replacement is necessary;
  • Exhaust fan– in case of boiler leakages (e.g. a damaged door gasket), the supply fan blows flues out of the boiler to the boiler room. Whereas the exhaust fan provided to discharge flues into the chimney (is usually installed on flue outlet) will discharge the ambient air from the boiler room in this case.

Talking about safety we should remember about the advantage of pellet over the natural gas that poses risk of explosion in case of any leakage from gas piping and installation. Pellet boilers offer totally safe heating of houses, and other buildings.

What "Clean pellet” means?

Clean boiler room, loading without dusting, as well as the roof, terrace and area without carbon black deposits- these are other benefits of pellet. This is environmentally friendly solution that is safe for user and his family and offers significant savings. Comfort, safety and savings - these are some of advantages of this fuel. The above information does not constitute an offer and the presented calculation depend on many individual factors and may differ from parameters obtained by boiler users.

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