We Only Provide 100% Virgin Timber from Suistainable Sources, Dried to a Consistent 20% Moisture Content
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Biomass Heating Feasibility

Getting the right biomass heating system is about much more than just choosing a good quality boiler. Naturally, it requires a thorough understanding of biomass heating technology, as well as general heating and plumbing systems.
Ultimately though, the solution needs to make good economic sense for the client and this often means striking a delicate balance between energy demand, project costs, fuel costs and incentives. While replacing all existing boilers with biomass heating alternatives is perfectly possible, it is not always the optimal solution and there are some situations where a biomass heating system just doesn’t make good financial sense.
 
Hotel Biomass Boiler
 

Larger, more complex projects, in particular, frequently lead with biomass heating but retain fossil fuel boilers as a back- up during demand peaks because it makes practical and financial sense to do so.

When choosing a biomass heating system, it is important that you make sure that your provider explains the economics to you in detail so you are confident that, as well as getting the right technology, in the right place, that the numbers stack up for  you.

Regardless of the size and nature of a biomass heating project, our technical experts undertake a thorough feasibility of each site. They need to consider a number of parameters in order to make the right system recommendation.

These include:

  • Understanding your current heating and plumbing system
  • Understanding your heat demand at different periods throughout the year
  • Understanding your current energy costs
  • Determining whether your heat demand is best met by 100% biomass heating or by biomass heating as part of a broader solution
  • Defining how the biomass heating boiler will work with and communicate with your heating system, particularly where there are back-up fossil fuel boilers on site
  • Understanding how much control or interaction you want with the system
  • Accommodating any future building developments you may be considering

At Chip Chip Ltd we work with our sister company Wood Energy on the design and installation a biomass boiler to suit your needs.
 

Biomass Heating System Design

Larger commercial, new-build and refurbishment M&E projects are serviced directly by our sister company Wood  Energy Ltd. For these projects they provide a free biomass heating consultancy service.
Projects would typically be of a large and complex nature up to 10MWs and would be supported by their own in-house specialist technical engineering team. We have a range of detailed CAD drawings that encompass layout, connectivity and controllability of the boiler/s, Accumulator Tanks, the flue, the pipework and, where appropriate, district heat connections and Building Management Systems.
Biomass Heating System Design
Fuel options and availability

They supply wood chip, wood pellet and log boilers. Which fuel is the most suitable for you will depend on various factors including local availability, delivery access, space available and project budget. Advising you on fuel suppliers and fuel types is part of the standard design process available from ourselves and our Registered Installation Partners.
Probably the single, most important fuel consideration is quality. Fuel with a higher water content will reduce the efficiency of a boiler significantly and, if you ignore the guidelines provided, will potentially reduce its lifespan. That is why Chip Chip are leading the market development for force dried premium wood chip to ensure the best boiler performance.
Installations
Smaller commercial and domestic projects are serviced through the Hargassner Registered Installation Partners.

Registered Installation partners are located throughout the whole of the UK thereby offering a regional and local service. Each Registered Installation Partner has received specialist training from Wood Energy Ltd on Hargassner and Binder boilers and system design and possess a series of standard design layouts that Wood Energy Ltd has developed over many years. They also have access to the Wood Energy technical engineering department for complex design support where required ensuring that each project is comprehensively designed.
 
Fuel storage

Suitable storage is integral to the success of any biomass heating project. You need to be able to store a sufficient quantity of fuel in a place that is easily accessible for deliveries. Keeping the fuel dry is critical for both the efficiency and longevity of the boiler and so it is important to consider the whole transfer process, from lorry to store and then on to feed the boiler. Combustible fuels always require consideration and, to avoid over-exposure to any build-up of naturally occurring gas, it is good practice to control access to the fuel store and ensure there is adequate ventilation.

The Key To Biomass Boiler Efficiency

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Less Fuel. More Output (kWh). Higher RHI Payments.

Chip Chip is a consistent quality, high calori c wood chip fuel speci cally produced to get the highest possible performance from biomass boilers. Dried to the highest speci cation to provide the maximum kWh per tonne, Chip Chip ensures that a customer’s boiler achieves optimum energy efficiency and payback.

Optimum 20% Moisture Content

Meets The Design Criteria For High Performance Biomass Boilers.
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Improve Performance, Reduce Cost

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RHI payments are made quarterly, in arrears, and require that scheme participants submit regular meter readings related to their heat production and usage via a personal online account.
The metering systems are installed at point of generation and point of usage and there are rigorous conditions to be met related to their accuracy.
Getting the right biomass heating system is about much more than just choosing a good quality boiler. High performance biomass boilers are only as good as the fuel they burn. Anything other than virgin wood with no more than 20% moisture content will have a negative impact on the kWh output, maintenance costs and RHI payments.

Get It Dry, Keep It Dry

Purchasing the correct speci cation fuel is the rst step to energy ef ciency. An inadequately designed or constructed fuel store may allow water ingression, raising the moisture level of the fuel.
All RHI participants must buy ‘dry’ fuels, or allow fuel gathered from their own land to dry out before use, ensuring fuel doesn’t become damp while stored. If fuel is self-sourced, it may be necessary to test its moisture content. Moisture probes are commercially available.
Boiler owners, custodians and operators should check the emissions certi cate for the maximum moisture content allowed for their machine.
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So Why 20% Moisture Content?

18–22% is the optimum amount of moisture content required in wood chip to ensure the fuel burns cleanly and ef ciently. It is also the optimum price balance when calculated by the kWhr – which is the true fuel cost measure.
Biomass boilers are generally designed to work to these tolerances to maximise the RHI and to adhere to the clean air act. Those that aren’t will also see improvement in performance levels.
Wood chip with little or no moisture content burn too rapidly. Wood chip with more than the recommended moisture content reduces the power output and causes excessive tarring, ash production and emissions.

Calorific Comparison Example

A 199kW boiler using 200 tonnes of wood chip fuel per year at 45% moisture content is the equivalent of 127 tonnes of Chip Chip 20% moisture content fuel – Saving 73 tonnes/yr.
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The Best Return On Investment

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A Heat Meter Is A Bank Account – Make It Work.

CHIP CHIP ENSURES OPTIMUM 

90% 

EFFICENTCY OR ABOVE A 4 PENCE PER KW/H

Meets the design criteria for high performance biomass boilers and ensures low maintenance, low ash and optimal heat output.

FUEL AT 35% MOISTURE CONTENT. BOILER RUNNING

65%

EFFICIENCY AT 5.23 PENCE PER KW/H

The Boiler will require more maintenance and manual intervention as well as using around 25% more fuel and is unlikely to generate the same RHI earnings.

FUEL AT 50% MOISTURE CONTENT & ABOVE. BOILER RUNNING

55%

EFFICIENCY AT 5.7 PENCE PER KW/H

Requires around twice as much wood fuel and may not achieve the same RHI earnings.

The costs below are shown as both ‘input’ prices – i.e. the cost of the fuel before the inefficiency of the boiler, and the output price.

Most correctly commissioned wood fuel boilers are typically 85-90% ef cient, however its vital that correct fuel is used to attain such high boiler performance. The cost of heat ‘on the meter’ (after the inef ciencies of the boiler) will be the cost shown below divided by the ef ciency of the boiler.

  • 50% wet fuel at 3.13p per kWh, equivalent to £70 a tonne, with a caloric value of 2240kWhrs/t.

Based on 55% ef ciency – real price of 5.7p per kWh.

  • 35% wet and or contaminated fuel at 3.4p per kWh, equivalent to £105 a tonne, with a calori c value of 3100kWhrs/t.

Based on 65% efficiency – real price of 5.2p per kWh.

  • 20% of clean virgin wood chip at 3.62p per kWh, equivalent to £145 a tonne, with a caloric value of 4000kWhrs/t.

Based on 90% efficiency – real price of 4.02p per kWh.

Note: prices can vary from supplier to supplier. Quantities and nal purchase price may be effected by regional market forces. Please ask Chip Chip for a speci c quotation.
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Financial Sense

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Wood fuel quality is similar to the MPG of a car. The wetter the fuel – the less ‘mileage’ can be extracted and so more of it needs to be purchased. In simple terms, Fuel Consumption goes up.

If the boiler is running at 50% ef ciency due to poor quality, wet and/or contaminated fuel, it will use twice as much wood fuel to achieve the same RHI.
For example, a 205kW biomass boiler running 3000hrs per annum should generate around 615,000kWhrs/yr. However, if poor quality, wet (40% moisture content and above) and or contaminated fuel is used, then the ef ciency and output can drop dramatically, in some cases by as much as 50% if the boiler isn’t designed to run on high moisture content fuel. At the very least, more fuel will be required and at worst valuable RHI payments will be effected and maintenance bills will soar.

Chip Chip – Getting the Best out of Biomass

Most people make sure they are getting the highest bank interest rates and are paying the lowest tax…
…but fewer people check their boiler performance to make sure its running at the highest efficiency.

Using Wet And Inadequate Fuel Will;
Effect and reduce your RHI payments as your meter will not be registering the heat generated that it should be and fuel consumption (measured by the tonne) will increase.
When broken down, you’ll see there are many effects:

Net Effect
> more fuel used
> more deliveries & disruption > more maintenance
> less RHI income earned

Burn Less – Get More

205kW x 3000hrs = 615,000kWhrs


RHI Payments (at Nov 2015) = 1314hrs x 205kW x 5.18p = £13,953.37 plus 1686hrs x 205kW x 2.24p = £7,742.11. Total RHI Payments = £21,695.48/yr


Chip Chip fuel – 615,000kWhrs divided by 4000kWhrs (calori c value of Chip Chip fuel) = 153.7 tonnes/yr.

Wet fuel at 45% moisture content – 615,000kWhrs divided by 2540kWhrs (the calori c value of poor quality fuel) = 242 tonnes.
(This assumes the same boiler efficiency. In reality, boilers using wetter fuel are likely to be less efficient and so will actually use even more fuel).


Saving Over 90 Tonnes Of Fuel Per Year.

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Defining Quality Woodchip

What are the most important elements in wood chip

  • The high moisture content of the woodchip – wood chip that is low in moisture has a significantly higher calorific value
  • The actual woodchip specification, virgin vs waste – virgin woodchip does not have contaminants, therefore burns significantly more efficiently and cleaner
  • The amount of contaminants in the chip – wood without contaminants burns cleaner
  • The sizing of the chip – a consistent size of chip produces a consistent burn across the fuel supplied and is therefore more efficient
  • The level of power output – low moisture fuel burns more efficiently, therefore requires substantially less electricity
  • The efficient running of drive chains, augers and burn grates – with efficient burning, the stress on the boiler is reduced, thus there is less stress on the boiler elements and equipment

Fuel Security, The UK Energy Market

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The Price of Heat Fuel:

Over 90% of the variation in the average national retail prices of heating oil is explained by movements in the price of crude oil which in turn varies as a consequence of global events.

Price Trends
The chart shows average monthly prices since 2004. This of cial series goes up to February 2013 when the typical price hit a new high of 65.6 pence per litre. Prices increased from below 20 pence per litre in early 2004 to around 35 pence per litre in autumn 2007. The following price spike took the average to more than 60 pence per litre in summer 2008. Prices fell rapidly in late 2008 almost back to 30 pence per litre before increasing steadily throughout 2009 and early 2010. The earlier peak in April 2011 was still just below the summer 2008 level.
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 This series does not take into account short term or local variations in prices. For instance, the large reported price rises associated with the cold snap in late November and December 2010 are only partly re ected in this series. Daily averages reported show prices increasing rapidly to more than 70 pence per litre for much of early December of that year. The severe cold weather pushed up demand and led to general dif culties in supply and severe problems locally.
Both factors pushed up average UK prices at the time and led to larger than normal local variations in the short term. The typical mid month price on the of cial series was 50.2 pence per litre.
The Estimated Cost Of Heating A Typical Three Bed-House With Oil Has Been Second Only To LPG For Most Of The Past Seven Years.
In January 2013 the estimated national average cost of using oil for heating and hot water in a typical three bedroom house was just under £1,700 per year, compared to around £1,250 for gas.10 11
While the average cost of heating oil is almost 50% higher than mains gas, the cost of using LPG is almost double that of mains gas UK average heating oil and LPG heating costs have risen over the last four years, during which time LPG has been consistently the most expensive and heating oil has been the most volatile.
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Why Have Prices Increased By So Much?

 
VAT is charged on heating oil at the reduced rate of 5% since 1997. There is no duty on heating oil, so price changes are solely driven by changes in the pre-tax price. The main elements of the price of heating oil are the price of crude, the exchange rate, the difference between the cost charged by re neries for heating oil and the cost of crude12 and the costs and margins of suppliers in the UK. The price of crude is the main element; however it needs to be converted into Sterling to re ect the cost of the raw material in the UK. There will also be a lag between headline market prices (normally for delivery the following month), prices paid in the UK by re neries and delivery to oil suppliers.

The chart above compares prices paid for crude by UK re neries (in Sterling) with the earlier price series for heating
oil. They are presented as indices to help comparison. It shows that crude prices tend to be more volatile and ‘lead’ heating oil prices. There is some evidence of a relative seasonal increase in heating oil prices and an increase in the relative gap from early 2009. The two series have followed each other fairly closely
for much of the period. Directions of change have been very similar, although the magnitudes have varied. The spring 2011 increase in crude prices was noticeably steeper than the heating oil increase.

 
The price charged by refineries for petroleum products is not often the same as the price of crude. Most are more expensive but some, such as fuel oil, are cheaper. The differential re ects the different levels of demand for these fuels. There is limited exibility in the short to medium term in the amount of each type of product that can be re ned from a barrel of crude. This means their supply is effectively linked so an increase in demand for one product is normally linked to an increase in supply of all. This will, other factors remaining equal, increase the relative price of the in-demand products and reduces the price of others. This explains much of the seasonal variation in heating oil prices and why diesel is more expensive than petrol. The OFT found that for heating oil, there is a strong seasonal variation in demand, and after controlling for crude oil prices, retail prices do rise as temperature falls.
Industrial Fuel Price Trends 1992 to 2013
Average industrial electricity prices, including the Climate Change Levy (CCL), increased in real terms by 6.3 per cent between Q2 2013 and Q2 2014, whilst industrial gas prices including CCL decreased by 12 per cent in real terms. Over the same period, average coal prices increased by 2.0 per cent in real terms. Heavy Fuel Oil is not subject to CCL.
The inclusion of CCL increases the average price of coal by 5.3 per cent and the average price of electricity and gas by 2.8 and 3.5 per cent respectively in Q2 2014.
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