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Drying Firewood when RHI payments stop.

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I know many people in the Firewood business are wondering what will happen to those who's business relies solely on drying their Firewood using the RHI Tariff payments to cover the cost of drying.

Businesses such as Certainly Wood are nearly 10 years into the 20 year RHI term - In 10 years all RHI payments to them stop.

I'm interested to hear the views of others on the Forum.

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The fans in the kiln cost more to run than the chip that runs the kiln by quite some margin. We’ll be needing solar panels by the time RHI runs out!

In our case firewood and the kiln weren’t even factored into the cost of our installation as the primary use of the boiler is to heat livestock sheds.

For this reason I would like to think that our business can outlast the others in the area, given that we’re taking their business on a regular basis anyway I’m not worried.

Some companies are undoubtedly based around the RHI payments but the good ones will survive.

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8 minutes ago, SbTVF said:

The fans in the kiln cost more to run than the chip that runs the kiln by quite some margin. We’ll be needing solar panels by the time RHI runs out!

In our case firewood and the kiln weren’t even factored into the cost of our installation as the primary use of the boiler is to heat livestock sheds.

For this reason I would like to think that our business can outlast the others in the area, given that we’re taking their business on a regular basis anyway I’m not worried.

Some companies are undoubtedly based around the RHI payments but the good ones will survive.

Do you then, think it will be economic to buy in roundwood to burn to dry your Firewood when the RHI payments run out?

 

I have seen some Threads on here where people drying have calculated the costs of drying and from what I recall the cost to dry Firewood per m3 for roundwod and electricity was in the region of £20 - 25  Depending if on woodchip boiler or gasification log boiler.  

 

 

Edited by arboriculturist

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Oh yeah definitely. We only use 100t of softwood roundwood a year.

We also use as much arb waste, hedgerow clearings and any other fallen trees (lots of big knackered willow at the side of the streams near us) that chip up great after storing for 12 months. Saves a decent amount.

 

We maybe use an extra 20t per year at the most due to the kiln. Not even £1000 of softwood.

 

Still works out cheaper than putting up another steel framed building to season logs in. We’re short of space anyway so can’t sacrifice much more room for one!

 

I’d happily sell seasoned or fresh out the stack for people to dry themselves and I’m always trying to get people to do that but they just don’t seem interested in the extra effort. They’d rather have it on demand ready to burn the second it arrives. We’ve got to supply the demand.

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I don't see it making a major difference when RHI stops, RHI was a bonus to encourage boilers but it's not a necessity. At a guess it would only cost an extra £10 a cube but even then it would be better value than having 5-10 times the storage for a lot of businesses.

 

On top of that regulations are demanding drier wood all the time so there will be plenty of customers who demand their wood is dried.

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Would be interesting to hear what it's costing people. We're around £9 a cube before rhi which is similar. That's averaged with the chip we do and doesn't include paying for the boiler itself. 

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How many metres do you dry with the 20 tonne Softwood and have you callculated costper m to dry 


If the kiln runs 24/7 365 days a year we can do approx 800 cube give or take 16 one way or the other (that’s its capacity) so the softwood and contractor chipping alone is going to cost us about £1.50 -£2 per cube.

Given that a shed to store that many bags will be in the region of 20grand, probably more once you concrete the floor slab, even though we have a building fabricator based on our yard, it’s pretty cheap to start with. Obviously a shed will last a lot longer than RHI.

I couldn’t comment on what electricity we are using for the fans though. I would have to find out their rating and calculate the cost. I can’t get at their label in their current position.
FJMatt is running the same fans I think, he may know what their usage is?

The boiler will have paid for itself in 8 years of electricity savings that are made from no longer using electric heat mats for piglets aged 0-9 weeks. It also made other welfare improvements possible that are hard to quantify but equally as important.

If it dies and has to be replaced at some point then god knows how we’ll get the thing out of where it is but it should be interesting for sure!
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10 hours ago, gdh said:

Would be interesting to hear what it's costing people. We're around £9 a cube before rhi which is similar. That's averaged with the chip we do and doesn't include paying for the boiler itself. 

Does the £ 9 cube include electricity for the fans and also the boiler won't last forever, which as you know is a big stack of money to replace.

 

What I like about natural air drying is, although you need to invest in a lot of containers, you are not effected by price rises for electricity and softwood for drying price increases, which really hurt those who have to dry a lot. 

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2 hours ago, SbTVF said:

 


If the kiln runs 24/7 365 days a year we can do approx 800 cube give or take 16 one way or the other (that’s its capacity) so the softwood and contractor chipping alone is going to cost us about £1.50 -£2 per cube.

Given that a shed to store that many bags will be in the region of 20grand, probably more once you concrete the floor slab, even though we have a building fabricator based on our yard, it’s pretty cheap to start with. Obviously a shed will last a lot longer than RHI.

I couldn’t comment on what electricity we are using for the fans though. I would have to find out their rating and calculate the cost. I can’t get at their label in their current position.
FJMatt is running the same fans I think, he may know what their usage is?

The boiler will have paid for itself in 8 years of electricity savings that are made from no longer using electric heat mats for piglets aged 0-9 weeks. It also made other welfare improvements possible that are hard to quantify but equally as important.

If it dies and has to be replaced at some point then god knows how we’ll get the thing out of where it is but it should be interesting for sure!

 

Here's fan details Steve 

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