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Billhook

Future Firewood Demand Optimism?

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Not like a farmer to be optimistic but perhaps with the current hike in gas and electricity prices, coupled with the net zero initiative and the move to all electric cars, people may find it hard to pay the increases to keep warm.  Keeping warm is the greatest cost.

I see they had to fire up a coal power plant recently as the wind power had faded. Gas being phased out and the electric demand will no doubt cause power cuts

what d’y’all think?

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7 minutes ago, Billhook said:

Not like a farmer to be optimistic but perhaps with the current hike in gas and electricity prices, coupled with the net zero initiative and the move to all electric cars, people may find it hard to pay the increases to keep warm.  Keeping warm is the greatest cost.

I see they had to fire up a coal power plant recently as the wind power had faded. Gas being phased out and the electric demand will no doubt cause power cuts

what d’y’all think?

I suspect firewood will never be an economic fuel unless you DIY but yes there is a big hike in gas and electricity costs coming.

 

For my part I shall cut my use of electricity and for my granddaughter's house I have ordered a new flue fitting and compliant register plate in case she starts using the woodburner.

 

I have suggested my elder daughter does not have the chimney removed  in planned alterations.

 

My chief worry as I become increasingly decrepit is my ability to supply enough dry logs from odd jobs.

 

As to the general picture there is no way homegrown wood can make much of an impression on home heating.

 

To my mind in the winter and given the need for EV charging why are we not seeing viable home CHP? British gas trialled this but just seemed to drop it.

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Yeah, not convinced it will increase demand, particularly as there are people out there quite successfully presenting domestic solid fuel fires as dirty polluting things.  What might increase demand is more WFH though, those of us with stoves have to be here to feed them so when at home I burn more than I do when I'm in the office.  Having said that I DIY my wood from arisings so I'm not going to change the demand for logs :)

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36 minutes ago, Billhook said:

CHP seems to be fired by gas , which I thought is to be phased out apart from being expensive 


Improve your resilience and reduce energy spend with Combined Heat and Power (CHP), also known as...

 

Yes and gas will be discouraged from now. Our town centre has two internal combustion engined CHP units that deliver electricity and heat (or cooling) on a district water heating main to various buildings in the town. What I was meaning was in the smaller domestic sizes especially if it can deliver enough to charge a car battery as well as heat a house. The small Stirling engined units were being touted for this some years back.

 

The thing is if you are already committed to using gas for heating, and even if gas gets expensive it will still be imported if UK can compete for it on a rising world market, then why not get 25% of its thermal energy out as electricity and using the rest to heat the house? Actually the Stirling ones only generated 1kW so only about 10% conversion but a lean burn high compression spark engine optimised for working at its sweet spot should easily exceed 25%.

 

Capital cost is the issue but heat pumps are similar to Stirling engines with regard to wear and moving parts and are eye wateringly expensive compared with gas boilers.

 

Heat pumps are grant funded but only if the natural gas supply to the house is removed. There has been talk of no new gas connections for a while now but it would seem to make sense to get a bit more utility from existing connections. Same applies to oil heating.

 

BTW most of our electricity comes from dual cycle gas turbines, I was in the sea swimming by the Shoreham one yesterday, and these just about double the thermal conversion to electricity compared with a traditional coal plant.

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Since over half our electricity is powered by gas and nuclear seems to not be a popular option, how are we going to heat ourselves economically if gas is to be phased out

Capital cost is a major factor with Ground/air source or Stirling as I am lead to believe that a conventional radiator system would never deliver enough heat.  All the floors would need to be ripped up and replaced with underfloor heating to be effective.

We will have to wrap up well like our ancestors with lots of woolly sweaters.

Oh no , I just remembered, sheep are being phased out as well, too inefficient and too much farting I am told!

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1 hour ago, Billhook said:

Since over half our electricity is powered by gas and nuclear seems to not be a popular option, how are we going to heat ourselves economically if gas is to be phased out

I suspect the reason for phasing out natural gas for home heating is to conserve it for centralised electricity production, simply because it is the lowest carbon fossil fuel with 4 hydrogen molecules to one carbon .

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Yeah WFH last winter I burnt 12+M3, instead of about 8.5.  I'm not sure the cost increase of gas will drive people to wood if they buy it.... Is more likely to go the other way as per Irish potato famine. When the spud harvest failed prices went up, people couldn't afford their usual diet and were forced to give up the expensive bits (meat) to afford the staple (spuds) and actually consumed more spuds not less.  Gas =spuds, meat=luxury firewood. This scenario only applies to those that are hand to mouth and can't reduce savings or cut another luxury to afford to gas price hike though.  For the other, more wealthy, you could see an increased demand as wood costs less more then gas but more likely you buyers will accept a similar %age increase.. In so stick £10-20 on your price for a cube.

 

 

Edited by neiln

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I see round my way there is people selling un-seasoned Spruce for £100 a 90x90 dumpy bag. (think he's a member here) Will be interesting to see how that goes. If this continues then I'll seriously get into selling firewood. Id rip Spruce Saw Logs into firewood for those prices. 

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