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Will Ayers

Bio energy geeks needed

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A client of mine is a big land owner, he wants to look in to producing wood pellets for biomass etc. he wants to explore whether its worth a punt at growing biomass in the less favourable part of his farm etc and also whether he can feasibly process and manufacture the pellets or whatever.... I just fell his awkward trees occasionally but he has come to me for advice.

 

He wants to pay someone to take around the farm and offer advice etc. Any Biomass consultants worth there salt kicking around here? no chancers or armchair proffessionals he wants a true biomass geek who understands the ins and outs from tree to product....

 

:001_smile:

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I'm no expert, given an opportunity I'd build the Jean pain mound. It's a heap of woodchip with a pipe coiled through it and gives 6 months of hot water.

You end up with a useful pile of composted chip.

 

Won't get you any grant or subsidy, which seems to be the motivator these days.

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I had a demo a while back in mid Wales and the boiler manufacturer was there too.

 

Nice chap who could not see the point that the huge majority of affordable chippers did not make a suitable chip for his auger fed boiler. He had a gauge and was picking bits off the heap and pushing them through the holes but I took it off him and proved that it might fit lengthways but not widthways!

 

Eventually, I had to say, "Listen chap, the average farmer does not want to spend a huge wad on a machine that has a sole purpose unless it is a combine. Why aren't you designing a feed system that accepts the woodchip that comes from the majority of chippers that are available and suitable for his general needs. Especially as grant money will be thin on the ground.!"

 

I'm sure that your man would be better off talking to the NFU advisers rather than sales people!

 

Will, good picture of the Cathedral at dusk btw.

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Aye an informed land/forestry agent may be the way to go.

 

And it will depends wether he is going to produce chip or the extra work to produce pellets, must admit i though thte pellets were produced from more sawdust waste type products.

 

Most of the land owners in my local area have ripped out all the willow they had planted, don't think returns where anything near wot they were originally promised. Plus land is pretty tied up.

A lot of soft wood is harvested prematurely for boimass so wether that is more productive than willow althou a longer rotation.

A lot may depend on soil type climate etc

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A lot of the self proclaimed experts in this arena will be experts at the talk and juggling government grants and various schemes, but not a great deal of depth to their knowledge. my parents for one were sold an air source heat pump setup, which was to be connected to the existing woodstove with integral boiler. It's 2 years on and it's still not sorted.

A waste company round here was one of 4 that invested in a company that built waste to electric power stations. None were ever commissioned the company did go bust in the end but was clueless all along.

I have little confidence in any "green" or "bio" firm.

I bought my own solar hot water system fitted it to my woodstove setup and got a plumber to do a few bits. It works and I know were I am with it.

 

That is the way forward do it privately.

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We run a couple of large biomass boilers and get good RHI payments on the newest one. Looking at CHP at present but some of the advice is unbelievable. Few salesmen offer honest advice, some bend the truth and some are plain wrong. A consultant was recommended and again wrong advice, the suggested system was the wrong one for our heat usage pattern and consequently payback would have been close to 20 years rather than the suggested 2.

Best for your customer to do some research first, understand the payments, requirements etc then get some advice. At least that way he might spot the poor advice and poor return on investment traps.He needs to be VERY careful.

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We run a couple of large biomass boilers and get good RHI payments on the newest one. Looking at CHP at present but some of the advice is unbelievable. Few salesmen offer honest advice, some bend the truth and some are plain wrong. A consultant was recommended and again wrong advice, the suggested system was the wrong one for our heat usage pattern and consequently payback would have been close to 20 years rather than the suggested 2.

Best for your customer to do some research first, understand the payments, requirements etc then get some advice. At least that way he might spot the poor advice and poor return on investment traps.He needs to be VERY careful.

 

As part of the research look at

 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/03/uea-abandons-ambitious-biomass-scheme

 

Which shows even geeks get is spectacularly wrong, I was shown round this plant by a young lady whilst it was being built and told her it would be problematic as it was a simple scaled up Imbert gasifier, she has never spoken to me since.

 

Wood is a good energy source, it isn't a good fuel in its unrefined state.

 

My old boss was involved in a CHP scheme running an internal combustion engine on pellets and there are a couple with many hours of continuous working but I haven't heard from him recently either.

 

We ran a gas turbine briefly on the offgas from a char kiln but the extra capital cost over just getting heat out was prohibitive.

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