If you’re interested in cutting back on your heating costs at home while at the same time reducing your carbon footprint, something you should consider is installing domestic biomass boilers. These come in many different types and sizes to fit every kind of need, and every different kind of biofuel that you can imagine. There are also different levels of automation, but with more automatic features the price will increase as well.
The First Step Will Be To Decide What Kind Of Biofuel You Have Available
There are thousands of different kinds of biofuel, in agricultural settings there is the waste from corn husks, corn stalks, avocado seeds, olive seeds, straw, and hundreds of other waste products that are left over after harvest. Poultry, cow, horse and sheep bedding made from wood shavings are also thrown out by the ton and can be had for free in many areas.
In the food manufacturing sector nearly anything that is dried can be burnt for fuel, products like fruit peelings, seed husks, spent grains from brewing beer, used cooking oils, crushed seeds after oil extraction, coconut shells and millions of tons of other waste. Some estimates show beer brewing leaves 90% of the ingredients as waste after the process is complete.
There is also waste from manufacturing items from wood such as furniture, flooring, lumber, and other products. The waste from landscaping, tree trimming and house building. If you work in any of these industries you may be able to actually charge for the waste removal and hauling, then use it to make heat in your own domestic biomass boiler or furnace.
If Near Total Automation Is Important, Then Wood Pellets Are Best
Wood pellets are the most easily automated biofuel because they’re of uniform size, shape and moisture content. They can be loaded into a hopper that will feed them into the firebox of the boiler as needed with a large feeder screw that is computer controlled. There are large enough hoppers to enable the average home to only fill it once per week, making it the most hands free system.
However, even though the pellets tend to be less expensive than oil, gas and coal, they won’t be able to compete with free biofuel, that can be sourced from many places for free, with a little ingenuity and work. Many people in their jobs have inside tracks on free fuel that won’t be available to everyone.
Once You’ve Decided On The Fuel There Are Several Types Of Boilers And Furnaces
The major difference between a boiler and a water furnace is that the boiler heats the water above the boiling temperature and uses that steam pressure to force the water throughout the system. It’s slightly more dangerous because of the pressure, but boiler systems have been in use for hundreds of years.
A water furnace works in a similar fashion, but the water tank isn’t under pressure, it will have a relief outlet for steam, and uses an industrial water pump to send the hot water through the system. Water furnaces can be placed outside of the home where stoking them with fuel is less of a mess, and there is no chance of smoke fumes leaking inside the home.
Once You Have The Heated Water Under Pressure You Can Use It In Several Ways
The heated water can be pumped through standard radiators in each room, radiant floor heating systems, individual small heat exchangers with fans, or through a heat exchanger built into an existing fossil fuel furnace. The heat exchanger looks and functions very similar to a radiator on a car, although the fins are larger and it’s not built to take an accident.
The heat exchanger can be installed in the plenum of an existing furnace and be used part time or full time to heat the home, using the fossil fuels only during an emergency if need be. The thermostat from the furnace can automatically turn on the blower fan and water pump at the same time, bringing hot water into the exchanger while blowing air through it and into the regular heating ducts of the home just as if the fossil fuel furnace was operating.
There are hundreds of different options available when it comes to heating your home with biomass. The types of fuel available is nearly unlimited and many of the boilers can use several, depending on what’s cheapest and handy at the time. Setting up your system isn’t as complicated as it sounds, and there is plenty of information available online to research before you make your decisions.