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A rather large wood-fired boiler (Dan H.O

Leo G_99
Leo G_99 Member Posts: 223
Like my father before me, and his father before him, I heat about 70% of the time with wood. After this last December's wind storms, there is a lot of fuel just lying around!

Leo G


  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,487
    From Viessmann.

    Wood is the new gas in Europe.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Norm Harvey
    Norm Harvey Member Posts: 684

    They have wood in Europe? I thought they cut down all their trees to make charcoal years ago.

    Burning wood doesnt strike me as very "green" :)

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  • Eric Johnson
    Eric Johnson Member Posts: 174
    Greener than oil, gas or coal

    Trees are renewable; wood burns clean at that level; growing trees lock up carbon.

    You won't find a "greener" fuel than wood.
  • Troy_3
    Troy_3 Member Posts: 479
    new emission standards

    I was warned that in NY state they are actually fining residences that burn wood in outside non conforming boilers. Does anyone know for sure. No grandfather clause I was told. I haven't fired up my boiler yet but I'm concerned. It is a large investment to just use as a planter. If that is the case can you still burn a fireplace? I'm sure the emissions are not too clean from a chimney.
  • Joe_75
    Joe_75 Member Posts: 57


    Is this a water tube gasification unit. It looks like a steam drum on top.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,487
    I didn't get an explanation on this one.

    Just the photo.
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,487

    The movement in Europe is toward what they call "carbon neutral" and the thinking is that the tree is on the surface of the earth, and if it falls and rots it will release into the atmosphere the exact same amount of CO2 as it will if you burn it. And you can replant with a new tree to absorb that CO2.

    With gas or oil, you are reaching into the earth and bringing up "new" carbon, which increases the overall amount on the surface. That's why wood is becoming so popular there.

    In 2006, combined sales of ground-source heat pumps and wood-pellet boilers exceeded the total sales of oil-fired boilers in all of Europe, and cut significantly into the total sales of gas-fired boilers.

    The public is moving away from gas and oil, and the boiler manufacturers are hearing them, and responding with some amazing products. And there were far more of these products at ISH 2007 than at ISH 2005.

    Retired and loving it.
  • Eric Johnson
    Eric Johnson Member Posts: 174
    Nothing Statewide--yet

    It's a local thing, so it depends on the community. Some places around the country, including a few in New York, are banning the installation of new OWBs, but it's only a few communities so far. And those that are, usually grandfather existing installations. Check with your local codes officer to be sure.

    There are no restrictions on fireplaces or indoor wood-burning appliances in New York. The federal EPA does limit emissions on new wood stoves, but central heating appliances, like boilers, OWBs and furnaces, are exempt for some reason. The EPA regs on wood stoves are only on new units--existing stoves are grandfathered.

    Look for new EPA regs on the central heating wood burners soon. "Voluntary" standards are already being adopted by some manufacturers. They see the writing on the wall.
  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    Eric is correct

    I hafta' wonder if the regs are being pushed for a different reason though. Like you ticked off your neighbor when you smoldered the fire so it made a plume of smoke so thick you could cut it with a knife.

    I stop for coffee every morning at the same coffee shop and there is a home within sight of the place that has an OWB. Semi-rural area, however in this instance the guy with the OWB has a neighbor directly across the road from his house.

    Well........more often than not the smoke billowing from the OWB is quite thick and when the prevailing winds kick up.......hahahahaha.....the guy across the road gets to smell the fire. 24/7!

    All I can say is burn it HOT. Big storage tank and save your btu's. A smoldering fire is crap. You haven't released and captured all of the potential energy. It was wasted.

    I grew up during the oil embargo and I cut, split and stacked my share of wood. We went through 8 full cord per season. I will never do that again. I love a good fire, but the smell of 2 cycle oil makes my stomach turn and the sound of a chainsaw brings back horrible memories of spending my summer school break cutting, splitting and stacking. Heck! Even my ice auger makes me uncomfortable!

    Mark H

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  • jp_2
    jp_2 Member Posts: 1,935
    i agree Dan,

    well maybe, in part.

    rotting tree CO2 = burning tree CO2

    but, you can easily burn that tree in less than a month, where as that rotting tree may take 10 years or more.

    plus, you burn wood in the winter, how much CO2 does a tree take up during the winter?

    gotta go solar......

    ps. i burn wood :)
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,487
    I didn't get it at first

    and I was trying to shake the cobwebs out of my brain, but the more I thought about it, the more I got it. They're looking at "old carbon" vs. "new carbon."

    Also, the boilers that are burning it are quite remarkable.

    Here's a shot of the fuel in its various forms.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Eric Johnson
    Eric Johnson Member Posts: 174

    Winter vs summer has nothing to do with it. CO2 produced in the winter can be re-absorbed by growing trees in the summer. It would be a zero sum game, except for the continued exploitation of fossil fuel reserves.

    Managed forests (industrial and otherwise) grow faster and thus produce more wood and lock up more carbon (albeit temporarily) than unmanaged forests. While there's a real need for wilderness, there's plenty of wooded ground that could be used for energy production in this country, but currently is not. Look at the millions of acres of wild forest that burn every year in the West and imagine the energy potential if they were managed correctly and the harvested wood burned cleanly to generate electricity. Instead, we allow this valuable resource to burn up every summer and spew millions of tons of particulates, CO2 and other pollutants into the atmosphere.

    Dan's right: the Euros are way ahead of us on this.
  • jp_2
    jp_2 Member Posts: 1,935

    i guess i always assumed that excess CO2 went into the upper atmosphere, but come to think of it, that doesn't make sense.

  • Rich Kontny_3
    Rich Kontny_3 Member Posts: 562
    Used Here

    At several sites in northern Wisconsin we installed at least four centralized boiler systems that use wood waste as fuel. In fact a power company burns wood waste to generate electricity in Ashland, WI.

    The first system I worked on was from Sweden but the last three were from a company in Minneapolis. The hospital in Ashland,WI. also has a large wood fired boiler that heats and cools its buildings (uses a dx system for the cooling if I recollect correctly.)

    Rich K.
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