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Bio-Diesel and Boiler

Constantin
Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
... I've also read and heard that many manufacturers are holding back on certifying anything with Biodiesel due to the reasons you mentioned. Switching to Viton-based seals is easy enough... but Viton is more expensive than SBR or whatever they OEMs are using now. For now, B20 or less seems to be a safe mix to experiment with.

Due to my reluctance to sign up for the Mass Energy program until I had better answers re: their service personnel, I missed the boat. Perhaps next year I'll have the opportunity to treat my Vitola to low-sulfur fuel...

Comments

  • Bio-Diesel and Boiler

    I am planning on finishing the rest of my house with radiant floor heat. Will be just under 3000 sq. ft. when I am done. I will need a new boiler. Of course the questions are Natural Gas or Oil. I am leaning towards oil because I will be making my own bio-diesel. I have been looking at System 2000 however I am having trouble trying to get a dealer in my area. Any recommendations for other boilers or any insight would be great.

    Darin
  • kevin coppinger_4
    kevin coppinger_4 Member Posts: 2,124
    ok i'll bite....

    how are you making the bio-diesel?
    You could do Buderus or the new Burnham MPO.....kpc

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  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
    At a higher price-point...

    ... you could consider the Viessmann Vitola. It's a great oil boiler for low-temp applications like yours due to the very low standby losses, no return temp limits, etc. Probably the most advanced CI boiler in its size on the market, though with a commensurate price tag.

    If you're serious about making your own diesel, you could also consider a condensing oil boiler like the Monitor FCX. Limited to one output at 76kBTU/hr, it's applicability depends on the heat loss of your home. The FCX also has take-offs for an domestic hot water indirect tank. Condensing boilers aren't a problem as long as the sulfur in the fuel is low - in your case, it would be close to zero...

    On the gas side, there are a lot of low-mass, condensing, modulating boilers to choose from. I'd always start with a heat loss calculation and then work my way to a boiler from there.
  • Tony_23
    Tony_23 Member Posts: 1,033
    Why ?

    Are you going to be making B-D regardless of what you use for heat ? If so, I'd go with oil and get the pump,etc that's set up for it, and run with it.

    If not, I don't think I'd spend the $ 4,000 for equipment and the time required to make B-D just for heating 3,000 sq. ft. I believe you'd find less savings than hoped for.

    As always, "it depends".
  • Supply House Rick
    Supply House Rick Member Posts: 1,404
    Why is it always a Viessmann?

    First thing, I respect your opinion.
    Do you have anything against Buderus? Is there a tremendous difference between the two? I have heard that in Germany the Buderus and Viessmann are priced the same. But is it possible that here in the USA...
    Viessmann has created a "perception is reality" scenario? If it cost more, must be better?
  • Tundra
    Tundra Member Posts: 93


    I like the Biasi but the Buderus and Viessman a excellent choices. If you plan on running B-100 you will probably have problems with the fuel pump seals. Also I understand that there is a problem with the gear type pumps turning B-100 into butter. I don't know of any trial of Bio-diesel with the pulse pumps. B-20 is a much easier product to work with.
  • Ron Schroeder
    Ron Schroeder Member Posts: 998


    If you are going to make your own fuel, I would suggest that you go with a scotch marine triple pass type boiler like a Buderus, Crown Freeport, MPO or similar for ease of cleaning if the burner goes whacky on contaminants.

    Long term tests of B100 have shown pump seal failures. Riello make a biodiesel kit for their burners but it is not sold in the US or Canada.

    Ron
  • Dirk Wright
    Dirk Wright Member Posts: 142
    Biodiesel for home heating

    I had a long conversation with a fella from the National Biodiesel Board. He stated that Suntec and others are working on a pump seal that will perform well with the fuel, but for now, there will be problems running B100 as others have stated. You will also need a good biocide in your tank. There is much more information on the biodiesel.org web site. Basically, if it's good quality fuel, you will have virtually no soot and of course no sulfur because biodiesel doesn't have any. I do not know how you would put instruments on your flue to check for CO, efficiency, etc, since biodiesel has a different cetane number and a very different flash point. I would check with instrument manufacturers to see if they know. Also, if you spill biodiesel, it's not a big deal because it's biodegradable, so tank leaks are not a big deal outside of being a fire hazard of course. Making your own biodiesel is easy enough from what I have read, but where are you going to get all that vegetable oil? If you use waste restruant oil, you're going to have some problems with consistency, since different oils make different grades of biodiesel, and presumably, different quality of combustion. At any rate, it's a great idea in my opinion, just not quite ready for prime time.
  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
    Nothing against Buderus or any other brand...

    There are many fine oil-fired boilers on the US market. The Buderus and the Burnham MPO were mentioned before, so I didn't think it necessary to repeat them as choices. All boilers (Vitola, MPO, and (presumably) G115) would probably delight their owners with low fuel bills, dependable operation, and excellent manufacturer support.

    Furthermore, as we all know, the primary determinant in appliance life and efficiency is the skill and mindset of those that install and maintain the equipment. Let me give you an example.

    Recently, I was in a home with a gas-fired Vitola hooked on a LLH and with a 3-temp system being controlled with fixed mixing valves. The Vitola doesn't need an LLH, fixed diverter valves are a waste considering what a Vitotronic 300 could do, and using gas on a Vitola is something I'd do as a last resort.

    The Vitodens and other low-mass condensing boilers do a better job under those circumstances. BTW, this was an "engineered" system. The above installation made no use of the unique features of the Vitola. Why use the Vitola then? (the heating contractor - who fought this madness - did a beautiful installation...)

    So, it boils down to the specific home and the circumstances in it that should dictate which heating system makes the most sense. The boiler is but a part of it... IMO, the Vitola was best for our application given that the lack of a low limit made a lot of sense for our emitters (slope 0.6 with a supply temperature range of 90°F to 110°F on a design day). The flue gas sensor, the seamless integration (color-coded, numbered plugs, etc.) were the icing on the cake. Homes with higher-temp emitters are likely to see less benefit of a low-temp boiler like the Vitola.

    I haven't had the opportunity to compare the cost of Viessmann to Buderus in Germany. However, I noted with interest that the end-consumer cost for a Vitodens capable of 6-24kW output was 3364 Euro, according to a contractor quote in a German magazine article. The BOP was Euro 1167, mounting it all was Euro 4785. How does that compare to local prices?
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