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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
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    Light googling seems to indicate only 2 firms manufacturing pellet boilers in the UK - Grant and Warmflow.

    Does anyone know of any others?
    My uncle installed one, using his local firm - https://www.euroheat.co.uk/ - which has now closed.

    Reading their comments, and my uncle's own views, I think there are good reasons. Without the subsidies the burners don't make a lot of sense. His struggle is with delivery costs - he built a large store so he could get a single delivery of pellets each year but the delivery costs still represent a significant part of the total cost of operation.

    I get the impression pellets are not easily available and not as cheap as they were. others may be able to tell me i've got the wrong idea on this!
    • CommentAuthorArtiglio
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2019
    I had a pellet boiler installed at my mums, it was from Trianco, the impression was given that it was a british product, but after the installation its instantly obvious its a rebadged polish boiler.
    (It needs plenty of cleaning to keep it going smoothly, the internal feed augur wears/jams/breaks it would seem every 12 tonnes of pellets, the design is poor and changing it out is more difficult than need be, but spares are not extortionate and its basic mechanics to change. Efficiency is not too bad once i’d insulated the initial installation properly.)
    RHI encouraged lots of inexperienced installers and con artists to emerge, many systems were put in with promises of little attention needed high efficiency and cheap fuel.
    Many have found little of that is true and that servicing and maintenance are far more costly than suggested for those that were expecting to do little to the boilers.
    Pellet prices have kept creeping up, if you make sure you’re full by end of september and have enough storage to keep you going to end of march you’ll be ok, supplies can get tight in between. Pellet quality is variable between manufacturers, but once you find one that suits your boiler not really an issue.
    Once the 7 years are up, i’ll probably convert mum back to LPG. The system paid for itself in 3.5 years , the payments for the rest of the term will effectively mean heating costs have been halved for the full period.

    The whole biomass rhi scheme stands a reasonable chance of turning into another scandal in good time.
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2019
    Manninwood - Sorry I can't answer your question about UK manufactured wood pellet boilers but I can certainly concur with the other two contributors. I started off in Nov. 2008 (pre-RHI!) with an OPOP boiler which was made in Denmark. It was a very simple design, relatively cheap, and easy to maintain. However my wife was not able to cope with the cleaning and maintenance and as we are getting on in years we were worried that if she inherited the system she would not be able to manage.

    So we changed to an Ekopower boiler (also made in Denmark) which claimed to be virtually maintenance free, self-cleaning etc. This has turned out to be untrue as it has a ridiculous worm drive mechanism which moves the ash plate and this has to be cleaned and greased with a special aluminium paste every month; this is spectacularly filthy stuff to work with too! I am a reasonably competent DIY-er so I give the boiler a complete clean down every month (effectively the equivalent of an annual clean every month!) whilst I'm at it. If I had to pay for this kind of service it would cost me a fortune. So far nothing major has gone wrong thankfully. Spares are available via a company in Cheshire or direct from Denmark. Heating elements vary in quality - some last for years, others barely months. I have invested in a ceramic type now which I will install when the current element dies. I understand these are more reliable but much more expensive of course.

    Pellet prices have gone up considerably since 2008. Then I was paying £170 per ton, now nearly £250 per ton so well ahead of inflation. There is no justification as far as I can see for such an increase. The price of heating oil has practically remained the same over the same period (48p per litre in 2008 and 50p per litre today. In fact it reduced to 26p per litre in 2016!). The rising cost of oil was one of the reasons we changed to wood pellets in the first instance, apart from wanting to reduce our CO2 emissions. I have found that the quality of the pellets doesn't vary much at all, so no issues there fair play.

    One unforeseen circumstance was that my very well insulated house got a rubbish EPC rating of D because the calculation for the efficiency of the boiler is taken at a generic value of 65% when in reality it is greater than 93%! This is because the manufacturer has not submitted the necessary data to SEDBUK, so beware of that!

    I have a 3.3 ton hopper which we fill every summer and that lasts us until the following summer, so we avoid having to buy pellets during the winter months.

    Like Artiglio, once the 7 years RHI payments are up, I will probably have to reconsider what to do. I am hoping that there may be some technological breakthrough with ASHP design which would enable us to run the C/H with that (maybe with oversized rads as there is no possibility of UFH). Other than that it will be back to oil or LPG purely based on the ease of use. One idea I have is to keep the wood pellet boiler and fit the LPG or oil boiler in tandem, so as to have the flexibility of using either.
    • CommentAuthorArtiglio
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2019
    Manninwood, have you actually had it confirmed that the boilers you refer to are manufactured in the UK?, it was a factor that influenced my choice of a trianco boiler, i did’nt ask the right questions and was misled by such phrases as,

    Service is provided from sheffield
    The factory is in sheffield
    Trianco have a long history in home heating

    All they may have done in the UK was put the badges on. Not a real issue as had i sourced one cheaper overseas it would , despite being identical, not be rhi compliant.

    Its been explained to me since that the UK market is too small to warrant the investment in designing buiding amd testing a boiler in the UK when there are so many boilers available within the EU , which would need no more than the instructions and controls translating into english.
    • CommentAuthorjfb
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2019
    What are you trying to heat?
    Thank you for all your comments!

    Short answer appears to be that there are no other UK manufacturers I guess?!

    Thanks for all the info regarding RHI and pellet supply, although not directly related to the crux of my interest it is very useful and welcome. Pellet shortage in general is an interesting one. I know last winter there were massive problems with pellet supply in the UK. I keep tabs on a Pellet Stove group on FB which seems to be mostly based in the US (where pellet stoves seem to be quite popular) and it seems there has been a huge pellet shortage there this winter too.

    With regards reliability and access to manufacturer, if I go any further with what I'm working on I'd expect to actually be going to visit manufacturers, so hopefully that will clarify the process.

    Thanks again all!
    • CommentAuthorArtiglio
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2019
    The pellet market in the UK has been boosted massively by the RHI scheme, not so much in domestic market, but for farms, schools, social housing, council amenities, these have all jumped on the 20 year commercial bandwagon, often the demands are huge in big premises and on site storage is insufficient to cover long periods and many don’t keep a reserve of any great duration.
    In addition last winter one of the UK manufacturers had a prolonged shutdown for maintenance, which made for a very tight supplies. Our supplier was asking customers how much they had left and was juggling deliveries to keep everyone going, he has one chicken farm that takes 20 tonnes a week.
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2019
    I agree about the pellet market. The company that supplies me also has big contracts with schools and council amenities. They have invested in several huge trucks with on-board weigh cells and blowers to deliver pellets in bulk. I was nervous that they would forget about customers like me who only take 3 tonnes p.a. but fair play they have always looked after me. I was one of their first customers about 11 years ago when they were just starting out (before the RHI scheme got started) so I guess that counts for something.

    The only supply problem in my area was a couple of years ago when supplies of bagged pellets ran out. It did not affect me because I buy in bulk but I know they allowed customers to bring their own bags/trailers and fill up at the depot.
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