How Do Log Boilers Work?
Log boilers should not to be confused with log burners which provide heat by continual loading of wood to keep them burning. Log boilers work by loading the boiler with a batch of logs and burning in one go. The heat generated is transferred to a buffer (large storage) tank for use as required. Heat is then used in the property as required.
Design and Installation Considerations
The obvious drawback of a log boiler versus other biomass systems is that the logs need to be manually loaded into the boiler. The frequency of this depends on the size of the buffer tank(s) paired with it. The minimum size buffer would be to match one burn of the biomass boiler. However it sometimes makes sense to size the buffer to allow for two or three burn cycles – this is when you will find it useful to discuss the options with an experienced installer.
The specification, design and setup of a log boiler is crucial to it meeting the client’s needs. If the plant owner (or on site staff) are happy to feed the boiler once or twice a day then there is no need to over size the buffer tank. However if filling the boiler is only possible on a Wednesday and Sunday then the tank should be sized accordingly. Another point on the design is understanding the heat use of the property and how long the buffer tank charge will last.
Pros & Cons
Log boilers are one of the most cost effective types of biomass systems available and can be a great solution if you have a readily available source of logs. Cheap fuel and lower capital expenditure (compared with other biomass systems) mean a log boiler installation is a great heating solution for numerous client types.
They are eligible for the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive or Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive – a government backed incentive scheme which makes cheap fuel seem even more attractive.
Log boilers are simple to install and operate. As the logs need to be manually loaded there is no automated fuel delivery systems meaning there are less failure points. The boilers themselves are also basic in terms of control systems and electronics meaning any breakdowns are easier to repair and service and maintenance simpler.
The obvious drawback of the log boiler type biomass system is the manual labour involved to keep them running. Collecting the wood, preparing and loading is a considerable commitment and must be understood when installing a log boiler.
However a log boiler can be the perfect option for certain people. For example, a working farm which already has numerous daily tasks to complete would not flinch at the thought of collecting and preparing logs every day. That combined with a low capital outlay and high return on investment means a log boiler biomass boiler system could be the ideal heating solution.
For more information on log boiler systems please contact one of the team.
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