Pellet stoves: Who's got 'em?

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by josjor, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. josjor

    josjor Long timer

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    It's a long story and I won't bore you all with the details unless you really want them. I'm not so interested in the stoves themselves, but more in the pellets.

    For those of you with pellet stoves: If there was a good burning pellet that was "green" because it was made with easily renewable natural product and contained 30% post-consumer (recycled) product, would you spend a little more money on them?

    Short version: This is just some preliminary info I'm gathering on behalf of a non-profit group that I serve as a board member for. We've been able to stay in the green (pun intended) because we do metals recycling, but the cardboard and paper products are big money losers for us. The idea of using that as part of a wood pellet product came to mind. Thing is, we still have to make it pay for itself.

    BTW, the reason for the "30% post consumer" limit is that, from some real quick reading, if you burn more than 30% post consumer you could end up being classified as an incinerator by the EPA nazis. I need to check more into that, as well as whether higher concentrations would produce the BTU's.
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  2. Bueller

    Bueller Cashin?

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    I've had one for several years.

    Here's what I want in a pellet - low ash, hot fire, longest burn possible. Beyond that, pellets are already green because they are made from a waste product. Whether or not it is post consumer has no importance to me, because the substance they are made of is already a carbon neutral post manufacturing waste product.

    I see what you are getting at, but unless you can find a way to turn your cardboard into pellets that perform comparably to compressed all sawdust pellets at a competitive price, I don't think you have a market.
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  3. Manuel Garcia O'Kely

    Manuel Garcia O'Kely Back at last

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    Our pellet supplier uses 100% beetle kill pine, there is 50 years worth in our forests.
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  4. GJohnson

    GJohnson Been here awhile

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    I put a Quadrafire insert in 3 seasons ago and love it. Has never broken down, in the cold of winter it burns about a bag per 24 hours, It does require a bit of upkeep, once per week I clean the fire box and empty the ashpan. Once per month I really clean the hell out of it and once per year I pull the piping apart and clean. Out propane bill went from $1500 per year down to about $600 and I burn about $400 in pellets.
    #4
  5. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    our local City of Tulsa free to public green waste dump generates tons of ground up tree mulch ... all for free.

    semi dump trailers get loaded for free with tons of mulch. which goes to no telling where... but probably pellets.

    have been heating with wood for 6 seasons. buying pellets defeats entire purpose of heating with wood. if one is going to buy pellets, might as well pay for natural gas.

    heating with wood is one of the few places, one has control of a major utility costs.
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  6. biggziff

    biggziff Funk Soul Bruvah

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  7. Bueller

    Bueller Cashin?

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    Your comment about pellets defeating the purpose of heating with wood is simply not true. There is a price paid for processing and packaging, a price I am happy to pay to avoid chopping, splitting, and stacking firewood.

    My pellet stove dropped my heating bill by 40% while making the house feel warmer. That 40% figure also accounts for the electrical costs. The stove paid for itself in less than 4 years.
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  8. JBADV

    JBADV searching for sanity

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    Over 10 years heating with pellets.Only one brand of pellet that I have burned,Kentucky Kernel,has been made from a waste/byproduct.The KK pellet is made from the sawdust/shavings from a hardwood product mfg company.All of the other pellets that I have used are made from logs that have been harvested to be made into pellets.Pellets with too much junk,bark,etc,do not burn well. YMMV
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  9. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    wood is free, but time getting that wood home, spit and stacked is not. but it's my time that I choose to spend instead of paying fuel bills or pay for wood delivered.

    there's advantages of pellet stoves of less handling. along with a few disadvantages of having to pay for pellets, less heat output vs conventional wood stoves, more mechanical parts to wear out, etc.

    for me pellet stoves just didn't make sense .... your mileage obviously is different.

    by the time one figures out costs of wood splitter, chainsaws, trailer, etc. pellet stoves are cheaper to setup .. but no way cheaper to run. which to me is the main reason to burn wood and completely renewable. if one uses proper wood stove, burns clean with little to no smoke from chimney.

    again ... wood stoves are one of the few places one actually has control of their heating costs.
    #9
  10. rapidoxidationman

    rapidoxidationman Easily trainable

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    A pellet stove is nothing more than a "convenient" wood stove.

    Until the power goes out for longer than the backup battery lasts...

    Might as well have propane or NG.

    So, to the OP: How about figuring out a way to turn the waste stream into clean burning firewood that can be had for $200-$250/cord and has at least as much heat as pine?

    I'll buy your first cord of output and let you know how it burns.
    #10
  11. STFU

    STFU Found

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    I agree with these statements 100%
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  12. Bokrijder

    Bokrijder Soyez sans que peur

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    OP -- A bit vague on just exactly what you're trying to accomplish here.

    1. Convert product to pellets with a possible market value ?
    2. Utilize the material in house with an energy recovery goal ?
    3. Simply to convert the material to some useful form which would qualify as green recovery ?

    Thanks,

    Bokrijder
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  13. JBADV

    JBADV searching for sanity

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    A pellet stove is just a fuel injected,forced induction wood burning stove. The better pellet stoves are very adjustable and can put out alot of heat.The Harmon Stove Company makes some of the better pellet stoves,they also make very good wood and coal burning stoves.
    #13
  14. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

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    I have a house in NS with both a woodstove and pellet.
    These are the pellets that I burn.

    http://www.shawresources.ca/wood-pellets

    They have a spec sheet on their site to compare.

    Both stoves have a place, obviously. There were times where I had the pellet stove going much more than the wood. We had huricane ywhan in 03 and I lost over 200 trees on my lot. So I bought a chainsaw and started cutting. That wood lasted me till 2008 and I only burned 10-20 bags of pellets those years, and only used on the coldest days.

    Otherwise theyd share 50-50 duty. Natural gas is not in the area of that house and if it were I wouldn't need either stove.

    The pellet is much more user friendly and more comfortable, but can't compete with the woodstove for raw heat.

    The cost was about the same, but the convience of just stopping on the way home from work and picking up 4-6 bags of pellets, like you'd stop and get milk is hard to beat. But if you got free trees.....
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  15. MikeFromMT

    MikeFromMT Past Tense

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    I guess you could call these really big pellets http://www.northidahoenergylogs.com/ we burned the logs ( I see they now have pellets) the logs give you the benefit of small pellets with out the reliance on power for your fan and auger, you burn them in a conventional wood burner just like split wood, very little ash, huge heat and a very clean burn, plus they last a long time compared to a normal pine log that seems to burn up in about 30 minutes or so, 4 of these logs would heat a 1500 sf home for about 5-7 hours. We'd burn a pallet and a half per season.
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  16. nachtflug

    nachtflug infidel

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    ain't it the truth. pellet stoves are the best thing since sliced bread.
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  17. nachtflug

    nachtflug infidel

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    jesus christ leave it alone don't f up a good thing.
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  18. josjor

    josjor Long timer

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    Mainly numbers 1 and 3. I tried to avoid the longer story, but since I'm hitting up the brain trust, here you go:

    For 12 years we've had a non-profit recycling center that does most household goods and metals. The metals part of the operation did really well and paid for the money-loosing (most of the time) household part of the operation. Almost two years ago a commercial enterprise moved into the area and, seeing the writing on the wall (they were able to offer better prices for metal than we could and we would have died a slow death), we sold the operation to the commercial enterprise and created a new non-profit with the proceeds of the sale.

    The commercial enterprise is all about making money and I have no problem with that, but they are considering dropping the household part of the operation as it doesn't turn a profit. Our non-profit has been looking for a "green stream" related project to invest the funds. The idea of pellet manufacturing that uses the cardboard and paper waste came up and we're just starting the research into it. Is it a good idea? Dunno.

    Anybody have other ideas? I'm all ears. One thing to keep in mind: a paper mill type operation is out as it is too water demanding for our area.

    Good thing nobody said that about the 10hp motorcycle with skinny tires of a century ago. Think outside the box and thanks for your "help."
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  19. Bokrijder

    Bokrijder Soyez sans que peur

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    I'm not a more government type of guy, but does your locale have a solid waste management program which includes recycling ? So many variables here. Ultimately green usage is desired, but first goal could be preventing cherry picking and preventing the remainder from simply being dumped over the bank. With that solved, you'd have some breathing room in your quest for a green solution.
    If a pellet manufacture could establish a viable procedure for, let's say, clean first run cardboard or clean news print, I doubt a mixed stream of cardboard, newsprint, magazines, Chinese packing, pizza boxes, etc. would fit the bill. That could put the onus on you to deliver a raw product meeting a particular specification.
    Any wiggle room in that 30% incinerator regulation -- controlled research project maybe ?
    Shredded for animal/bird bedding or litter - resultant mix composted ?

    Coastal ports have an abundance of empty containers which need to go back - they fill these containers and send the shite back. :lol3

    And finally, yes pellet stoves work quite well !!

    Bokrijder
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  20. josjor

    josjor Long timer

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    I'm not sure what you're getting at here, but if you're asking if there is a government recycling center around here, the answer is no. It's one of the reasons that we started the center all those years ago: the city/county couldn't afford or want to.

    I'm thinking that due to the nasty chemicals and whatnot used in glossy magazines and junk mail, we'd have to keep to just cardboard, newsprint, and possibly office paper. We're actually already collecting the stuff in those sorted categories.
    There might be. The 30% was a figure I read from a city that was using that much in cardboard pellets in conjunction with coal for a small electric generator they ran to supplement power in the city owned buildings. The article mentioned that they had to keep below that threshold to avoid being categorized as an incinerator. It may be different for home use, but the regs may apply to manufacturers supplying home use products. Don't know.
    There's a company or two doing this with pine pellets. I don't know how well it would work with cardboard.

    And that's where we've been selling it previously. The problem with us is location. We have to deliver the cardboard bales 210 miles to get it to the nearest distributor that supplies the container ships..........which are located about 1,500 miles away.
    #20