Jun 2, 2013

Methods for Biomass Pellet Stove Fuel Storage

Pellet fuel is a biomass fuel, a combustible green, renewable energy source for home heating. It's more economical purchased in bulk so it must be stored properly.

Pellet fuel is made from scrap like old hardwood pallets, wood chips, cord wood, corn stalks, and waste paper. Reusing these combustible materials for residential heating instead of putting them in the landfill makes sense. Use, reuse, recycle.

Components of a Pellet Stove

The basic stove or pellet heater setup includes a pellet storage container, a fuel burner, an automatic, adjustable auger feed unit delivers the supply, an exhaust system, and a blower. These stoves are not only economical to run, but they are also high tech. Some units can be activated by remote control. Some can even be started remotely with a cell phone.

Fuel Storage Choices

One benefit that petrochemical fuels like heating oil don't enjoy is that there are no hazardous material permits needed for mass storage because there's no oil or volatile material involved. The storage can be either above or under the ground as convenience dictates.

There are two phases of pellet fuel storage: bulk storage for future use and short-term storage of pellets that are ready for use.

Bulk Fuel Storage

Fuel manufacturers provide the product in 40 pound bags. This makes them easy to handle. The bags are sealed and constructed of a material that is waterproof. The bags may either be stacked outside covered up, or somewhere in the home.

The amount of space needed depends on how many bags there are which in turn depends on how long and severe the winter will be. In most circumstances, a winter’s supply of pellet fuel can be neatly stored in one corner of the garage.

If the bags will be stored outdoors, they are best stored on an elevated surface and covered with a tarp. Obviously, the bags should be higher than the snow level. A backyard shed is an ideal solution.

Short-Term Storage for Immediate Use

The vast majority of pellet stoves are top fed. The storage container is located on the top of the unit. When the level gets low it's refilled through a hatch which is located on the top. It's a good idea to have a bag in the corner or in a closet.

The pellets are delivered to the fuel burner by the auger. The auger also prevents the burner’s flames from flashing back into the storage container.

In the average home, all that is required is toping off the pellet storage container once a day, and this only takes a few minutes. Not bad compared to hauling logs through the living room, dropping pieces of bark on the floor.

This is a great time to install one of these units. As a biomass heating stove, it qualifies for an energy tax credit in the US.


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