Wood Chip Heating

Wood chip heating is becoming an increasingly popular heat source nationwide. Wood chip boilers are an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels like propane and oil. For engineers looking to heat commercial facilities with optimal efficiency, wood chip heating is an excellent option with many unique advantages. 

Tarm Biomass can help you find the best wood chip boiler for your company or institution. Our wood chip and pellet boilers are fuel- and energy-efficient alternatives that use renewable energy instead of natural gas and other fossil fuels to deliver the most reliable heating for organizations across all industries.

Overview of Wood Chip Hot Water Systems

Wood chip heaters rely on a constant flow of wood chips to warm facilities, creating heat that passes throughout the building. Each wood chip boiler is slightly different depending on the size and brand, but the overall mechanism operates as follows: 

  • Wood chips remain in a storage area close to the heater.  The chip feeding system pulls chips to the boiler to match heating needs. 
  • As the wood chips enter the combustion chamber, hot air ignites them to start the burning process. 
  • Grates move fuel through the combustion process and remove ashes automatically to clean the combustion zone, preventing buildup. 
  • The heat is circulated and removed from the combustion chamber to heat water. Heat is then transferred to process heat loads, building space, or potable water.

You can connect multiple wood chip heaters for large heating loads to secure a reliable, sustainable heat source. Wood chips are renewable resources that enable heating engineers to specify dependable and renewable heat sources for various types of facilities.

Why Is a Wood Chip Boiler Not a Stove?

Though boilers and stoves seem similar in function, these appliances are fundamentally different. Boilers operate by burning wood to generate heat, and they channel this heat into the water. Then, the boiler pumps the water into a central heating supply, where it can then heat water for taps, showers, various forms of radiators for space heat, and for process heat.

While wood stoves also produce heat through wood burning, they typically only heat the room in which they're installed. After the fire diminishes, these stoves can store the residual heat within their bodies for prolonged warming.

Why Is a Wood Chip Boiler Not a Furnace?

A wood chip boiler is also not the same as a wood furnace. Boilers heat facilities using steam or hot water, while furnaces use warm air. A wood boiler will warm the water to boiling hot temperatures before moving the heat into cast iron radiators, radiant flooring systems, and baseboard radiators.

Furnaces operate differently by heating the air and using a blower to transfer heat to the building's ductwork to generate higher ambient temperatures.  Wood boilers can also use heat exchangers to heat air. For this reason, wood boilers can replace wood furnaces, but wood furnaces cannot replace wood boilers.

The Benefits of a Wood Chip Boiler

As oil prices have increased over the decades, many companies are looking for alternative ways to heat their commercial buildings and institutions. To encourage business owners and engineers to make sustainable renewable energy retrofits, several states incentivize commercial and institutional installations of wood chip boilers.

Other advantages of wood chip heaters include:

  • Lower costs: Wood chips are made from low-value wood and have relatively stable prices compared to oil, propane, natural gas, and other fossil fuels. Wood chip fuel is not only more cost stable but is also substantially less expensive than fossil fuels.
  • Positive global impact: Burning wood in a wood chip heater does not produce any excess carbon dioxide, reducing emissions and promoting a cleaner environment using sustainable energy sources.
  • Energy efficiency: Quality wood chip burners use advanced controls to produce the most energy possible.  Thoughtful consideration is given to electric components, such as fan motors and actuators to reduce power consumption.  

Most wood chips are locally sourced, making wood chip heaters beneficial to the local economy.

Wood Chip Boilers From Fröling

Fröling wood chip-fueled hot water boilers conveniently provide heat for larger applications such as process hot water, commercial, institutional and industrial space heating applications. 

Fröling chip boilers are ASME-stamped boilers designed for indoor use. Fuel feeding, ignition, grate cleaning, heat exchange cleaning, and de-ashing are all automatically controlled. Combustion is actively controlled using variable induction fan speed, variable grate control, and motorized air controls. Fröling wood chip boilers respond to heating loads by ramping output up and down while minimizing on/off cycles. The use of properly sized thermal buffer and balancing flow in the system ensures smooth and successful boiler operation throughout a range of thermal demands. 

Fuel storage is located adjacent to the boiler to minimize space and conveyance costs. Chips are usually stored in a flat bottomed bin. The fuel is generally moved to an auger with a rotary feeder or with a scraper floor. From the feed auger, fuel passes through a safety airlock into the stoker channel. The stoker is often an auger, but the Fröling Turbomat can utilize a hydraulic ram, which is used for larger chips or more inconsistent fuel. 

Fröling engineers and supplies numerous chip feeding systems. Fuel handling integration is crucial for reliable operation. 

The Fröling Turbomat can use wood chips with up to 45% moisture content. The Fröling T4 can use wood chips with up to 30% moisture content. The Turbomat has a much longer grate surface than the T4. The grate surface in the Turbomat moves chips horizontally. Chips enter unburned and exit 7 feet away as ashes. The theory is that wood chip fuel can either be dried outside of the boiler or within the boiler. 

Boilers that can handle wetter chips generally have longer grates and very heavy, brick-lined fireboxes — two attributes that allow the chips to dry within the boiler as they combust. The brick lining allows for an extremely hot environment (up to 900 C). Smaller and lighter boilers must have dry chips to ensure complete combustion because it is not possible to adequately dry the chips in relatively small combustion chambers surrounded by water. The result can be incomplete combustion.se to have a smaller infrastructure at the boiler site and to use dry chips. Sometimes, larger chip boilers and less expensive, wetter fuel make better economic sense. Projected chip consumption, physical space, and initial capital costs will usually determine what type of wood chip boiler makes the most sense.

Historically, heating with wood chips costs about 1/2 the cost of conventional fuels such as fuel oil and propane. The greater the volume of conventional fuel that is offset, the greater the savings.

Wood Chips

Fuel for the Indoor Wood Chip Boiler

wood chip heating fuelWood Chip Fuel is produced by chipping whole trees or wood waste from forest management and land clearing. Wood chip fuel is less expensive than wood pellets. Wood chips come in various sizes, moisture contents, and qualities. Chipped wood allows for automatic and low-maintenance boiler operation while using renewable wood fuel. 

Wood chips (30% moisture content) have an average net BTU rating of 9,632,000 BTU/ton. When less bark and debris are present, there will be less ash produced during combustion. Whole tree chips like those produced by roadside chipping are usually not used in wood chip boilers producing under 2 MMBTU/hr. High-quality chippers and chip screens are generally required to produce a maintenance-free fuel chip. The Fröling T4 150 burns dry chips (less than 30% moisture content). Moisture content under 30% is achieved only by actively drying eastern hardwoods. 

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has published a Wood Chip Heating Fuel Quality Standard officially titled ANSI/ASABE AD17225-4:2014 FEB2018 Solid biofuels — Fuel specifications and classes — Part 4: Graded wood chips. This standard describes qualities of wood chips such as wood chip feedstocks/origination, particle sizes, moisture content, and other qualities such as permissible contaminants.

Secure Reliable Wood Chip Heaters From Tarm Biomass

Fuel for the Indoor Wood Chip Boiler

Tarm Biomass is a leading provider of commercial and domestic wood chip boiler products. Our wood chip heaters use less fuel to produce more heat than competitors and make wood burning safer and easier. We can help your business lower energy costs and reduce its carbon footprint with our high-quality wood chip heating boilers.

When you purchase a boiler from us, we'll focus on finding the right solution for your commercial building. Our knowledgeable team will discuss your facility's heating and application needs to determine the correct size boiler and discuss proper installation and use. Even after you make your purchase, we are happy to answer questions about effectively using and maintaining your boiler. 

We will help you make the best choice for your needs. Shop our available wood chip/pellet boilers and contact us online for more information today!