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Wood pellet heating in Canberra

gasman 14 August 2011 29

I’m looking to get together a Canberra-based buying group for wood pellet heaters.

If you are unfamiliar with wood pellet stoves, they are the most sustainable way to actively heat a home. They are fueled by wood pellets made from waste sawdust from sawmills, sawdust that would otherwise simply be burned at the site. These are not your grandfather’s slow combustion wood stove – these stoves are far more efficient, and because they burn at a very high temperature, there are almost no particulate emissions. They are common in Europe, with their strict pollution standards. They are easy to use with push-button ignition, once per year cleaning and computer-controlled thermostat. Some can be fitted with water heating or ducting options. And unlike traditional wood stoves, these look very stylish. Check out the websites for Ecoteck, Ravelli and Thermorossi.

The Canberra buying group would put in a large order with an Italian manufacturer, possibly get a group discount, certainly get a shipping discount and a large local group ensures a local market for yearly pellet deliveries from an Australian pellet manufacturer.

The plan would be to have them delivered by early next year, for use by next winter.


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RTG RTG 10:41 am 19 Oct 15

XCanberra said :

A group of us in Armidale, northern NSW recently completed a research project looking at pellet heaters as an option to wood heaters, in order to reduce wood smoke pollution. We also looked at policy options for government and community.

One of our recommendations for Armidale, was to run a group buy scheme to get the industry kick started. We are also considering establishing a cooperative to buy pellets in bulk, until a manufacturer wants to set up locally. I imagine that it would not take long before someone started a commercial business selling heaters and pellets in a market as big as Canberra, but it might take a few people to kick things off.

Have a look at our report and see what might apply to your situation. Download from the Rural Industries Research and Development site at https://rirdc.infoservices.com.au/items/12-065.

Pellet heaters and pellets are expensive but produce much lower emissions and can utilise sources of waste wood such as sawdust, rather than using dead and fallen timber which is much better as homes for native fauna.

While most of the benefits are public (clean air, less biodiversity impact), most of the higher cost is borne by individuals, so there is a strong case for public subsidisation of changes from wood heaters to pellet heaters.

Hi XCanberra,

I’ve read your report during research on pellet heaters. Have you found a supply of quality pellet heaters in the Armidale region? If so, where is your pellet supply coming from?

RTG RTG 10:38 am 19 Oct 15

colguest said :

I am about to build a pellet mill in tasmania because of the interest in these fires as an cleaner and renewable source of heat .The pellet resource will be a by product of a salvage timber operation. We will be looking at exporting out of tasmania initially.It would be advisable to do some homework on the availability of pellets around your area as I understand there is a shortage in Australias southern states.

Colguest, did you end up putting a pellet mill in? How have you found the pellet market and demand for pellets in Tasmania?

RTG RTG 10:37 am 19 Oct 15

Gasman,
Just interested to see how you went with purchasing a pellet heater.
a) did you end up buying one?
b) what brand did you go with?
c) where are you sourcing pellets from?
Cheers
Steph

neil neil 1:04 pm 17 Apr 15

Hey Gasman
Are you still doing anything with wood pellets? If so can you email you details to neil@offshoreprocurement.com.au

Wheatheaterman Wheatheaterman 3:09 pm 31 Jul 13

Hi XCanberra,
We have an Armidale agent who has one of our multi-fuel stoves installed. Also we now have a new model which runs perfectly on pellets as well for under $2,000.
Cheers,
Darron Crick.

XCanberra XCanberra 12:11 pm 20 May 13

A group of us in Armidale, northern NSW recently completed a research project looking at pellet heaters as an option to wood heaters, in order to reduce wood smoke pollution. We also looked at policy options for government and community.

One of our recommendations for Armidale, was to run a group buy scheme to get the industry kick started. We are also considering establishing a cooperative to buy pellets in bulk, until a manufacturer wants to set up locally. I imagine that it would not take long before someone started a commercial business selling heaters and pellets in a market as big as Canberra, but it might take a few people to kick things off.

Have a look at our report and see what might apply to your situation. Download from the Rural Industries Research and Development site at https://rirdc.infoservices.com.au/items/12-065.

Pellet heaters and pellets are expensive but produce much lower emissions and can utilise sources of waste wood such as sawdust, rather than using dead and fallen timber which is much better as homes for native fauna.

While most of the benefits are public (clean air, less biodiversity impact), most of the higher cost is borne by individuals, so there is a strong case for public subsidisation of changes from wood heaters to pellet heaters.

dungfungus dungfungus 10:27 am 16 May 13

colguest said :

I am about to build a pellet mill in tasmania because of the interest in these fires as an cleaner and renewable source of heat .The pellet resource will be a by product of a salvage timber operation. We will be looking at exporting out of tasmania initially.It would be advisable to do some homework on the availability of pellets around your area as I understand there is a shortage in Australias southern states.

A lot of evil coal fired electric power stations in the UK are being converted to wood pellet fuel. While it is a sustainable fuel and ideal for domestic heating it is not the answer for power stations as it is imported, bulky and requires special handling (it can’t get wet).

Mav Mav 9:24 am 16 May 13

Wheatheaterman said :

Hiya Gasman,
I have just seen your post and I think we can help you out in a big way,
We are a company in Ballarat (even colder than Canberra most of the time!) which uses and imports multifuel corn stoves from the US.
The corn stove is a similar beast to the pellet heater except for one glaring difference. Corn stoves will burn wood pellets as well as other biomass products like corn or wheat.
We run the unit in our house on wheat delivered straight off the header. Our house is 25sq and we use 13kg of wheat over a 24hr period. It costs us $2 per day to run!
Add to that the advantage of being able to switch fuel, not that we intend to. Why pay $650/tonne for wood pellets when you can buy wheat for $200/tonne at harvest? Plus sourcing pellets can be a nightmare – wheat is not going to run out anytime soon.
You do not need to place bulk orders with us to receive a super low price, we have low margins as we want high turnover. Typically our prices are half that of retail pellet heaters.
If you want more info you can go to the website snowflamepelletstoves.com
You will find our contact details in the dealer section and I look forward to hearing from you or anyone else who is serious about cheap environmentally sustainable heating.
Thank you and good luck,

What would it cost to ship one of these to Canberra?

From reading your website it would seem that it does not require a flue as such only a rear vent through a wall. I wonder if this would still need the same planning permission that is required for flued wood heaters here in the ACT?

Seems like the ideal heater for what we are looking for as gas central heating here has become way too expensive and looks set to rise again by 10%.

jimjim jimjim 7:45 am 21 Nov 11

well
Have you have any luck finding any stoves yet.
we have loads here in Sweden from Fugly to good looking ones.
from cheap to expensive. But reliable. and thats whats counts.
give me a mail back

Wheatheaterman Wheatheaterman 2:23 pm 18 Sep 11

Hiya Gasman,
I have just seen your post and I think we can help you out in a big way,
We are a company in Ballarat (even colder than Canberra most of the time!) which uses and imports multifuel corn stoves from the US.
The corn stove is a similar beast to the pellet heater except for one glaring difference. Corn stoves will burn wood pellets as well as other biomass products like corn or wheat.
We run the unit in our house on wheat delivered straight off the header. Our house is 25sq and we use 13kg of wheat over a 24hr period. It costs us $2 per day to run!
Add to that the advantage of being able to switch fuel, not that we intend to. Why pay $650/tonne for wood pellets when you can buy wheat for $200/tonne at harvest? Plus sourcing pellets can be a nightmare – wheat is not going to run out anytime soon.
You do not need to place bulk orders with us to receive a super low price, we have low margins as we want high turnover. Typically our prices are half that of retail pellet heaters.
If you want more info you can go to the website snowflamepelletstoves.com
You will find our contact details in the dealer section and I look forward to hearing from you or anyone else who is serious about cheap environmentally sustainable heating.
Thank you and good luck,

colguest colguest 7:37 pm 28 Aug 11

I am about to build a pellet mill in tasmania because of the interest in these fires as an cleaner and renewable source of heat .The pellet resource will be a by product of a salvage timber operation. We will be looking at exporting out of tasmania initially.It would be advisable to do some homework on the availability of pellets around your area as I understand there is a shortage in Australias southern states.

Maelinar Maelinar 3:32 pm 17 Aug 11

There’s a smegload of these things in NZ – called Yuncas or something like that though.

Probably cheaper/easier and more enviro to buy from there instead of getting anything Euro as well.

IRT the post about geothermal or solar being useless or green fantasies, seriously, what rock have you been hiding under ?

rosscoact rosscoact 10:54 am 16 Aug 11

damien haas said :

May i ask what happens when the pellet maker decides it is uneconomic and ceases producing the pellets ? Can these pellet burners burn regular wood ?

Pellet burners are very big in northern hemisphere and are only being held back here because in the majority of Australia there is more emphasis on cooling rather than heating.

I have a pellet barbeque/smoker that works on exactly the same principle and it is wonderful except that the pellets come from the US because nobody in Oz makes food grade pellets. I buy mine from a chap in WA who imports them from the US, how about that for sustainable? Still cheaper to run than LPG though

Lazy I Lazy I 9:05 am 16 Aug 11

ConanOfCooma said :

dungfungus said :

ConanOfCooma said :

I would have thought the most sustainable way would have been solar, or geothermal?

Unless the heater works, the sustainability factor counts for zero.
Solar and geothermal are just Green fantasies.

Why would you get a heater that doesn’t work?

Your post makes no sense.

It makes perfect sense.

He is saying solar and geothermal don’t work, so it doesn’t matter how sustainable they are.

ConanOfCooma ConanOfCooma 7:45 am 16 Aug 11

dungfungus said :

ConanOfCooma said :

I would have thought the most sustainable way would have been solar, or geothermal?

Unless the heater works, the sustainability factor counts for zero.
Solar and geothermal are just Green fantasies.

Why would you get a heater that doesn’t work?

Your post makes no sense.

milkman milkman 7:36 pm 15 Aug 11

I understand you can burn dried poo in these things.

aidan aidan 11:39 am 15 Aug 11

What sort of price would these be?

Maybe you should make up a pdf flyer that we can slip into the letterboxes of smoky neighbours. I’d love to be able to hang washing outside in the winter months again.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 9:30 am 15 Aug 11

gasman said :

The Americans burn corn (same pelletised form factor) as well as wood pellets in their stoves.

Wouldn’t all the popping interrupt the TV viewing somewhat? 🙂

gasman gasman 9:23 am 15 Aug 11

The pellets can’t be burned in a normal slow combustion stove. Actually you could, but you would not get any of the advantages of a pellet stove, except for fuel source. In a pellet stove, the pellets are fed into the burner at a regular rate, delivered by an electrically controlled auger. The more heat output you want, the faster the pellets are fed. That means a high surface area for burning, plenty of oxygen for burning, and therefore a very hot fire, and (almost) complete combustion.

A pellet stove has about 5% of the particulate emissions of an open fire, about 10% that of a slow combustion stove, and is about equal to a gas heater. The efficiency (heat output/fuel) is about 90% (compared to about 30% for an open fire, and 70% for a modern, well-maintained slow combustion heater). Further, a pellet stove does not depend on the user’s ability to make a good fire – just press the ignition button, and the stove does the rest.

There are at least 3 large pellet manufacturers in Australia, all as side-arms of sawmills. That is, they do not chop down trees specifically to make wood pellets. They simply use the waste sawdust. They tell me that they are unable to keep up with demand, and that they are adding further plants later this year. Much of their production is exported (Mainly Asia and Europe, as North America makes their own pellets). They have a warehouse in Sydney as well as a distribution centre in Jindabyne. They tell me they do regular shipments to Canberra.

Part of my hope is to increase to local (Canberra) base of pellet heaters to make the supply and shipment of pellets to Canberra reliable and cheap. I believe that this market will continue to expand as laws crack down on open fires and older slow combustion stoves.

And no, you can’t burn normal wood in a pellet stove – they are designed completely differently. The Americans burn corn (same pelletised form factor) as well as wood pellets in their stoves.

There

Captain RAAF Captain RAAF 8:43 am 15 Aug 11

Walker said :

As an avid air breather, I totally support the idea. Wins on several fronts, in the short term at least. I say go for it.

I don’t suppose they can also be burnt in regular fireplaces? Not as clean perhaps but I’m hoping much better than what’s burning now, and would also kick start the fuel market instantly.

At the rate the Greens and the current Government are closing down our sawmills, you won’t soon be able to get any sawdust for anything!

We have a family sawmill in Victoria, it has closed down as access to logs was made so expensive it was no longer financially viable. It has gone the same way as many others and now ‘super mills’ will look after the timber needs of this country and the paper mills will buy up all the sawdust.

Milling techniques are all high tech now, waste is minimal so don’t expect to have access to sawdust for much longer!

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