Friday, July 24, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Show Us Your Woodpile Contest

Submit a Photo of your Woodpile for a Chance to Win!

First Place: HS-Tarm Solo Innova Wood Gasification Boiler ($8200.00 Value).


Second Place: Three winners will receive a Loveless Ash Vacuum ($235.00 Value).


Third Place: Five winners will receive a Moisture Meter ($125.00 Value)


First 50 Entries will receive a free woodpile poster from submitted woodpile photographs.

Photographs submitted will be used to create a poster. This poster will be sold with all of the proceeds donated to a Fuel Assistance Program

The Show Us Your Woodpile Contest runs July 1, 2009 thru April 15, 2010. Winners will be notified on Earth Day April 22, 2010.

Please click here for contest entry form and contest rules.

Please click here for downloadable contest flyer.

Some woodpile examples:


Seasonal Sculpture by Alastair Heseltine

Seasonal Sculpture by Alastair Heseltine

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Best Use of Biomass is for Heat

Letter written to the editor of Hearth and Home from Jon Strimling-President of

To the Editor:

As state and federal policymakers work to stimulate jobs in renewable energy and give the economy a much-needed boost, we would be wise to heed the lesson of Germany.  After substantial investment in wind and solar energy, Germany actually created more jobs in biomass than in either solar or wind.

According to a recent Heinrich Boll Foundation study, Germany created 75,000 jobs in solar photovoltaic, 84,000 jobs in wind and 96,000 jobs in biomass - with fewer public funds invested in biomass than in either solar or wind.  German policymakers focused on using biomass as efficiently as possible - for the greatest measures of carbon emissions reduction, for energy independence and economic growth.  By any of these metrics, using biomass as a heating fuel provides greater returns than electricity generation or transportation.

Installing a biomass heating system grows perennial jobs and infrastructure. Unlike solar or wind energy, the energy in biomass is harvested and transported by Americans year after year.  However, we must be careful to use biomass in the most efficient manner. Using biomass fuels, such as wood pellets, for heat is 85-92% efficient, while using it for electrical generation is only 25-35% efficient.

Despite that, the Markey-Waxman Renewable Electricity Standards Bill (RES), which Congress is currently debating, would provide incentives to use biomass for electricity rather than its ideal use: heat.  That can actually be counter-productive by depressing the adoption of more efficient biomass heating systems.

Fortunately, awareness of this issue is mounting.  Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) have each introduced new legislation which recognizes the benefits of using biomass to generate heat - and American jobs. Victories here will help biomass fuel manufacturers keep their feed stock pricing from increasing, strengthening the economic and environmental advantages of hearth appliances.

So jobs in our industry do grow on trees - but how we harvest those jobs is worthy of careful consideration.

Jon Strimling

Co-Chairman, Biomass Thermal Energy Council

President & CEO

84 Daniel Plummer Road, Goffstown NH


Lambda Controlled Wood Combustion in Gasification Boilers

Lambda controlled combustion in wood burning boilers combines modern computer processing and control with the ancient use of wood as fuel.

The problem: A traditional problem with wood burning is the emission of unburned, yet energy rich gasses as smoke. Burning smoke enhances efficiency and decreases harmful emissions. If wood is heated and turned into charcoal without active flame, about ½ of the energy content in the wood will be released as smoke. The combustion of wood involves three phases- drying (evaporation of water), smoke production, and charcoal. All three phases are taking place to some degree simultaneously, however the bulk of a load of wood in a combustion chamber will generally be in one phase or another depending upon how long the wood has been exposed to high temperatures/fire. Combustion of wood smoke is only achieved at very high temperature and with proper combustion air mixing. Because wood is changing phases as it is heated/burned and because wood is an irregular fuel by shape, species, moisture content, age, etc. regulation of combustion air in order to optimize combustion and to minimize emissions of smoke is very difficult to maintain manually.

The solution: Wood gasification boilers typically burn wood in an upper (primary) combustion/wood storage area. This combustion zone is relatively low in temperature and is quite large. The primary combustion chamber is generally supplied by air at the base of the base of the primary combustion chamber. Below the primary combustion chamber there is a secondary combustion zone generally consisting of a ceramic refractory chamber with injected combustion air. The secondary chamber is designed for high turbulence, high temperature and high residence time of the combustible gasses. A lambda control system automatically adjusts primary and secondary combustion air through independent air controls, optimizing combustion as the wood burns. The lambda control system monitors excess oxygen and the temperature of the exhaust, feeds this information to the processor, and adjusts air damper servo motors appropriately. Combustion air is adjusted to automatically match the composition of the wood fuel at any stage of combustion, and for any variation in the wood fuel. Harmful emissions are reduced and efficiency increases.
















1. Exhaust Stack
2. Lambdatronic S3200 Control
3. Draft Fan
4. Server-Controlled primary and Secondary Air Dampers
5. Combustion Chamber

Which would you choose?