Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Wild Idea

Tarm Biomass Stratton Brook Hut About 5 years ago I was told about the building of the Poplar Stream Hut. The hut on Poplar Stream would be powered by a hydroelectric turbine and solar electric panels, include state of the art energy efficiency measures, composting toilets, and a radiant floor heating system heated by a wood boiler. The hut would be a wilderness hut, but with relatively luxurious accommodations. There would be a lodge and bunkhouses that formed a mini district heating system. The hut was to be the first of twelve huts in a wilderness hut to hut trail system. The huts were being planned to provide beyond-expectation base camps for all manner of human powered recreation including hiking, biking, skiing, snow shoeing, and canoeing. In the remarkable terrain of the Western Mountains region of Maine, even more laid back forms of recreation would be able to take advantage of the hut system. Sight-seeing, fishing, photography, and many other earth friendly forms of recreation were likely to benefit from the hut system. To overcome remote locations, the hut designers had to conserve energy, use innovative building systems such as composting toilets, and use locally available energy. The designers didn’t stop there. As many building materials as possible would be locally sourced and assembled by local people. Even furniture would be locally made with locally harvested wood. When I found out that the sustainable systems that the huts would employ also would benefit from the visibility of regular energy tours, I was convinced that the Huts and Trails organization was an organization I wanted to support.

As a regular visitor to this region of Maine for several years, not only was I interested in having Tarm Biomass provide the boilers, but I was so sure of the model, and so thrilled to have a chance to be involved with such a personally and philosophically interesting project that I decided that Tarm would provide boilers at no charge.

The Western Mountains region of Maine has traditionally relied upon timber harvest and the forest products industry for a large part of its income. Recreation at the ski areas, lakes, and fishing and hunting lodges have also contributed to the livelihoods of those living in the region. In recent years though, the region has suffered as have many rural regions of the Northeast. The region could benefit from the right kinds of economic growth. The founders of Maine Huts and Trails had a vision. They could see a multi-faceted organization that would bring new visitors to Maine for all of the right reasons. They were then able to distill their ideas into a working plan. This plan and the enthusiasm of the MH&T organization enabled others to share the vision.

Tarm Biomass Maine Hut and TrailsOn Wednesday, December 12th I joined at least 50 other outdoor enthusiasts and supporters for the ribbon cutting at the Stratton Brook Hut. The fourth hut in the system and probably the most spectacular, which is saying something given the other three fantastic huts, Stratton Brook Hut takes ample advantage of its 1800 square foot elevation and ridgeline location for long mountain views in all directions. As with other huts in the system, both the radiant floor heat and hot showers are provided by an HS-Tarm boiler and thermal storage tank. Up to 42 guests are accommodated by the hut, which puts the heating system to the test in this mountainous and northern location. With a wood consumption of only 10-15 cords of wood each year, the boilers are proving themselves to be important energy work horses at the huts.

I couldn’t be more thrilled to be contributing to this brilliant hut system. If you have not visited the Western Mountains region of Maine, if you haven’t been a patron of Maine Huts and Trails, you are missing out on a wonderful experience. Their new director, Nicole Freedman is a former member of the U.S. cycling team and was the Boston Massachusetts “Bike Czar” under Mayor Menino before moving to Maine. Nicole is bringing a new emphasis to mountain biking at the Hut system, an emphasis that I am eagerly waiting to benefit from.

At the ribbon cutting, Chairman of the Maine Huts and Trails Board, Bob Peixotto, gave a speech that clearly stated the history, the vision, the status, and what the future holds for the Huts system. Excerpted remarks of  Mr. Peixotto’s speech are provided here.

The statistics provided by Mr. Peixotto are impressive, but not as impressive as the first hand experience. Once you visit a Maine Huts and Trails hut, you will want to come back. I find the Carrabassett Valley visually spectacular, recreationally diverse, refreshingly rural, and welcoming.

Tarm Biomass Maine Hut and Trails

Tarm Biomass Solo Innova Maine Hut and Trails

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Featured Business NH Magazine’s Small Sustainability Champion

NH Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) receives the NH Business Magazine’s 2012 Small Business Sustainability Award.

Froling P4 SPCA Building 1

Systems Installed: Two Fröling P4 48/60 with 400 gallons of thermal storage located in the Adoption Center.
One Fröling P4 32/38 located in the Learning Center.
Fuel Store: One External silo with 28 ton capacity and an internal 4 ton cloth silo.
Completed Date: Winter 2012
Installed By: Froling Energy Peterborough, NH  (603) 924-1001

The Story:

In the winter of 2012 NH SPCA had a wood pellet boiler system installed to provide space heat and hot water in their popular Stratham facility. This 18,000 square foot complex consists mainly of a pet Adoption Center and a Learning Center which are in use 7 days a week.

The new heating system for the Adoption Center utilizes 2 Froling P4 wood pellet boilers (400,000 BTU/Hr combined output) located in the basement. These boilers will provide 80% or more of the heat required for space heat. A silo with a capacity of 28 tons of wood pellets was installed outdoors, adjacent to the boiler room. The existing oil boilers remain in place to act as a back up as well as to assist in peak load conditions. These boilers will contribute heat equivalent to 8,000 gallons of fuel oil each year using approximately 63 tons per year. $16,000 in savings is projected in the first year.

On each day throughout the year, approximately 1,600 gallons of hot water are used to keep all animals and the areas they live in perfectly clean as well as for sterilization, laundry and routine maintenance tasks. The pellet boilers in the Adoption Center will also provide all domestic hot water when needed, as a back up to the solar water heating system by way of a heat exchanger within a new 1000 gallon hot water storage tank that was installed by the solar system contractor. During the winter, the production of DHW will be mainly provided by the pellet boilers while during the rest of the year the solar system will dominate.

Froling Energy also installed a smaller, 130,000 BTU/Hr Froling P4 wood pellet boiler in the Learning Center, connected to an indoor silo with a 4 ton capacity. Projected heating load for this part of the building is the equivalent of about 2,800 gallons of oil. The existing oil boiler also remains in place here. These boilers will contribute heat equivalent to 2,500 gallons of fuel oil each year using approximately 20 tons per year. $5,000 in savings is projected in the first year.

Carbon reductions are significant. The three boilers will offset over 145 tons of carbon each year. This is the equivalent of the carbon emitted annually from 23 cars that get an average of 19 mpg, traveling 12,000 miles per year.

Froling P4 SPCA 2Froling P4 SPCA Silo

Froling P4 SPCA 3

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Featured Installation: Fröling P4 Pellet Boiler 48/60, North Street Apartments, South Royalton, VT

System Installed: Fröling P4 48/60 wood pellet boiler, 300 gallon buffer tank, two Turbomax Instantaneous Water Heaters, and a 15 ton outside silo for pellet fuel storage.
Installed Date: August 2012
Installed by: Lacasse Installations LLC, 528 Latham Road, Thetford, VT 05043 802-785-4022
Steve, the owner of North Street Apartments had the idea to build affordable housing to help house students attending the nearby Vermont Law School. His idea is now a reality. Steve performed the  layout design and a local modular home builder in Claremont, NH built the modular studio units. He is putting the finishing touches on the eight 400 sq. ft units. He plans on adding two more units and up to 4 single family homes, all heated with the Fröling P4 wood pellet boiler.
Froling P4 North Street 1
Froling P4 North Street 2
Froling P4 North Street 3

Friday, August 3, 2012

2012 Pellet Fuel Institute Annual Conference-Foxwoods Casino, CT


I was happy to attend this year’s annual Pellet Fuel Institute Conference at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT. It was two full days of presentations related to the pellet fuel industry. This including topics ranging from pellet plant safety, future pellet fuel standards, and ways to improve the pellet fuel market.

It was great to network with other individuals involved and interested in renewable biomass. It was a great place for a conference, even if  you are  not a gambler. The weather, food, and location was great!

MGM Grand Foxwoods



Christiane Egger, from 0.ö. Energiesparverband in Upper Austria was the keynote speaker. This is the third time I have heard her speak and every time she makes me realize the potential of the pellet fuel market within the United States and beyond. Click here to view her power point presentation.



John Crouch(PFI), Me(Travis Paige), and Christiane Egger

Here are some more photos…

DSC_8960 DSC_8965 DSC_8970

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Montpelier Senior Center Gets a New Life-Now Heated with Wood Pellets (Fröling P4 48/60)

In December 2009 a fire nearly destroyed the Montpelier Senior Activity Center on Barre Street in Montpelier.


Before the fire, the building had some efficiency issues. The building’s energy consumption was huge with a budget of  over $38,000 a year for heat and electricity. The 25,000 sq ft. building had no insulation, single pane windows, and a outdated heating system that was controlled by only one thermostat.

Scott Nichols was present at the inauguration and was able to tour the facility. Here are some photos that he took:











The new building now meets all building codes, has a new kitchen, classrooms, new roof, solar panels, sprinkler and alarm systems, elevator, air conditioning, and of course a new Fröling P4 pellet boiler with thermal storage and an inside pellet store room.

The Fröling P4 pellet boiler was sold by Sunwood Biomass 124 Fiddlers Green, Waitsfield VT 05673 802-583-9300 Contact: Dave Frank

For more information on this project, they do have a blog and website. They even have a Facebook page.

More images of the fire damage can be seen here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Daigle Oil’s New Bulk Pellet Delivery Truck

Daigle Oil Pellet Truck

Daigle Oil, our dealer in Northern Maine has just purchased a pneumatic wood pellet delivery truck. Their wood pellet delivery service, branded as DOC Bioheat will service customers in Aroostock and Penobscot counties. Daigle Oil has been a Tarm Biomass dealer for over 5 years and has just sent a team of technicians to our location for training on the Fröling P4 wood pellet boiler. So, If you are interested in a wood pellet boiler for your home or business in northern Maine, please give Daigle a call.

Featured Installation: Fröling P4 Fully Automatic Pellet Boiler-Madbury, NH

Systems Installed: Fröling P4 32/38 with a 300 gallon thermal storage tank. External approx. 5 ton silo.
Installed and sold by: John Abbott Enterprises, Inc Center Barnstead, NH 603-608-8124
Completion Date: December 2011

The new Fröling P4 wood pellet boiler is installed in the home’s detached workshop to the existing heating system. There are also evacuated tube solar panels installed on the roof for domestic hot water production. The home is approximately 2,500 square feet including the workshop.

Froling P4 Install Madbury

Froling P4 External Silo

Froling P4 32/38

Froling P4 chimney Connections

Rear of Froling P4 32/38

Solar Tubes

Monday, May 7, 2012

Pellet Boiler from Tarm Biomass is Helping Cafe Solar to Dry Coffee Beans

During the summer of 2010, Richard and Raul from Mesoamerican Development Institute (MDI) paid us a visit with pellets produced from coffee bean waste. We burned some of the fuel in our Multi-Heat 2.5 pellet boiler. The Multi-Heat has a very simple burn process which can handle the higher ash content of the fuel. Burning the coffee bean waste pellets was a success, so a boiler was packed up and shipped to MDI for later shipment to Honduras. MDI has teamed up with Cafe Solar to help coop coffee growers in Central America to find better ways in drying their coffee beans. For the past 70 years coffee has used firewood to dry coffee beans. All of this firewood comes from the local rain forests. It is estimated that Mesoamerica (The area between Central Mexico to Honduras) uses approximately six thousand hectares (almost 15,000 acres) of forest to dry coffee beans each year. 

The pellet boiler will help a large solar powered dryer at the COMISUYL Cooperative located in Subriana, Yoro, Honduras. Here are some images of their processing center. This processing plant does not use any firewood from the rain forest.

Here are some more links related to the project:!/pages/Cafe-Solar/104282260812







Thursday, April 26, 2012

Featured Installation: Fröling P4 Fully Automatic Pellet Boiler-Hartford, VT Rest Area

Heading southbound, this is the new I91 rest area building just south of the I91 and I89 interchange in Hartford, VT.

Systems Installed: Fröling P4 32/38 with 300 gallon thermal storage. External silo.
Sold By: Sunwood Biomass 124 Fiddlers Green, Waitsfield, VT 05673 802-583-9300
Completion Date: Spring of 2012

 Froling P4 Hartford Rest Area 1

Froling P4 Hartford Rest Area 2

Froling P4 Hartford Rest Area 3

Froling P4 Hartford Rest Area 4

  Froling P4 Hartford Rest Area 5      

 Froling P4 Hartford Rest Area 6

 Froling P4 Hartford Rest Area 7

 Froling P4 Hartford rest Area 8

 Froling P4 Hartford Rest Area 10

    Froling P4 Hartford Rest Area 11 

More information on the Fröling P4 can be found here.

Which would you choose?