Friday, December 29, 2006

World's Biggest Offshore Windfarm


Who is Going to Build the World's Largest Off-shore Wind-farm?

Ireland announced it was to construct the "world's biggest wind-farm" in 2002 but there is a new claimant for this category. The UK has plans to build the world's largest offshore wind farm off the coast of south-east England. The £1.5bn scheme will be called the London Array. It will have 341 turbines in the Thames estuary and could generate 1,000 megawatts of power, enough to meet about 1% of the UK's electricity needs.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Wind Power


The Cost of Generating Electricity by Wind
Where are Ireland's Grand Plans??

The Cost of Generating Electricity by Wind has fallen a great deal since the 1980 ies. The cost of oil has equally risen in that time.

Here are the figures for 1 Kilo Watt Hour, or the cost of keeping a single bar electric fire going for 1 hour:

38 US cents in the early 1980 ies
18 US cents in 1990
5 US cents 2003
3 US cents by 2020 (projected figures)

Ireland had some plans for a huge wind farm on the Arklow sandbank in 2002 - I wonder what has happened to that plan?

The News at the time

In 2002 Ireland approved plans to build the world's largest wind farm on a sandbank ten kilometers offshore from Arklow. The Arklow Sandbank— a sliver of land is one of the windiest locations in Ireland. The plans were for 200 wind turbines. The wind farm is expected to generate about 10 percent of the country's energy needs by the time the project is complete, or about 520 megawatts of electricity.


Friday, December 22, 2006

Review of this blog's year


This blog was first posted on Wednesday 7th June last. That's just over 28 weeks ago. The counter shows that there have been 27, 036 page loads since the blog went live. That means the average has been almost 1000 per week.

It would appear therefore that this blog has gained a fair sized readership. I am counting that as a success in itself. Judging from the letters and comments I have received, it has drawn a fair deal of reaction, both positive and negative. The reaction has been mainly positive and supportive. I am counting that as another success!

The blog has managed to rattle a few cages in the commercial world. The price comparisons have proved to be most irritating to some readers in business. This I count as another success.

The blog has failed to draw ANY response whatsoever from SEI. I do not count this as a failure as I have maintained, more or less, that there is no life in SEI anyway. Maybe that should read, no intelligent life in SEI!!

If I have caused any few people to avoid a rip off, or provoked some thought on renewable energy in any few minds, I am happy with my efforts during the year. I hope to keep up the blog in 2007 and nail a few more cowboys!


Wishes to All at End of Christian Year


At the end of the Christian year 2006
I wish all readers of this blog:




Thursday, December 21, 2006

My List for Santa


My List for Santa

Dear Santa,

Can I please have the following things delivered for Christmas or any time during the New Year would also be fine.

1. That the price of Renewable Energy equipment in Ireland comes into line with the rest of Europe. With lots and lots of real competition.
2. Proper regulation (with teeth) of prices for equipment and installers by SEI. Or the disbanding of the present SEI and its replacement with a more pro-active and clued-in management.
3. Proper safety standards being set for sustainable energy equipment.
4. The promotion of wood pellet manufacture in Ireland.
5. Active government interest and input to ensure stable prices and good supplies of wood pellets.
6. A huge increase in wind generation capacity in Ireland.
7. Massive and immediate investment in BioMass power generation.
8. The disbanding of ESB and its replacement with a proper management system.
9. Grants and investment in the production of BioDeisel.

Can I please reserve the right to add to my list.

Many thanks Santa!


Monday, December 18, 2006

Questions -Questions


Questions for any Pellet Boiler Dealer

To be fair to Kedco, the questions I posed in the last blog to that company are 100% applicable to any would-be re-seller of pellet boilers.

I also believe that any self respecting company should not have to be asked these question. They should proudly display the questions and answers in their advertising materials.

I would take any coyness on the part of a company about answering these questions as a black mark against them, and would refuse to deal with that company.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Kedco Wood Pellet Questions


Unanswered Questions from Kedco

I have been reading in the papers where Kedco are expanding their franchise in Ireland, selling, among other items, their own branded OPOP boiler.

Some 6 weeks ago I posed some questions to Kedco by their own invitation.
Just to remind you here again are the questions:

1. How secure is Kedco's pellet supply?,
2. What prices are offered on wood pellets, bulk, bagged, baled?,
3. Can Kedco guarantee a price on pellets for any length of time i.e . the next 12 to 18 months perhaps?,
4. How long is the guarantee on the burner unit as distinct from the boiler?,
5. Will Kedco supply parts replaced by other than their own technicians under warranty?
6. What is the cost of Kedco service technicians time per hour, and what mileage cost, and minimum charge?
7. Does Kedco have a stock of spares?
8. Does Kedco have a price-list of spares?
9. If so what is the price of a 16Kw stainless steel burner box/tray/hearth, or an igniter unit?

I would add another couple of questions on reflection:

a. How many fully trained technicians does Kedco have on full time employment?
b. What type of warranty repair is not covered by the guarantee?
c. Under warranty, are there ANY charges for a call-out?
d. Before sale and delivery of a wood pellet boiler, do Kedco survey the location, if so is there a charge?

And here is one new question just added with this blog:

Does the Kedco boiler have a fail-safe water quench anti back-burn device fitted?

It would be nice to have the answers??


Just got this letter


Just Got This Letter:

Hi There,

I like to weld and make things in my spare time and I am thinking of making filler pipes for pellet stores and selling them at a reasonable price including the appropriate connections etc.

My problem is and I hope maybe you could help get some feedback as to what the self builders need made for filling their stores. I have read some people just intend fixing the connector straight to the store but I don't see how this could be good. I read from Balcas site that they need a metal pipe so that's a start. Should I be making a length of pipe with a bend on one end for turning into the silo and the coupler welded to the other end?. Should there be like an expansion area at the end of the pipe? .Also should it be galvanised. ( I used to work in a feed silo factory so I have an idea of whats reqd.)

I would be grateful for any idea you might have or get from other people.

Also have you got or do you intend doing a boiler comparison type chart or separating the good ones from the bad, I think this would be a good idea as I know like everybody else I hear various stories from every supplier.

Many thanks for your time

My Answer:

Hi Angelo,

Thanks for your letter.

If you read my profile would see that I do not have any specialist knowledge of this business. I have gained all of my knowledge from reading and talking to others. I have specific interests that concern me, and which I have been writing about on this blog since last June, these do not include details regarding the design of storage facilities.

I have had several requests for specific advice on various matters. I do not offer advice. I also do not operate an information service as such, I just pass on what I am learning, or just simply have a good old rant at the stupidity of SEI, or some other problem I perceive.

I am unable to offer you any useful information on the matters you asked. Perhaps however you might consider sharing the information with others when you learn it.


PS. Regarding the boiler comparison suggestion, I have reveived several dozen suggestions about various services I should or could offer by spending time compiling this information or that information. BUT I have received no offers of information.

I have no commercial interest whatsoever in this business, and get no reward or payment of any kind out of this blog.

On the other hand, SEI (sustainable Energy Ireland) have got many millions of Euro in taxpayers money to do just that sort of thing, with well paid executives and operatives. With all the money and hoo-ha, they have failed completely to be advisers to the Irish public on matter regarding, value, competence, safety etc.

I would not mind doing more information gathering and comparison type of work if I had the time. It would be nice, once in a while, to have some others, who are concerned with these matters, actually do something about it!!

Ahhhhh - that feels better off my chest!


Saturday, December 16, 2006

DANGER - Murphy's Law and Wood Pellet Boilers


Murphy's Law states: "Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time".

It is how most accidents happen. "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link" in another truism. Both these sayings can be applied to many wood pellet boilers in use in Ireland.

I have already discussed Back-Burn dangers in the previous couple of blogs. A back burn can happen in any boiler with an automated fuel feed system. There needs to be elaborate and fail safe methods for dealing with a back burn. There is only a very primitive system in many Irish installations.

I ask again - how many fires will it take for SEI to set the standards higher?


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Back-Burn Prevention

A Possible Retro-Fit Kit to Prevent Back-Burn

Presented for debate, and not as advice, implied or otherwise, is a simple, elegant, and inexpensive approach to preventing back-burn.

Simply a large bottle of water is suspended some way above the burner unit and a hose attached to the pellet feed tube. The end of hose is sealed with bees wax or a similar low point melting plug. If there should be any back burn, the wax would melt and release the water immediately quenching the fire and preventing any re-ignition. The release of water would not cause any serious damage to the burner or boiler.

Simple ideas are often the best. To me, this appears an elegant solution and would cost very little indeed to implement.

Details like:
(1) The type of hose pipe to be used,
(2) The method and place to attach the hose,
(3) The type of wax or other heat sensitive sealant utilised,
(4) The quantity of water, and
(5) the height of the water, would all need to be verified by testing.

A retro-fit kit of this type could be produced and sold for very small money. Or will we in Ireland wait until a few homes have been burned down before we act??

SEI please take note!!


Wood Pellet Back-Burn

Preventing Back-Burn in Wood Pellet Boilers

Many wood pellet boilers now installed do not have adequate back-burn fire protection fitted. Preventing back-burn in a wood pellet boiler should be as important as fitting a fire-valve on the fuel line to an oil boiler.

The method, or methods, used should be independent of the boiler function, and should also be independent of power supply.

There have been a number of suggested solutions to the danger. Some of them are priced highly (it is only what you have come to expect with wood pellet boilers), and some can cost as little as €5.

One fool-proof, simple, independent system is a water quench system. One such device I will outline in the next blog. This is NOT a recommendation from me nor is it to be taken as expert advice of any sort. It is an ingenious suggestion I have been told about, and I am simply passing it on to the technically savvy out there who might like to do something with it.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Sustainable Energy Ireland

How are Sustainable Energy Ireland Doing

with regard to their
Constitution and Prime Tasks?

Following is an para-phrased extract from a document on the SEI web site which outlines the correct way to promote and introduce wood pellet heating. Each bulletpoint is from the document, my comments are in brackets and italics.

How to introduce pellets successfully

· Increase public awareness of wood pellet heating
(To be fair SEI has done a good job in this department, the web site is very good, and the seminars around the country have also been successful in their task)

· Prove reliable pellet quantities and delivery
(SEI have failed miserably and completly here. They didn't even bother to consult the existing manufacturer regarding projected installation figures, so that Balcas might have some chance to re-tool and up production output)

· Establish strict quality standards for wood pellets
(What standards? and even if there are some criteria written down somewhere, how is that affecting the customer. Standards without teeth are useless)

· Establish clear quality standards for woodpellet boilers (high efficiency, low emissions and reliable operation) (and above all SAFETY)
(Again - What standards? Most important standards are missing. SAFETY!! The greater portion of wood pellet boilers now installed have no independent and reliable back-burn safety system installed)

· Poor quality boilers represent a bigger problem for long term market development than over-priced boilers!
(Lots of poor quality boilers in Irelandand some of them also qualify for inclusion in the "overpriced" category)

So how does SEI measure up on the criteria they thewmselves have published on their website?
I suppose a score of "1 out of 5" isn't all that bad by "Irish" standards, what do you think is it?

But the lack of properly applied safety standards are unforgivable.
So I give SEI a "failed" on applying their own criteria.



Safety for Wood Pellet Boilers

Safety and Back Burn!

Regarding Safet for wood pellet boilers, especially,
to do with the real danger of back-burn.

I will be returning to this subject again soon.

Please stay tuned.


Potential Fire Hazard

Many Wood Pellet Boilers Potential Fire Hazards

The greater majority of the wood pellet boilers being sold in Ireland do not have adequate “back-burn” protection.

What does “back-burn” protection mean?

In a wood pellet boiler the burner unit, where the flame is created, is connected to the supply of pellets via an auger and a piece of plastic tubing. (see above picture)

The purpose of the bit of plastic tubing is to “melt” if there is burning of the pellets back up through the tube through which they are fed, thus cutting off the pellet supply. In many boilers this is really the only separate back-burn protection.

If, for instance, there was a storm blowing with possible down draught in the flue, a backpressure might be created temporarily in the pellet feed tube. If this should happen for any reason, the pellets in the tube could easily and quickly ignite.

If the pellets should ignite in the feed tube, and really get going, the question is would the plastic melt fast enough to stop a fire?

Would you trust the bit of plastic tubing, (by implication, approved by SEI, as they approve the boilers) , to save your home or the lives of your family???

My guess is that all of these boilers will have to be retro-fitted with water quench safety devices.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Prices - Comment

A Comment just in from "fandango1"

Just put a deposit on a 16kw Scotte OPOP wood pellet boiler. Total price including auger & 250kg hopper is €4660. Seems fairly comparable to european prices mentioned in previous blog posts. What do you think?

My reply:

Not good value at all!! Maybe less profiteering than some other sellers.

€3793 inclusive of Irish VAT - should be the Irish price - based on Danish prices AND allowing €200 to cover the extra transport to Ireland. Remember also that Denmark is NOT a cheap country!! €4660 minus €3793 = €867 loading on top of the profit that the Danish shop is making!!

The Atmos boiler with Swedish burner, to which you made the comment, is in a different class altogether - so you could not really compare it with an OPOP Scotte combination. it represents a really good price from the Polish company.

Hope you can get a reliable supply of pellets this winter!

Best of luck.

From an earlier Blog:
Boilers and Burners

Boilers are the BIG thing, like a fridge, the Burner is a smallish unit bolted to the side or to the front of the Boiler. In Ireland there are various combinations of boiler and burner being sold as units.

The Opop Boiler (generally grey in colour) is very popular, as is the Dor Boiler unit (generally red in colour)

The Scotte and the Boink Burner units are very commonly fitted to either of the above boilers.

The Dor boiler is dearer than the Opop, as it can burn logs, and the Scotte burner is a bit more expensive than the Boink, though both offer 100 step modulation.


The Danish Retail price for the combination 16Kw unit is 20,400Dk plus tax. In our money that's €2734 plus 21% VAT. Now you will need to add a hopper unit to that price but hoppers can easily be built or locally made. The boilers are made in the Czech Republic and have to be shipped to Denmark. Shipping to Ireland would cost a bit extra so add say €200 extra to cover the longer shipping haul.

For fear I be accused of distorting the facts here is the site link:

Now lets add it all up - shall we? Combination Boink Boiler unit €2734, a locally made hopper unit say €200 and another €200 for the extra shipping. That gives us €3134 plus 21% VAT which is a total of €3793 inclusive of Irish VAT, transport and a locally made hopper unit.


Irish Energy Policy

The Celtic Knot - Symbol of Irish Energy Planning

Well, if Ireland's Sustainable Energy Planning lacks "joined up thinking", it certainly does not lack length and knots.

1. Promote wood pellet heating installations - but do not give a thought to fuel supply!
2. Promote wind power - but allow ESB to dictate just how much wind energy they will allow on the network!
3. Grant aid domestic alternative energy installations - but have no thought of standards, safety or value for money, allow the cowboys and gougers to do their worst!
4. Plan to have 30% of Ireland's energy delivered from sustainable mean by the year 2020 - but no thought of how the remaining 70% can be achieved in the last 5 to 10 years of oil????
5. Talk of atomic energy in Ireland - but - no but - it is madness!!

Oh for heaven's sake - can it get any more twisted or knotted than that?


Polish Boiler Dealership

Polish Boilers - The Contact Information

Here is the web address with all the details of the Polish Dealer:


Friday, December 08, 2006

The Polish Dealers Details

Knot not Not? Knotted?

You will be looking for the Polish dealers details maybe?

Tune in again in a day or two, I will include full details
in my next post.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

More Polish Prices

The Atmos D 20P 22Kwatt Pellet boiler with an Iwabo Swedish Burner Unit left or right sided fitting, Auger and a 250L silo for 15,671 Zlotty inclusive of Polish VAT at 22%.

Additionally the burner unit can be easilt removed and the boiler then used to burn lump wood.

The Irish price €4117 inclusive of VAT at todays exchange rates.

Ship 'em in from Poland lads!!


Pellet Boiler Prices in Poland

Title of This Blog
Prices of Wood Pellet Boilers in Poland
Ireland Wake Up!!

The BioMaster 20Kw Wood Pellet Boiler Complete

So that you might have something to compare Irish Wood Pellet Boiler prices with, I will post some Polish prices here on the blog over the next few days. First one up, is a make called BioMaster, following is the blurb as published:

BioMaster 20 KiloWatt pellet Boiler complete
Nominal power: 20 kW (enough output for the average home)
Efficiency: 91,7 – 92,3 % (looks as if this one is highly efficient)
Warranty: 2 years

Advantages of the boiler:
- high efficiency
- full automatic functioning
- quick and easy maintenance
- economical fuel burning
- smoke-free and ecological burning
- possibility to install two pumps and steering I

Price: 12,810 Polish Zlotte incl VAT
That’s €3365 incl. VAT at todays exchange rates.

How do you think the Polish price compares with Irish prices?
We will just have to send a van to Poland or else maybe get some Polish business people to set up in Ireland!!!


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Fuel Cells for Electricity Generation

What About Fuel Cells?

I had an interesting letter recently from Brett F. , proposing fuel cells as a possible alternative energy source. It is an area of power generation I had not given much consideration. Here is a brief extract of that interesting letter:

Hi, A lot of great points you raise here. I too would like to see some appreciation for sustainability in the Energy supply in Ireland and around the world.

You should explore the possibility of fuel cells mentioned later in my rant. I have been loosely following their development for some years now, but I’m not sure why their release to the market is so slow. They are very expensive at the moment but when everyone has one or two in the back yard and 5 or 6 in the house, I’m sure they will be cheaper to produce than petrol.

Fuel Cells are possibly the long-term answer. A fuel Cell, say 1 cubic meter in size, is supposed to be capable of supplying a small village. The Ideal Fuel cell requires Hydrogen and Oxygen in gas form, and the only output is H2O (Pure Water) and Electricity. Some types can produce a little CO2 because they use methanol as an input instead of Hydrogen gas, but its negligible. The energy is not produced by burning the fuel, but it uses the electro potential difference of two gasses to strip electrons for the electricity – like a battery.

A battery used electro potential of two metals but the electro potential between two gasses is much greater. The problem in harnessing this electro potential is keeping the two gasses physically separated while letting electrons and ions flow between them. Recently, this has been made possible using ceramics technology.