Saving Energy and Money With Effective Heating and Air Conditioning

Did you know that heating and air conditioning can make up for half of your total energy bill? That’s a lot of money and a lot of energy use. If your heating and air aren’t working properly they can’t effectively use that energy and that costs you money and sends more greenhouse gases into the environment. Below we will list a few ways you can keep your energy bill low and your heating and air systems running smoothly and efficiently.

Limit Use

Use the seasons to your advantage and limit your use of heating and AC. Close your blinds in the summer to keep the sun from working against your air conditioning and open the curtains in the winter time to have the sun help your heating.

Consider if your thermostat has a feature that can be set on a timer so you can limit the use of your heating and air conditioner when no one is in the house or at night. These seem like simple things but they can reduce your costs significantly when done regularly.

Regular Maintenance

Don’t forget to do regular maintenance to ensure your HVAC system is working efficiently. Simple things like changing you air filters can make a huge impact on how well your heating and air conditioning runs. Have a professional come at least once a year to check for any problems you may miss and ensure everything is OK.

hvac-repair

Your contractor should measure the voltage of your motors and tighten electrical connections. They should also check for drainage that may cause water damage to your home. These regular check ups also ensure your systems are running properly and safely.

Sealing Ducts and Leaks

Ducts are responsible for distributing the air around your home. However, about 20 percent of air is lost through leaks and poorly connected ducts. This means you’ll be pumping up the AC to no affect and losing money in the process.

Sealing leaks that are visible in the attack, crawl space, or basement of your home is as easy as buying a sealant or tape meant for insulating your ducts. Check for and seal any visible leaks or poor connections. If you prefer to stay away from dirty attics or crawl spaces a contractor can easily do this for you as well.

Insulation

Insulating your home can save you up to 10 percent on your annual energy bill and make your home comfortable all year long. The attic is an ideal place to add insulation to your home and when done correctly can save the most money and energy. Also consider your windows and doors.

Heating and cooling can easily escape through old doors and windows making your system inefficient. Have a contractor look at these places in your home and see if they can help insulate your home so it can run comfortably.

These are just a few examples of ways you can make your home more energy efficient thus saving your wallet and giving a little help to the environment. Find a contractor like Empire HVAC that can look at your home and determine the best route for your house. Different systems have different needs and a professional can tell you everything your house needs to keep you comfortable, regardless of weather  conditions.

12 Ways Small Businesses Can Save Energy

Saving money is important for businesses and saving energy is important for all of us – so here is the perfect mix of both and some great tips for small businesses to save on energy.

  1. Get A Free Energy Audit

A full energy audit helps identify issues that might be causing energy wastage – these include insulation issues and air leaks. Most electricity utility companies offer these audits free of charge. The inspection not only helps you determine how energy is used but also ways to address energy wastage.  The audit report will also recommend ways to keep your energy usage on the low, such as investing in energy efficient lighting and equipment.

Inquire with Josco Energy Corporation about a free audit.

  1. Invest in Energy-Efficient Office Equipment

Energy efficient (energy-star rated) appliances use up less energy as compared to older non-rated ones. That said, it would be advisable for you to lease/buy energy star rated office electronics.  This should help see your energy bills drop significantly, hence substantial cost savings in the long run.

  1. Avoid Peak Demand

Peak demand can be defined as the time of the day when there’s a high demand for energy. These are the hours when energy usage is the highest. The typical peak hours start from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Reducing your demand for electricity during these times and only running the factory and heavy equipment early in the morning, and later in the evening can help reduce energy consumption. Reducing your demand for energy during peak hours also means the business spends less on energy usage at the end of the day.

  1. Use Programmable Thermostats

Smart thermostats make it easy to monitor and control temperatures in the workplace when everyone is in the office (9 – 5), and away. The thermostat can be programmed to turn OFF the heating and cooling appliances during the night, and back ON a few minutes to ‘work hours’. This in return sees you save lots of energy that would have otherwise been wasted had the HVAC systems remained on through the night.

  1. Switch Off Lights in Unused Areas

Most offices have an always-on lights setup. This means the lights in all rooms including bathrooms, conference rooms, breakrooms, and even unused corridors. This leads to energy wastage which can be preserved if lights were only turned on when needed. Installing sensors to turn the lights on or off when required could help too.

  1. Switch to Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs use up more energy for the same amount of light when compared to CFLs and LEDs that use just a fraction of it. Switching from incandescent bulbs to CFL or LEDs should help the company use less energy in lighting. This is the simplest and easiest ways to save energy in the workplace.

  1. Make Use of Natural Light

Always take advantage of the natural sunlight whenever you can. You can do so by drawing the blinds, curtains, and opening the windows to allow the sunlight in. Be sure to switch off lights in well-lit areas well. Letting the sunlight in also means you get passive heating from the sun, hence no need to have the heaters on. While it may seem like nothing, taking advantage of the natural sunlight should help save the business a few kilowatt hours a day.

  1. Run Fans

Have fans installed in showrooms, warehouses, kitchens, and offices alike. The fans will help keep the air moving, hence facilitate optimal air circulation. This means the HVAC system will run more efficiently and smoothly translating to lower energy consumption.

  1. Power Down Computers and Other Office Equipment When Not in Use

Having everyone power down their computers at the end of the day should help save lots of energy. You might also want to set the laptops to go to sleep or hibernate if not used for a certain number of minutes or hours. Be sure to turn off and unplug other electronic devices from the mains sockets.

Although modern toasters, coffee makers, printers, and other office appliances have a ‘sleep’ mode when not in use, these continue to draw some current if left plugged. Unplugging these will save some more kilowatts. 

  1. Avoid ‘Phantom’ Energy

As mentioned earlier, some equipment will continue to draw electricity when plugged in.  That said, making it a habit of unplugging such devices or using a power strip on them, can help save some energy. With a power strip, a simple flip of the switch will cut electricity supply to the connected devices. 

  1. Make Adjustments to the Surrounding Landscape

If you have control over the landscape around, you can then use it to your advantage. Energy-efficient landscaping, such as planting trees strategically to block winds and provide shelter, will go a long way in reducing heating and cooling costs.

  1. Involve the Employees

Encouraging the employees to take on energy-efficiency practices can help reduce electricity costs and energy wastage too. Train the employees to turn off their computers after work, switch off lights, as well as use energy efficient appliances in the workplace.  Inspiring them to save more energy should work well for the company. You can see more tips and tricks on how to improve employee energy-saving practices here.

Why Passive Homes Will Be the Future of Home Building

As individuals and companies alike begin to consider more sustainable building options, Passive Homes are an excellent solution. Referred to as “Passivhaus” in German, this construction concept focuses on airtight insulation to create a living space that does not require additional heating or cooling.

Developed in the 1970s, developers have incorporated the PassivHaus design in homes all over the world and in a variety of climates. As an affordable, eco-friendly and versatile construction solution, these homes will play an essential role in the future of homebuilding.

Affordable

Professionals often regard eco-friendly building solutions as too expensive. While construction costs for passive homes can cost 5 to 10% more upfront than a traditional build, these fees are negligible compared to future savings. As sustainable options become standard, these costs may drop. Passive Homes rely on design principles that promote peak energy efficiency without external systems.

With a focus on proper insulation and minimizing air leakage, homeowners can save on conventional heating costs without needing to invest in expensive forms of renewable energy. While solar panels or other types of eco-friendly power are popular, because of the efficiency of the Passive House, their usage is minimal.

Adaptable

People build Passive Houses all over the globe in a variety of climates. The five main principles of passive homebuilding are versatile and can be altered depending on the environment. The airtight construction utilizes proper heat balance, ensuring that warm air remains inside in cooler climates, and properly ventilates in warmer ones.

 

Another nice feature of Passive Home construction is the ability to modify each project aesthetically. Unlike other forms of sustainable building, such as strawbale homes or shipping containers, professionals can construct Passive Homes using a variety of materials. This style does not limit builders to certain architectural styles. Because supplies can vary, many homeowners choose to add to the overall sustainability of their homes by using post-consumer building materials.

Eco-Friendly

Passive Homes are eco-friendly by design. In Europe, it’s the standard building practice of the future. According to The Resolution of the European Parliament, its implementation will be mandatory in new home construction by all member states in 2021.

The elements of Passive Homes are sustainable by default and do not require relying on alternative energy systems for primary energy. The standard principles are the result of research at the Passive House Institute, and include:

  • Airtight structures
  • Double and triple-insulated windows
  • Continuous insulation
  • Thermal sealing
  • Air quality management

Passive Home design principles do not rely on renewables as a primary source of energy, focusing instead on insulation and passive solar to maximize heat efficiency. They’re also the most affordable way to achieve zero-carbon, resulting in energy savings of up to 90% compared to conventional energy systems.

Passive Building for the Future

Passive Home design incorporates efficient ventilation, heat recovery and super insulation to create a high-quality structure that is not only efficient but also extremely comfortable. A contractor can adapt these buildings to any climate or design preference. While Passive Homes are already a standard — and future mandated — construction in Europe, they’re also becoming more popular in the United States.

Thanks to a U.S. Department of Energy “Building America” Grant, the PassivHaus Institute established new building standards that take into account market and climate variables throughout North America, including comfort and performance.

Any architect or contractor can easily utilize the Passive Home style, and the building standards are available via online distribution. As consumers and developers look towards a more sustainable and eco-friendly future, this style of building should be at the forefront of construction.

Tips to Choose the Budget-Friendly System of Energy for Your New Home

Newly arrived at your new home, the first thing is to make sure that you are going to pay the bill for the area that is in your use. That’s why the first day in your new home is advisable to take the meter reading. Good time to introduce yourself to the president of the community … or whoever wants to keep the keys of the accounting room. This advice also applies to gas, water, and other supplies whether it’s new construction or used housing, you should take a meter reading.  Look for iselect energy website! When moving, the first thing is to take note of the different counters (light, water, gas) in order to take responsibility only for what you are going to consume.

Your freedom of choice is sacred

It is very important that you know that you are always entitled to choose your electric company freely. You decide you send.  You have bought a house, or you are renting, this is a right of every consumer to choose the budget-friendly ways for electricity consumption. It is so legitimate that you are interested in changing or continuing with the electric company that you are hired.

What can you choose?

 The company that will send your electricity bill, that is, the electric energy trader.

What can you not choose?

The company that is responsible for providing the energy to your home, that is, the distributor. You do not choose it because you have to choose the one that corresponds to your place of residence.

When you arrive at a new house, it may happen that:

  1. The light is discharged, and both the power and the rate seem appropriate:

If so, and if you want to continue being a client of the same marketer, all you have to do is change the owner of the contract. This procedure is simple, fast and free.

  1. The light is discharged, but the power seems excessive or insufficient

You will have to make a change of power. This procedure costs money, although lowering the power can save a lot on your bill.

  1. The electricity connection is registered, but you want to change the tariff

When you arrive, you can “inherit” a contract with a certain company and a certain rate. If what you find does not convince you, you are free to change your electric energy provider. It is your choice, which service you want to choose for your home.

  1. The light has no connection to the electricity network

If your supply point has not been used for more than 3 years, this procedure costs money. The contract of registration is processed with the distributor, but it is the distributor that installs the meter and activates the supply. For this reason, the payment of this procedure will be made to the distributor in the first invoice.

The payment procedure for the efficient electricity providers is very simple and easy for the consumers. You can pay your bills and others online via credit and debit card.

Creating a Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Home on a Budget

In the US, the typical home and family spend an average minimum of $2,200 on energy costs per year, according to the US Department of Energy. Understandably, homeowners are aiming to cut costs and seeking to save oodles of money down the road. With that being the case, it isn’t surprising to find that more and more people are turning to smart home technology. What about those that can’t exactly afford all the tech-led bells and whistles, however?

Think Long-Term Package

Instead of looking at the things to put in a home, it’s smart to consider the entirety of the home itself—from conceptual plans to layouts and building materials. Planning and choosing a home that is affordable and fashioned to be conducive to a sustainable and energy-efficient build will save you thousands of dollars in the future.

For example, you can try living in a mobile home. Lenders and lending institutions like mobile and manufactured homes so you won’t have trouble securing a loan. These types of homes come in a wide gamut of sustainable materials to choose from like recycled steel. So it provides a good marriage between budgets and sustainability.

Enforcing Helpful Practices

Beyond having a home that’s built to be conducive for sustainability and energy-efficiency, you need to take a long hard look at the habits of the people in the home. When you’re on a budget, fancy things like smart thermostats can be a tad out of reach. So what can you do? You can try enforcing helpful practices.

For example, lowering the water heating temperature can lower your energy consumption by 22% annually. Other good practices are sealing any air leaks so you can avoid any excessive use of heating. Not only will these help you save money but they’ll help keep everyone on the same page when it comes to being energy-efficient.

Seek Sustainable Technology

All the savings you get from a well-built home and sustainable practices will eventually give you more options. Sustainable technology can help boost your home’s energy efficiency. While tech like solar panels can be expensive, it is always worth noting that there are Federal Tax Credit plans that allow homeowners to claim at least 30% of installation costs, according to NerdWallet. Other good options are biogas digesters and active recycling posts on the property.

When it comes to creating a sustainable and energy-efficient home, there are always a lot of options to choose from. It is all a matter of doing the right research to find which solutions help you best with the budget that you presently have. Always remember that whatever you spend now toward sustainability will eventually mean triple in savings and more down the line.

Finding the Most Affordable Electricity Supplier

Have you recently checked out your energy tariffs? If not, then you need to be paying more attention to it now. Keep in mind that your energy bill doesn’t merely indicate or show how much energy you consume.

Take note that your postcode plays an essential role in tracking down how much you pay. According to your region, energy providers charge different rates, although they’re offering the same service. Even if there’s hardly anything you can do about price variations, you can look for the most affordable electricity provider in your region and ensure you are on the optimal tariff.

To save on your energy bill, it might be time to switch to a new supplier. For a little help, here’s how you can find one.

Compare Energy Prices

To analyze all the tariffs for every region as well as the payment method to discover the most inexpensive electricity supplier near you, you can leverage many online services such as the Compare Texas Electricity Rates, Prices & Plans at Eligo Energy.

To start, you need to register online your postcode or zipcode and information about your usage, tariff, and energy supplier. Once you’re done, you can compare deals throughout the market and get the best offer possible.

Keep in mind that aside from ensuring you are on the best available energy deal, you can keep electricity and gas bills to a minimum by making sure that your home is energy efficient. There are short-term measures to save energy that includes;

  • Using low-consumption bulbs.
  • Lowering down your thermostat by one degree.
  • When using an electric kettle, it is wise only to heat as much water.
  • Choose draught-proof doors and windows to cut down heat loss.
  • Turn off standby electrical items.

What’s more, there are long-term measures to save energy that includes;

  • Installing a condensing boiler.
  • Proper insulation.
  • Installing cavity wall insulation.
  • Purchasing energy-efficient electrical items.

Switching Incentives and Refer-A-Friend

A lot of energy providers are now presenting or providing financial rewards for shifting to them. And it includes refer-a-friend deals. So, if you are invited to switch energy providers through a refer-a-friend scheme, ensure you check and examine the following:

  • Customer service
  • Exit fees
  • Attached conditions to the switching incentive
  • Price compared to other deals
  • Price of the tariff

Variable Vs. Fixed Energy Tariffs

More often than not, energy deals arrive in two types: variable and fixed. The question now is, which is best for you? Variable tariffs can alter in price every time your energy provider changes its rates. The default tariff of your supplier will typically be a variable deal.

That said, if you are committed to an energy provider for a couple of years, or did not change after your fixed tariff ended, it is likely that you are on its default tariff. Take note that default tariffs are liable to a price cap, which is a cap on the price for every energy unit, not on your total bill.

Even so, a few small energy suppliers provide variable tariffs that are more affordable compared to large suppliers. Although they can alter their rates too, these suppliers are surely worth considering, especially if you want to pay less without a fixed contract.

On the other hand, fixed tariffs settle the amount you pay for every energy unit you consume for the particular period. Meaning, you know the price beforehand, and it will not increase throughout the contract period. Therefore, if the energy provider increases its prices, yours won’t. However, you will not benefit if the prices decrease, either.

Which is more affordable between the two? Well, the most inexpensive deals out there tend to be a combination of variable and fixed. As such, it is not easy to choose between the two.

Avoiding Exit Fees

Before you even decide to change the energy provider, be sure to check the agreements or terms of your deal. If you choose to withdraw a fixed tariff before your contract ends, you might have to pay an exit fee.

However, do not let this dismay you because not all fixed-term deals include exit fees. So, if you switch, better choose one without exit fees. Also, your energy provider cannot charge an exit fee if you shift provider in the last forty-nine days of your term. Moreover, if you are moving home, you don’t need to pay exit fees.

Takeaway

If you have switched energy providers, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your bills are accurate. You can send your meter readings to your provider to ensure you are being billed only for what you consume. Aside from this, you can ask for a refund if you are unduly in credit. Also, be sure to determine the end date of your fixed-term tariff before you switch to a new deal so that you won’t be moved to a default tariff.

Making Your Home More Green in 2020

Several years ago and nobody had quite caught onto the phenomenon. Now, climate change is completely real – and everyone is attempting to take responsibility for their own impact on the world.

Home-occupiers certainly don’t fall outside of this category and there are umpteen ways in which you can make your home greener if you put your mind to it. Let’s not forget that this doesn’t just benefit the environment, but it should also have a healthy impact on your back pocket as well. Bearing this in mind, let’s now take a look at some of the easiest ways to make your home green in 2020.

Plan your renovations accordingly

If the media are to be believed, we’re in the era of renovations. In other words, homeowners are preferring to stay hold of their home and improve or remodel it, rather than move somewhere else.

However, there are good and bad renovations when it comes to staying green. We’re not talking yet about doing the right amount of planning and if you will consider storing your belongings, but other practical issues.

For the purposes of an example, let’s look into the notion of open plan living and being aware that this is going to have significant heating ramifications. This is something that a lot of people forget, and they find that their radiators are working overtime in a bid to heat their new space.

Always dry line your clothes

Sometimes, the best new technology isn’t actually that beneficial for the environment. This is certainly the case when it comes to drying your clothes.

For example, while great strides have been made with washing machines and energy efficiency, the same can’t be said for dryers. They can use five times more electricity, and little else needs to be said on the matter.

Instead, line-dry your clothes, and the benefits are there for all to see.

Make the most of the rain

Next, it’s onto the garden. This is something that is often not thought of when it comes to sustainability, but particularly if you are based in a country where it rains frequently you can make a difference. Rainwater collection tanks might not be overly fashionable, but they can collect enough water over time which can allow you to maintain your garden without tapping into the mains water supply.

A lot of the modern options allow you to hook the tank up to your guttering system as well, meaning that it becomes all-too easy to collect any water that accumulates around your property’s roof.

Use your kitchen intelligently

How many times have you left the fridge door open as you venture across the room to grab another ingredient? Or, how about leaving the oven door open for similar reasons?

Put simply, this is resulting in a lot of lost energy. It might be small at the time, but it does build up and it can result in your home becoming a lot less green than it really should be.

Pay Your Electricity Bill Effortlessly

Utilities like water and power can end up costing nearly as much as your rent or house payment in a bad month. Unfortunately, you can’t cut off your water service to save money the way you could cut the cable. Here are a few tips to tame your utility bills and make it easier to pay your electric bill with ease.

Clean Up

Cleaning the coils on your refrigerator helps it work more efficiently. Cleaning the coils on your air conditioner can do the same, but your AC uses far more power than your fridge. Remove any debris from the air intakes, whether it is leaving piles up by the AC or the air vent to your furnace. Rinse the air filters for your room air filters, the air conditioner, and your dehumidifier.

Turn It Off

While the appliances that are sleeping may use less energy than when on, the reality is that they use almost as much power in standby as they do when active. The solution is to turn things off. Unless your game station is downloading updates, unplug it to save power. Turn off the TV instead of letting it sit in standby, or worse, use it as background noise.

When gadgets are fully charged, disconnect them from the charging station and turn off the charging station. If you can’t stand to turn off your computer, turn off the monitor instead. Turn off lights when they aren’t in use, and consider when you can utilize natural light instead. Don’t let appliances idly run while you’re busy. Get the clothes out of the dryer instead of letting it run every five minutes to prevent clothes from wrinkling.

Turn off the oven when you’re done with it. The same might be said for your pool pump or air filters. Does it need to be running? If not, consider turning it off for a while.

Track Energy Usage

You can get apps that report energy usage in your home. These apps can tap into your smart meter and tell you which appliances are consuming the most energy. If you can’t cut back on energy usage, you could get advice on how to shift energy usage in order to reduce your electric bill.

For example, running the clothes dryer at night may allow you to get utility discounts. One of the advantages of hydroelectric energy is that despite facing daily and seasonal variations, utility companies will still provide discounts when the demand for power is lower.

Set up the dishwasher to run a heavy load when you go to bed, and the cost per kilowatt maybe a third of what you’d pay if it ran during the day. You may also find that the AC is running heavily during the hottest part of the day.

Could you alter the thermal profile of your home so that it uses less energy while keeping you comfortable, such as not trying to keep the house at 65 when you’re at work? If you cannot get the house comfortable without the AC running full blast all the time, you may need to have the air conditioner repaired or replaced with a more powerful unit.

Check for Leaks

If you’ve ever heard the joke that you’re not heating the neighborhood, recognize that there is an element of truth to that joke. When you leave the door open while you’re bringing in groceries or getting the mail, you’re wasting the energy used to heat or cool that air. Gaps in your window frame and window stripping cost you the same way.

Leaks in your hot water heater waste both water and the energy used to heat it. Look for water leaks when you suspect them, too. Not only does this damage the structure of your home and wastewater, but damp insulation has a fraction of the thermal value of dry insulation. This is how a water leak could be contributing to your higher energy bills.

There are a number of things you can do to reduce your energy and water bills without radically changing your lifestyle. Then you’ll be able to save the Earth’s resources and money at the same time. It is truly a win-win for everyone.

Ideas That Could Reshape How Companies Use Energy

Recent projections show that the world’s energy demands are about to increase by close to 25% between now and 2030. Population and wealth growth are the leading factors behind the increased need for energy. Additionally, issues related to pollution and climate change are compelling companies and investors alike with respect to how they produce and use energy.

Grs a global resource solutions company offers a plethora of services that could help industries reshape and streamline their energy consumption.

Energy efficiency is playing a vital role in helping the world achieve its power needs and progress.

Increase in Fuel Prices

The prices of energy have kept rising over the years even when oil prices have dropped as was the case in 2014-2015. Such sudden fluctuations can be difficult for businesses to deal with. Also, declines in energy prices have called into question whether the efforts in energy conservation and efficiency are worth it.

According to various financial analyses, energy costs form a considerable chunk of operating expenses. Worldwide, cement, chemical, mining and metal companies, for instance, spend almost 30% of their operating budget on energy. Additionally, the percent of the budget spent on energy is higher in developing nations due to the cheap cost of labor.

Energy Efficiency

Statistics and research show that operational upgrades can cut energy consumption by approximately 20%. Nonetheless, investment in energy efficiency technologies can reduce energy usage by even 50%.

The reports and findings show that it is not a pipe dream for manufacturing entities, which account for almost half of the world’s energy usage, to meet energy requirements in a way that is environmentally friendly and economical as well. Advanced technology could substantially reduce energy usage and save companies more than six hundred billion dollars per year.

There are technologies currently in place that can help industries reduce energy use. The ideas cover a range of manufacturing and production groups like cement, mining, oil refining and chemicals. Nonetheless, firms are facing the challenge of how to put energy efficiency technology in place how to renew the technology so that it stays relevant year in and year out.

Think Circular

Consider your product to be a future source that can be used many times. In other words, when developing a product, strive to move away from the traditional linear supply chain. Take, for example, a data services provider. Put in place the think circular standard by using an analytics system to develop a facility that restructures energy to its core function. This results in more capacity and less operational expenses.

Profit Per Hour

Whenever making any changes, remember to create a comprehensive review of the full profit equation. During the study, evaluate aspects such as yield, throughput and energy. Nonetheless, profit should be of the highest priority before effecting any changes.

Think Lean

It is vital for an organization to create a resource productivity plan. Lean thinking and green thinking are based on similar principles and will blend in together well.

Think Holistic

When making changes, ensure that they not only focus on a specific aspect. Instead, you should also focus on the management system, behavior and mindsets.

Summary of Biomass Combustion Technologies

Direct combustion is the best established and most commonly used technology for converting biomass to heat. During combustion, biomass fuel is burnt in excess air to produce heat. The first stage of combustion involves the evolution of combustible vapours from the biomass, which burn as flames. The residual material, in the form of charcoal, is burnt in a forced air supply to give more heat. The hot combustion gases are sometimes used directly for product drying, but more usually they are passed through a heat exchanger to produce hot air, hot water or steam.

Combustion_Moving_Grate

The combustion efficiency depends primarily on good contact between the oxygen in the air and the biomass fuel. The main products of efficient biomass combustion are carbon dioxide and water vapor, however tars, smoke and alkaline ash particles are also emitted. Minimization of these emissions and accommodation of their possible effects are important concerns in the design of environmentally acceptable biomass combustion systems.

Biomass combustion systems, based on a range of furnace designs, can be very efficient at producing hot gases, hot air, hot water or steam, typically recovering 65-90% of the energy contained in the fuel. Lower efficiencies are generally associated with wetter fuels. To cope with a diversity of fuel characteristics and combustion requirements, a number of designs of combustion furnaces or combustors are routinely utilized around the world

Underfeed Stokers

Biomass is fed into the combustion zone from underneath a firing grate. These stoker designs are only suitable for small scale systems up to a nominal boiler capacity of 6 MWth and for biomass fuels with low ash content, such as wood chips and sawdust. High ash content fuels such as bark, straw and cereals need more efficient ash removal systems. Sintered or molten ash particles covering the upper surface of the fuel bed can cause problems in underfeed stokers due to unstable combustion conditions when the fuel and the air are breaking through the ash covered surface.

Grate Stokers

The most common type of biomass boiler is based on a grate to support a bed of fuel and to mix a controlled amount of combustion air, which often enters from beneath the grate. Biomass fuel is added at one end of the grate and is burned in a fuel bed which moves progressively down the grate, either via gravity or with mechanical assistance, to an ash removal system at the other end. In more sophisticated designs this allows the overall combustion process to be separated into its three main activities:

  • Initial fuel drying
  • Ignition and combustion of volatile constituents
  • Burning out of the char.

Grate stokers are well proven and reliable and can tolerate wide variations in fuel quality (i.e. variations in moisture content and particle size) as well as fuels with high ash content. They are also controllable and efficient.

Fluidized Bed Boilers

The basis for a fluidized bed combustion system is a bed of an inert mineral such as sand or limestone through which air is blown from below. The air is pumped through the bed in sufficient volume and at a high enough pressure to entrain the small particles of the bed material so that they behave much like a fluid.

The combustion chamber of a fluidized bed plant is shaped so that above a certain height the air velocity drops below that necessary to entrain the particles. This helps retain the bulk of the entrained bed material towards the bottom of the chamber. Once the bed becomes hot, combustible material introduced into it will burn, generating heat as in a more conventional furnace. The proportion of combustible material such as biomass within the bed is normally only around 5%. The primary driving force for development of fluidized bed combustion is reduced SO2 and NOx emissions from coal combustion.

Bubbling fluidized bed (BFB) combustors are of interest for plants with a nominal boiler capacity greater than 10 MWth. Circulating fluidized bed (CFB) combustors are more suitable for plants larger than 30 MWth. The minimum plant size below which CFB and BFB technologies are not economically competitive is considered to be around 5-10 MWe.