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Fuel Supply and Transport
fundamental design of wood biomass boiler systems commonly installed under the
FFS&B program is fairly basic. Basic
system components include a fuel storage bin, fuel conveyance system, a firebox
(combustion chamber or gasifier), an emissions control system including but not
limited to a stack, and an attached water boiler. Basic operation involves the wood fuel being
conveyed to the firebox via an augering system.
In the firebox, the wood fuel is combusted and its heat transferred to
heat the boiler water system which then distributes hot water or steam
throughout the facility’s HVAC and/or hot water distribution systems.
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basic system operation follows this general concept, different manufacturers
design and build their systems in different ways which employ varied
technologies and mechanisms. Certain
designs may better suit particular scenarios and applications and care should
be taken to match the right system to meet your needs. Variations of design may be determined by
factors such as quality of wood fuel to be used, type of vehicles available for
fuel delivery, facility space limitations, and compatibility with the existing
HVAC distribution system.
Wood-Chip Heating Systems Guide, Tim Maker, Biomass Energy Resource
Center (BERC), 2004 (1.56
Wood Pellet Heating Guide, BERC, June 2007 (1.04 MB PDF)
Guide to Commercial Biomass Energy Conversion Systems, University of
North Dakota EERC , 2006 (2.94 MB PDF)
Link to Manufacturers
Fuel Supply and
Transport back to top
biomass fuels sources can include residues from forest treatments and timber
harvests, mill residues, clean urban wood waste from tree trimmings and construction
site demolitions, and dedicated energy crops (short-rotation woody crops).
Assessing your local
and estimated quantities available. Find
out who has residues and what they’re currently doing with them (mills, other
wood product manufacturers, arborists, landfill, etc.) For forest residues, local state and federal
land management agencies may help to identify current and future forest
management projects that will produce residues, and assist in identifying
contractors in the area as potential suppliers.
in the area with equipment for processing material (chipper/grinder) and trucks
Identify the type
of wood fuel commonly available in your area.
this as you’re exploring different system designs and communicate that with the
system engineers. Determine whether the
fuel will be chipped vs. ground wood
material from forest or urban sources, soft- or hardwoods, a mix of both,
sawdust, wood pellets or other material.
By doing this, the system manufacturer can design a conveyance and
burner system that is compatible with the wood fuel you intend to burn.
that commonly affect the cost and availability of wood fuel include rates of
material generation, ease of collection, competing users and haul distances. It’s important to note that the cheapest wood fuel is not always the
best. Your wood fuel should meet
certain standards and specifications as designated by the system manufacturer
which provide for a few things: ease of conveyance, high heat value, and
maximize flexibility in your suppliers it’s good to design your fuel storage
facility to accommodate deliveries from a variety of locally available delivery
vehicles (walking floor trailer, dump truck, potato truck, tractor, front-end
loader, pneumatic systems, etc.).
Fuel Supply Availability Resources
Biomass as a Feedstock for a Bioenergy and Bioproducts
Industry: The Technical Feasibility of a Billion Ton Annual Supply (“The
Billion Ton Report”), USDA and DOE, April 2005
Perspective on the Current Biomass Resource Availability in the United States,
NREL, Dec. 2005
online Marketplace for Forest Resources and News
Managing Organic Debris for Forest Health: Reconciling fire hazard, bark beetles, wildlife and forest nutrition needs, A Pacific Northwest Extension Publication, 2009.
Wood Fuel Transportation
A Study of
How to Decrease the Costs of Collecting, Processing and Transporting Slash,
MCDC, et al., Dec. 2004
Options for Transporting Biomass, USFS
Forest Residue Transportation Costing Model (Trucking Simulator) Interactive spreadsheet calculator
designed to compare costs of varied alternatives for slash collection,
processing, and transportation methods.
Air Quality back to top
forest biomass for heat and energy production can offset air emissions from a
number of activities—displacing open burning of slash piles; encouraging
treatment of densely over-stocked forests at risk of damaging infestations by
insects and disease and catastrophic wildfires, thus maintaining the forests
ability to sequester CO2; and displacing CO2 emissions
from the combustion of fossil fuels.
other energy combustion sources, wood boilers emit pollutants, including particulate
matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide
(CO), volatile organic compounds (VOC), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon
dioxide (CO2), hazardous air pollutants and trace elements.
Particulate matter emissions can be minimized by choosing clean and efficient technology
designs, proper systems operation and maintenance, and with the installation of
pollution control devices. As part of the FFS&B partners' commitment
to ensuring good air quality, they have sponsored stack emissions testing
on a variety of systems, regularly share lessons learned with the public at
large, and continue to collaborate closely with regional and national air
you begin the design of a wood biomass energy system, consult your local,
state, and national regulations as these will vary by location and project.
For national and regional
information from the EPA.
on federal air pollution regulations for smaller commercial/institutional
boilers, January 29, 2009
(PDF, 26 KB)
on Air Pollution Control Technology For Woody Biomass Boilers,
March 2009 (PDF, 158 KB) - This document describes the types of control
technology available and their effectiveness, and various aspects of designing
and operating woody biomass boilers.
Emissions Test Reports from
Fuels for Schools and Beyond Projects
Air Quality Presentations
from 2007 Workshop