Heating - Fuel Comparison

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Heating - Fuel Comparison

Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:01 am

I could have added this to the last post on heating, but that should have probably remained specific to the topic of lower electric tariff for ASHP.

It did however lead me on to look for something else - best types of wood for burning and that lead me to this [url=Heating CHAhttp://www.southerncalfirewood.com/firewood-information.htm]Fuel compare chart[/url] Ok it's an American commercial site, but I found it to be quite accurate on its comparison of wood types and their BTUs per million, so wondered what the knowledgeable folk here think? I'm sure I saw some time back a more official type EU comparison on fuel cost throughout Europe which i must try to dig out.

As an aside I was most surprised to find olive and almond wood so highly rated.

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Re: Heating - Fuel Comparison

Post by Admin on Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:53 am

Excellent - olive is super hot. We'll have literally tons of it. I have noticed the wood smoke round here smells more like coal so I wondered if the olive wood smells distinctly different.
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Re: Heating - Fuel Comparison

Post by Gala Placidia on Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:38 am

Olive wood is widely burned in Southern Spain and it is considered the best as it has high heating rating, lasts quite long and it has a lovely smell, so it should be ideal for you, Penny.
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Re: Heating - Fuel Comparison

Post by Sagraiasolar on Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:08 pm

Yes indeed - Olive if you can get it.  Mostly oak though for most bought wood in Italy. I work on 100 quintale a year to produce 25,000 kW.hrs and at €12 costs €1,200 in total. Moisture content makes a huge difference and can literally halve the output if wood is too wet... that's why it is so important to buy in the spring and leave unstacked and baking all summer. And no it doesn't dry just the same in the wood guy's yard because he doesn't saw and split it until it is going up the conveyor to the truck. Real world cost is under 0.5c per kW.hr compared with electricity, say, at 0.33c.
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Re: Heating - Fuel Comparison

Post by Panner on Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:43 pm

That is interesting

Based on that and the new ENEL prices (31.6cents F1 and 31.1 Cents F2/3) the comparative marginal cost for 1,000KW of heat works out at:

ASHP (Latest high efficiency - UK SCOP - 3.9)/GSHP   ENEL D3 avge highest rate -  E80
ASHP (Latest high efficiency - UK SCOP - 3.9)/GSHP   ENEL BTA3 avge  rate -         E47
GPL    (rate varies around the country/supplier)                                                  E126
Mains Gas    (rate varies around the country)                                                       E82
Wood                                                                                                                E48

All we need now is the pellet burner info

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Re: Heating - Fuel Comparison

Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Mon Oct 14, 2013 5:32 pm

Great comparison, does that mean if it was olives wood (circa 20-30% higher BTU/mil) it would work out a lot cheaper than ASHP on the ENEL BTA3 rate? I also wonder if the sansa (which we burn) would produce more or less heat? Here it talks about it being equal to pellets at about half the price... Wiki LINK on sansa . Would  be good to add to the comparison with  both of these and/or any other fuel...

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Re: Heating - Fuel Comparison

Post by Flip on Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:44 am

Don't get me wrong, I think all this information is useful to some; but on the other hand isn't it all possibly a bit meaningless when it comes down to actually heating ones home?
No matter what is compared(and I don't even presume to understand all these figures that are bandied around) BTUs, Kw/Hr on any appliance whether Wood burner, pellet stove or open fire aren't all these figures dependent on many, many other factors like type of convection, distribution through the house etc.
It is all very well to say that fuel X is better and more cost effective than fuel Y, but with so many variables and it being such an abstract science, isn't it all a bit pointless except on an individual basis....
[lights touch paper and retires to suitable distance]
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Re: Heating - Fuel Comparison

Post by Gala Placidia on Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:59 am

I will tend to agree with you, Flip, it all depends on the particular characteristics of the home or area which requires heating; however, there is a factor which is important in all cases, which is proper insulation. Otherwise, it is a waste of calories from whichever source is chosen.
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pointless heating figures?

Post by Sagraiasolar on Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:24 am

Flip to answer your point.  While every situation is different, as you say, it is a good starting point to know where design changes can make things as cheap as possible. The list of power per € building up here is really useful. For example I often find clients trying to save on wood bills and then having to buy more gas .. it doesn't dawn on them that if they added another €500 to their wood bill they could eliminate gas altogether. One point you make is interesting and that is on transmission of the heat from whatever source... I've seen a massive wood burner trying to deliver energy via underfloor heating when a local and less powerful wood stove would have been much more effective. Gala's point on insulation is spot on and we pay heavily to keep our stone houses traditionally wonky.
In the end we need these figures to accurately model various scenarios in order to make a reasoned decision on heating strategy and to predict the attendant bills.
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Re: Heating - Fuel Comparison

Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:21 am

You do right to duck Flip... :DAlthough I do see your point, it's likely a point tainted by the repetative nature of the subject and/or to do with affordability. In addition to the points from Gala and Sagraisolar I would add that when buying here, if people have a choice, it might just be an important deciding factor that one has 2HA of wood, chain saw in the garage and comes with a multi-fuel heating system!
Many a newbie coming to the forum will find it discussed time and time again and still want to read it all as it is a big factor in your over all costs... Well unless you have money to burn, when you don't need to worry... Oh and money does not have such a high burn rate - but it would be fun...

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Re: Heating - Fuel Comparison

Post by Geotherm on Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:18 pm

Panner wrote:That is interestingBased on that and the new ENEL prices (31.6cents F1 and 31.1 Cents F2/3) the comparative marginal cost for 1,000KW of heat works out at:ASHP (Latest high efficiency - UK SCOP - 3.9)/GSHP   ENEL D3 avge highest rate -  E80ASHP (Latest high efficiency - UK SCOP - 3.9)/GSHP   ENEL BTA3 avge  rate -         E47GPL    (rate varies around the country/supplier)                                                  E126Mains Gas    (rate varies around the country)                                                       E82Wood                                                                                                                E48

All we need now is the pellet burner info
Panner.
Although this a UK priced site, they have the comparisons of just about all the fuels, including Pellets.

http://www.nottenergy.com/energy_cost_comparison/energy_comparison_data/september_2013/

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Re: Heating - Fuel Comparison

Post by Gala Placidia on Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:33 pm

I guess that this site will also be helpful Energy Portal Europe
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Re: Heating - Fuel Comparison

Post by Panner on Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:02 am

Thanks Geotherm - the info on the site is useful in that it gives the expected yields in energy plus some efficiency ratings (although the latter appear average rather than the latest high efficiency variants)

Gala, that site gives some interesting info and comparisons on the main fuel sources and also puts Italy's efforts at achieving its targets into perspective.

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Re: Heating - Fuel Comparison

Post by Vicino on Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:11 am

Does the VERY interesting table provided by Gala allow me to assess what I should be looking for in terms of say, a reasonable price to be paying for GPL ?

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Re: Heating - Fuel Comparison

Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:30 am

For GPL as little as you can negotiate appears to be the answer I often see... This surprises me as I would have thought the number of people using it that there would be a number of big companies with web sites quoting the price (as in the UK where it's not as well used). Don't know if this is of any use LPG price LINK

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Re: Heating - Fuel Comparison

Post by Vicino on Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:06 am

Thanks Steve,

Every year I have a verbal set to with our provider, the price goes up and up, it will be nice to have something, anything, to hit them with !

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Re: Heating - Fuel Comparison

Post by chrisnotton on Tue Nov 05, 2013 1:03 am

Sagraiasolar wrote:Flip to answer your point.  While every situation is different, as you say, it is a good starting point to know where design changes can make things as cheap as possible. The list of power per € building up here is really useful. For example I often find clients trying to save on wood bills and then having to buy more gas .. it doesn't dawn on them that if they added another €500 to their wood bill they could eliminate gas altogether. One point you make is interesting and that is on transmission of the heat from whatever source... I've seen a massive wood burner trying to deliver energy via underfloor heating when a local and less powerful wood stove would have been much more effective. Gala's point on insulation is spot on and we pay heavily to keep our stone houses traditionally wonky.In the end we need these figures to accurately model various scenarios in order to make a reasoned decision on heating strategy and to predict the attendant bills.
Hi Sagriasolar,
Interested in what you said about a massive woodburner & underfloor heating; as this is exactly how we plan to heat our (as yet unbuilt) house!
I plan a utility gasifying log burner with a supplement of solar-thermal & a huge thermal store. We have a surplus of chestnut wood to use for a few years & then we will start on the olives!! We don't intend to have any fireplaces or chimneys (yes I know folk like them) & I am planning to house all the plant in a semi-underground room adjacent to the house! We have not ruled-out stufa's but would like to avoid them!
Was the problem you saw due to poor design or other factors?
C.
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Re: Heating - Fuel Comparison

Post by Sagraiasolar on Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:25 am

Chris,

The answer is that UFH has a limited transmission rate - 100W/m sq starting to make for sweaty feet and half that being good enough for regular modern houses. If you have a stufa in the room then some of the load is taken up by direct convection and radiation. So more power in the tech room does not always make for a warmer house.  I'm glad to hear you are having a big heat bank - way to go.  I import the Specflue Excel jobs, if that's of any help, and Clearview stoves too .. mainly the 750 which heats most houses here very well.
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Re: Heating - Fuel Comparison

Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:28 am

Chris, olive is very good wood for burning (likely the best), but not too sure you can take down entire trees if that's your plan....

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Re: Heating - Fuel Comparison

Post by Admin on Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:49 am

For 3 of our holiday lets, which won't require full on central heating all winter - more taking the chill off - we have designed the buildings to have an open mezzanine on he first floor for the bedroom(s) with a woodburner below and exposed flu rising up so that the heat will circulate with cold air returning via the open stairs. Just in case it doesn't or we decide to partition the mezzanine into two bedrooms we are building in ducting so we can vent the hot air and make it circulate. The bathroom will have electronic undertile heating mats.

One of the holiday lets will have a wood-burning stove that provides water to radiators & domestic hot water. It's only tiny.

In our own house, we will be having a heatstore, solar and woodburner powering a combination of underfloor heating in the large living area and radiators in the bedrooms and bathrooms.

Eventually we will have a big solar system for the holiday let's hot water. 

I'm interested in anyone's experiences or advice on circulating hot air. Other than the sort expended on here of course Laughing
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Re: Heating - Fuel Comparison

Post by Sagraiasolar on Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:02 pm

Admin wrote:I'm interested in anyone's experiences or advice on circulating hot air. Other than the sort expended on here of course Laughing
... heat delivered by hot air is very likely to displace radiators over time. This is because the increasing use of heat pumps and their lower operating temperatures makes fan-coil units (FCUs) in bedrooms a good idea. Radiators would have to be huge to perform as well at the same temperatures. You need fast response times in bedrooms so underfloor heating is not quite the thing. You mentioned ducting and really this amounts to the same thing as FCUs, just with the fan and heat exchanger unit(s) at a remote distance. If the source for the ducting is neatly and conveniently connected then I think this is a solution that would be cheaper and neater than FCUs and easily connected to a heat bank with those industrial looking heat exchanger units. Ducted heating is widely used in Australia. The great thing about FCUs etc is that they can incorporate air filters and even plasma filters so dust and pollen can be cleaned up. Also they can be easily switched over to air-con duties in the summer. Aermec in Italy do the sort of heat exchangers you are likely to use.
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