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How Bulk Pellets work
By far the most common method of transporting and handling wood pellets in Canada is by 40 pound plastic bag. Readily available at hardware stores, box stores, grocery stores etc., the 40 pound bag is the standard unit that can be easily stacked, handled and stored. Pallets of bags, usually 50-60 per pallet, are consistently shipped all over Canada and across the US border.
Bagged pellets are the standard for pellet stove users and indeed stoves are designed with 40 pound bag doses in mind. Unfortunately, bags will always come with inevitable manual labour, a higher cost and tons of plastic!
The next generation of wood pellet heating is with automated, high efficiency boiler systems like the Fröling P4 line or the Fröling PE1 line that Biothermic offers in Canada. These boilers are self feeding, self cleaning and designed for no user intervention up to months at a time. With an automated boiler, daily lugging of bags is not desirable so we use a variety of bulk storage options where pellets can be delivered loose and in enough volume to satisfy several months (or longer) in each delivery. Automated boilers can heat houses but are also very cost effective for larger buildings, schools and hospitals.
You can find more details regarding pellet storage systems for Fröling boilers in this brochure but basically, pellets need to be stored in a dry container where dust is managed. We prefer silo storage because they are perfect storage devices “out of the box”. Silos can be placed outdoors as there is no need to keep pellets heated, they can freeze. There are many other configurations that will work as well.
Where bulk delivery won’t work:
- Small loads of 1 to 2 tons
- Medium loads of 3-10 tons far from a pellet mill or delivery company
- Where appropriate storage isn’t in place (pellets can’t be blown into the back of a truck or into super sacs. Pellets can’t be blown onto the ground or into the corner of a shed)
- Any loads uneconomically distant from a supplier. Trucking is expensive!
Regardless of what works best for you, pellet storage must be kept moisture free and be ready for filling from a pneumatic truck. Both of our trucks will deliver loose pellets blown through a 4” hose (with camlock or Walinga fittings) directly into the storage container. There is dust that comes off the pellets and it has to be exhausted from the pellet container adequately. Silos do this with an exhaust pie as standard but custom made storage rooms must be built with this feature.
Bag silos are another option for indoor storage that is quick and easy to set up. The entire bag acts as a dust filter letting air out during the filling process. This typically has an effect of making the building smell like fresh pine or hardwood which most people find as a welcome bonus.
For those who want to continue using bags for an automatic feed boiler, we can offer the Fröling Cube, a small box ready to connect to suction hoses that will hold 1/3 of a tonne at a time.
Bulk delivery for pellet stove users is a bit challenging. It’s not possible to deliver pellets without the storage container being ready to accept properly. This requires an investment but is worth it for those close enough to our delivery centres. There are some “do it yourself” systems for transporting pellets from a silo directly to your pellet stove, we can supply some vacuum components for this. Typically it’s not viable to deliver any less that a few tons if you’re close but not any less than a full truckload if you’re farther away.