This will be determined by the difference between your current fuel cost and the cost of available wood. With the recent increases in fuel prices, the savings from burning wood has been huge!
In general, if your annual fuel bill is over $250,000/year, you are a good candidate. If your annual fuel bill is over $600,000/year, you are an excellent candidate. If you are paying over $0.50 per therm for natural gas or over $1.00/gallon for fuel oil, and you have access to low value wood, you are also a good candidate.
The short formula looks like this:
Fuel Cost (Natural Gas/Oil) - Wood Fuel Cost - 1/5 Wood Burning Equipment Cost = Approximate Savings per Year
Any type of wood or wood waste can be used as boiler fuel, but fuels over 55% moisture are more difficult to burn and can be problematic. The best fuels are the driest, as they burn well and typically produce the least air pollution, and usually require the least energy input to produce a given unit of heat or energy. Best fuel has 5-45% moisture content.
With fuel of 50% moisture and below, the new automated boilers run with minimum of attention. Local laws and licensing may require you to staff differently at various times. Boilers over 100 million BTU may require an operator be present or available at all times
Yes! The big difference is that wet fuel may take 20% more air than dry fuel. Operationally, you may wish to meter the wet and dry fuel to create a consistent fuel blend or you may want to exhaust the least merchantable fuel before using a more valuable fuel. With the controls designed for this scenario, this can easily be accomplished. In general, any time there are continuous variations in fuel quality; it is desirable to have an operator near by the steam plant.
Yes! You can generate your own electricity. It strictly a question of economics. Your most profitable opportunity is to displace natural gas/fuel oil used to generate steam. If after meeting the plants thermal load, you still have a surplus of wood, you can generate additional steam and generate electricity for your plant use or to sell back to the utility or a broker. This involves more capital costs and this has a longer pay back than displacing natural gas or oil used for your plant’s thermal loads.
Yes! There are lease companies that will provide the capitol for this type of project. The financing is based on your company’s risk profile. The advantage is that all of your procurement cost can be expensed at the rate you pay the lease. With this option, you can increase your profits in the first year of burning wood.
The first step is to determine what wood waste streams you have available and how much net income per ton this represents. The second step is to take your natural gas bill or oil bills and determine what you are actually paying per therm or per gallon for fuel. Then give us a call and we can quickly give you an idea what savings you can expect.