Storage Solutions for your Biomass Wood Fuel

Storage Solutions for your Biomass Wood Fuel
Fuel storage options for your biomass heating project
Deciding upon the most suitable type of wood fuel for your biomass system should take place early on in a biomass heating project. Sometimes it is even one of the driving factors, for example if there is a large amount of woodland where chip can be sourced.
The storage requirements of different wood fuels can influence a client’s decision as space requirements, site access restrictions and even aesthetics of the solution could all be factors not taken into account before this stage.
When considering your biomass fuel options, these points may help:
Although requiring careful consideration early on, most wood chip storage options are suitable (or can be made suitable) for use with wood pellets as well: a fantastic solution for if there is the possibility of needing to change fuel types used for your biomass heating in the future.  (NB: your biomass boiler system will need to be re-commissioned by a qualified engineer to ensure continued efficient operation.)

agitator in store Wood chip (small).jpg

Integrated Internal Stores
When space is available internally (or can be constructed), ideally in or next to the boiler plant room, having an integrated fuel store is often easiest. A block-built room from which the fuel feed system transports chip or pellet just a short distance into the boiler provides a simple solution. Fuel can be delivered in numerous ways, with vehicle access restrictions being the main influence.
For wood chip, a square floor space is ideal so a circular agitator can be installed. 
For wood pellet, a rectangular ‘V’-profile, angled floor is more effective.
Subterranean Stores

Octagonal Hopper with viewing window 280215_NH1064.jpg

For sites with limited space and to guarantee a quick fuel delivery, an underground (or ‘sunken’) fuel store is a preferred option. Suitable for both chip and pellet, subterranean bunkers provide a space-saving solution that delivery vehicles can simply reverse up to and tip the fuel into. Ensuring that there is enough head room for the tipping truck is therefor essential. The other consideration with this type of store is the lid, for which the options should be reviewed carefully and include sliding or lifting lid and manual or hydraulic operation.
Above Ground Octagonal Stores
Octagonal hoppers are prefabricated metal fuel stores that can be placed outside a building, are sized according to heating and anticipated wood fuel requirements and can be painted in a range of colours to suit the aesthetics of the site. For wood fuel deliveries, these hoppers come with either fill and vent pipes or a vertical elevator can be incorporated and can be placed alongside a packaged plant room, such as a Heat Hub, to give dedicated or additional storage capacity.
As wood pellets are a reasonably conforming material, their makeup allows the fuel to ‘flow’ into the fuel feed system simply using gravity. Fuel agitating equipment is therefore unnecessary and pellet-only storage can be a cheaper option if suitable for your requirements.
Flexible bag pellet store, installed internally
Internal Flexible Bag Stores
Recommended to be installed either in an adjacent room or divided by a wall within the plant room itself, flexi-bag silos are an excellent solution for wood pellet storage. This is particularly the case if either construction an integrated fuel store is not feasible or there is the likelihood of the need to move the silo (or the entire biomass system) in the future. Constructed of flexible material and inclusive of a metal frame and fill and vent pipe connection parts, flexi-bag silos are cost-effective and can be used in conjunction with a range of fuel delivery options.
Modular Steel Stores
Suitable for location either internally or externally, modular steel silos provide something of a bespoke solution. Additional sections can be added onto the design until the storage needs are met. With a ‘V’-profile base, integral auger, fuel feed conveyor into the boiler room and fill and vent pipes, the only additional requirement is a solid concrete base for the silo to sit atop of. 
Cylindrical Stores
Externally located, cylindrical silos are available in a range of heights and diameters and can even be created by modifying farm animal feed silos. Again available in a range of colours (depending on the paint RAL colour in manufacturer stock) these wood pellet silos are often implemented for use on agricultural, education, warehouse and industrial sites as large quantities of pellets can be stored, minimising deliveries.
Whether restricted by space, influenced by aesthetics, limited by price or constrained by community opinion, a bespoke wood fuel storage solution for your biomass heating system can be found. Discuss your requirements with a member of the Rural Energy team and we will provide a range of options for you to choose from.
Contact our sales team now on 0203 189 0654 to discuss your biomass fuel storage options.