The industry is growing. To take full advantage of the opportunities that are, and will be, available, consumers have to learn a bit about pellet central heating technologies and pellets. This letter was recently sent to some Maine Energy Systems institutional and commercial pellet boiler owners.
November 17, 2011
Dear MESys boiler owner:
Pellet-fired central heating systems are becoming much more common in our region. This is good news for system owners and for the regional economy and environment.
New opportunities to buy pellets are following this growth. That, too, is good news for everyone. Competition will ensure that prices you pay are fair and that a reliable distribution network will grow to serve the increasing demand.
Maine Energy Systems provides bulk pellets delivered for residential, institutional, and business systems throughout the southern half of Maine. The price is $239/ton for all customers receiving loads smaller than 9 tons at one location. These prices are guaranteed through June 30, 2014, for new boiler owners who use the delivery service continually through the period.
Pellet fuel is inexpensive, reliable fuel if it is delivered to you intact. It is our hope that this information will help ensure that your ÖkoFEN boiler systems perform with the efficiency and reliability that is designed into them.
“Dutch” Dresser, Director, Maine Energy Systems
Basic pellet and delivery information
• Different pellets burn differently in boiler systems. Those which are best produce very little ash and ash which doesn’t melt to form clinkers or slag.
• Pellets can be easily damaged during delivery. The dust that results from significant damage can accumulate and cause system outages. Several factors lead to excessive damage.
o Pellet manufacturing that results in pellets too soft for bulk delivery
o Pellet loading that doesn’t pre-screen pellets as they enter the delivery truck
o Pellet delivery from trucks designed for the delivery of agricultural products like grain and animal feed
• The dust from pellet loads accumulates in storage units as it flows differently from pellets. Accumulated dust can cause system outages when it flows in sudden slugs.
• Pellets are sold by weight. Upon delivery, your fuel provider should be able to present you a delivery weight slip from certified scales on the truck, just as oil delivery trucks provide a certified tally of gallons delivered.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does the vendor have pellet source redundancy, or is the vendor a sole source provider?
a. Pellet source redundancy assures best available pellets continually
b. Pellet source redundancy assures continuous availability despite mill shutdowns
Maine Energy Systems represents up to six mills in Maine, New Hampshire, and southern Quebec Province.
2. Does the vendor have certified delivery scales for accurately reporting delivered quantities?
a. Certified delivery scales provide printed receipts for actual weight delivered
b. Certified delivery scales are type evaluated (NTEP) by the National Conference on Weights and Measures.
Maine Energy Systems’ delivery trucks have on-board scales that are NTEP certified.
3. Does the vendor test each batch of pellets by burning before delivery? Pellet quality is best confirmed by burning
a. Pellets that produce unacceptable by-products are eliminated through burn testing
Maine Energy Systems tests every load of pellets as it comes from the mill before putting them in storage for redistribution. Occasionally, loads that don’t meet our standards are returned to the mill.
4. Does the vendor remove dust from the pellets before delivery?
a. Dust in large quantities can choke fuel delivery systems
b. Pellets from mill runs typically contain a significant amount of dust which must be removed before the pellets are delivered
Maine Energy Systems “shakes” its pellets to remove dust as they’re loaded into the delivery truck.
5. Does the vendor deliver the pellets relatively dust-free using fully pneumatic equipment?
a. Pellets can be broken. Fully pneumatic equipment is easiest on pellets
b. Mechanical/pneumatic systems can cause substantial pellet breakage and dust
Maine Energy Systems has a fully pneumatic delivery truck with the latest in delivery system technology ensuring that the pellets are delivered with very low levels of dust.
6. Does the vendor stand behind the suitability of the fuel for trouble-free operation of the boiler system over time?
a. Systems choked with dust must have their storage units emptied and cleaned
b. Delivering pellet vendors are responsible for the delivered quality of their product
Maine Energy Systems stands behind the suitability of its pellets for the purposes for which they are delivered.
7. Does the vendor routinely deliver pellets in the quantities you will need?
Maine Energy Systems delivers more pellets to residential and small commercial pellet central heating systems than anyone else in the region.