Just what is pellet fuel? Pellet Fuel is considered a biomass fuel, meaning that it is a renewable energy source composed of things like wood chips, cordwood, old hardwood pallets, corn stalks, and waste paper. It makes good sense to generate heat using these materials which are just going to be thrown away. Theat’s where the pellet stove comes in. But what are the issues surrounding pellet fuel storage?
The European model offers a viable concept that may shape the future of pellet fuel storage. The basic system includes the pellet storage container, a pellet burner, an automatic feed unit that supplies the burner, a boiler unit, an exhaust mechanism, and a chimney.
These stoves are also convenient to use and in some cases, very high tech. For example, some models can be turned on by remote control. For remote starting, they can be controlled using your cell phone!
An added benefit is that, unlike petrochemicals, there are no permits required for mass storage since there is no oil or gases involved. The storage can be either above or under the ground as the situation demands.
There are two types of pellet fuel storage to be considered: bulk storage and storage of pellets that are ready for use.
Pellet manufacturers generally pack their processed pellets in forty pound bags for the convenience of the customer. The sealed bags are made of a material that is impervious to moisture. These should ideally be stored outside under suitable cover or somewhere inside the house.
How much space will it take up? It depends on the weather severity of the area in which you live, but generally speaking, one winter’s supply of pellets can be stored in the corner of your garage.
For outside storage, the bags of pellets should be stored on a raised surface and covered with a tarp. Of course if you own a backyard shed, that would be an ideal place for storage.
Storage for Immediate Use
As mentioned above, the basic unit consists of the pellet storage container, a pellet burner, an automatic feed unit that supplies the burner, a boiler unit, an exhaust mechanism, and a chimney.
The way most models operate, the stove is top fed. The storage container is on the top of the unit and is filled via a hatch which is located on top of the stove. The pellets are delivered using a screw type feed mechanism which is inclined at the proper angle to feed the fresh pellets into the burner part of the unit. The screw not only performs the function of delivering the fuel pellets as they are needed, but also serves double duty as it prevents the burner’s flames from flashing back into the storage container.
It might seem as if all this equipment might look too industrial to be at home in the living room. Stove designers have given some thought to that. On many models the burner is integrated into the existing fireplace and the rest of the components can be totally concealed in the fireplace mantle.
Is it very labor intensive? Not really. In the average household, all that is required is toping off the pellet storage container once a day; this chore only requires a few minutes to accomplish. Not bad when you compare it to hauling logs through your living room, dropping pieces of bark on the floor and contending with the inevitable spiders lurking in the wood pile.