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Archive for November, 2011

Many readers of this blog have attended the annual conference for people working on the biomass heating sector, “Heat the Northeast with Renewable Biomass” that has been held in Manchester, New Hampshire for the past three years.  This year the meeting is coming to New York State, with the New York Biomass Energy Alliance one of the hosts.  Because the conference gets most of its income from companies that have appliances and other biomass heating products to exhibit in the conference trade show, there will be a particular focus on getting the people who make buying and installation decisions for that equipment to the conference, which has been renamed Northeast Biomass Heating Expo 2012.

To make sure that the concerns of those of us who are working hard to figure out how to commercialize agricultural biomass in heating applications are getting adequate attention, a sub-group of the Expo planning committee has come together to plan a one-day seminar on the use of agricultural biomass in heating applications on March 21, the day before the Expo opens.  The seminar will be treated as an extra conference event, with a special registration rate for those who are attending both this seminar and the entire conference as well.  For registration information, click on this link: http://www.heatne.com/index.html

The Northeast Agricultural Biomass Heating Seminar will take place in the same location as the Expo, the City Center in Saratoga Springs, NY, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 21.

The Seminar Steering Committee is looking for input and suggestions on program content, so that the day’s program will align with critical areas of interest for those who are working to expand biomass thermal energy in our part of the country.  Please click this link to participate in the Steering Committee’s survey on possible program content.

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The heating season is upon us. The project has had a lot of issues this summer and especially this fall. The flood that resulted from the hurricane was devastating. We lost the furnace at Brookside Hardware. It was totally submerged and all the electrical and electronic controls were ruined. We had been looking forward to resolving an issue with this furnace and getting a full season of data from the site.

I have been busy visiting the sites to make sure that all the units that remain are ready for the season.This points up a frustration with the equipment.As this equipment is developing I find that all parts are proprietary to each manufacture. The oil and gas heat industry standardized long ago. oil pumps, ignition transformers, blower belts, gas controls thermostats are all universal.This reminds me of the early days of the automobile. The only standard part in the early days of the internal combustion engine were spark plugs and that was because there were no US made spark plugs. They were all imported.That is why plugs had metric threads way before US auto makers embraced metric fasteners.

The adoption of biofuel heating devices will be hindered, especially in rural areas, by the manufactures dealer networks. I still find the dealers and the manufacturers more interested in sales than service. At this point I have not found any units that I could recommend as the sole heat source for a home or business.This is the Northeast people. Consumers can and will not be satisfied waiting days for repairs because the parts need to be ordered.
Will this situation improve? Sure, but the growing pains are holding adoption back. It is improving but fast enough for me.

More next month when this great weather inevitably ends.

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