Monday, January 08, 2007


Benekov and the Prime Irish Boiler

Here is the Prime Energy Solutions letter to this blog which is now interspersed with my questions and with Prime Energy's comprehensive and open answers. This is an example of how a company should respond to questions and criticism. Top marks Derek Madden and Prime Energy Solutions of Co. Cavan for product knowledge and communications.

These guys know what they are doing and offer a substantially modified system including all important back-burn prevention. Their prices are somewhat high by comparison with European prices but taking into account the safety modification and the extra control systems they are not way out.

The original letter is in black italics. My questions are in green and the answers from Prime Energy Solutions are in blue.

To whom it may concern,

A colleague of mine has pointed out an article on the internet regarding Benekov Boilers and I would like to respond with some details for you. I am not sure if this reply will reach you as I am not used to using this format of blogs.

The Benekov Prime boiler is unique to Ireland for a couple of reasons. We do use Lambda controlled combustion as you pointed out as standard on all our machines but there is a different control panel for the boiler here in Ireland compared with Benekov boilers sold in the European market. You will be able to see this by comparing pictures from Benekov boilers in different areas of Europe.

Q: (Apart from the fuel level sensor input, what is the difference and the Benefit of this different panel – and how much does it add to the price?)

A: The control panel or CBC box offers the following additional functions not seen on standard boilers.

The oxygen level sensor on the boiler, which effectively controls the combustion by the adding of fuel or air can be calibrated from the control panel which ensures the boiler continues to run efficiently, when a solid fuel boiler is off it should note the oxygen level at 20.9%).
The control panel allows the user to see the Boiler temp, Smoke-gas temp and oxygen levels of the boiler at a glance and gives control over feed times, modulation of the boiler, type of fuel to be burned, control of Lambda settings and also allows us to control an ash removal device which can be fitted to the boilers.

The CBC box allows us also to wire the thermic valve and integrated pump to the boiler directly so that the pump only operates when the boiler hits a specific temperature. Also I have mentioned the function for the vacuum system as previously outlined whereby we can control the cycles of the vacuum from the boiler itself.

It is also possible to set up remote access to the boiler so that we could diagnose any issues without leaving the office which is a nice feature.

There are a number of other functions too detailed to go into here such as control of boiler output etc but I would like to think that our customers are quite satisfied with the functionality of the boiler.

As regards the price its not that it adds anything to the price it’s more that I wouldn’t sell the boiler without it.

One of the reasons we have our own control panel for the boiler is we can link this control panel to fuel level sensors on a bulk storage hopper for our vacuum system for grain or pellets.

It is called Prime in Ireland as it is unique to Ireland in a number of ways
and we have also been involved directly in design and product modification.
I spent some time living and working in Scandinavia and this where the
boiler controls are sourced

Q: (Would this be the Lambda Unit you refer to – or does it include other control mechanisms)

A: It includes the CBC control panel on the boiler, smokegastemp sensors, the lambda unit, oxygen level sensors ,boiler-temp sensors as well as the twin motors on the 15 k/w boiler here in Ireland.

with the base part of the boiler including the cast iron combustion head coming from Benekov in the Czech Republic.

Q: (How much of the boiler does this refer to exactly – does it mean all of the rest of the unit except the control panel??)

A: This means the attached hopper, combustion chambers, combustion head, retort, auger screw, heat exchangers etc.

Also on our 15 K/W boiler we have designed, here in Ireland, a unique set up which allows us to use automatic ignition effectively on our boilers by employing a twin motor set up on the auger feed, this is a feature not available as of yet elsewhere in Europe.

(Does this mean there is not automatic ignition on Benekov boilers generally??)

Yes this means there is not automatic ignition available generally. Where it may be available it would use only a single motor.

Q: (Does it mean also that you have installed a unique auger unit with a second feed motor – and that this auger unit is not on other Benekov boilers?)

A: That is correct.

This is the boiler which we have installed on a project for Longford County Council. Please see: for further details.

With respect to grain burning we also employ a different combustion technique than is currently available in other parts of Europe.

Q: (How does the combustion technique differ?)

A: Sintering, Flue Corrosion, Dust emissions, Nitrogen oxides and Dioxines are the main issues surrounding burning Cereal grains. If you combust the grain at too low a temperature you run the risk of increasing the amount of sulphuric acid created which can corrode the chimney etc, if you combust the material at too high a temperature you can come close to the ash fusion point of Oats which is circa 1200 degrees which means the oats would “clinker” or form hard lumps which can cause the fire to go out. How these issues are solved and that the boiler works and works efficiently has been the subject of a lot of hard work and research and I would like to think the product now speaks for itself.

We have installed a boiler in Teagasc in Oak Park, Carlow to demonstrate our
ability here in Ireland to efficiently burn Grain. There is a number of
interesting aspects to the combustion of grain here in Ireland that I can
send you further information on if you wish. I would suggest that you can
contact Teagasc directly for feedback.

We currently have a good customer base in Ireland and would point out that we were completing work here in Ireland prior to the "grant" era in Ireland. Our pricing structure is as follows for €5,900 for the 15 k/W with automatic ignition, this also includes sprinkler system and water cut out for burn back protection.

Q: (How do you justify the price difference between a Benekov in Lithuania costing the Irish equivalent including VAT of €3,500 and your at €5,900. €2,400 is a lot to pay for a control panel and a modified auger is it not?)

A: It may seem like a big difference but I am sure that there are a lot of structural differences in terms of the market in Lithuania and Ireland. By this I mean the cost of insurance, transport, Wages and cost of doing business in general, I can assure you we are not profiteering at the expense of the Irish customer as our prices were the same prior to the grant era in Ireland. We also offer a full two year guarantee on all parts and labour and I genuinely think we offer good value for money, do what we say we are going to do and deliver a product the customer can rely on whilst also being exceptionally careful when it comes to safety features, CE compliance and by also adhering to all the building regulations in Ireland. It should also be noted that the price in Ireland includes the burn back temperature controlled system with independent pressurised water tank.

It normally costs in the region of €750 for a twin wall flue using 45 degree bends, €650 for installation; extras include an integrated thermic valve and pump to stop water returning too cold to the boiler,

Q: (Would that be a hot water feed-back loop, commonlu used as good practice in oil boilers, that you refer to?)

A: The integrated thermic valve is an all in one unit which stops the return water to the boiler entering the boiler at less than 61 degrees to avoid “thermic shock” to the boiler. If water consistently returns colder than 61 degrees to a solid fuel boiler it will eventually rust the boiler and can also lead to the boiler burning excessive amounts of fuel. This thermic valve also comes with an integrated six head pump

electrical work for in house thermostatic control and copper for piping etc. When all is taken into account including VAT it normally costs €8,500 with the Prime 27 coming in at approx. €9,000 including chimneys, pipe-work, electrical work, installation and VAT etc as outlined.

This also includes our most recent patented combustion set up for the Prime27 which comes readily equipped to burn pellets, or grain without having to change any hardware or software on the boiler.

Q: (Does this mean that the Benekov15 you sell does not burn grain?)

A: No the 15 is already equipped to burn grain but the new set up for the 27 is to increase the efficiency of the 25 k/W boiler when it is burning grain.

* *

I hope that this answers some of your questions, if you have any more questions or would like to visit an installation near you then I would be happy to accommodate you.

Prime Energy Solutions

Kind Regards,
Derek Madden
Prime Energy Solutions


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