Friday, February 23, 2007



My Letter to SEI Cancelling My Grant Application

Dear SEI

I have done a great deal of research on wood pellet boilers, in terms of design, efficiency, and price. I have also looked into the supply situation for wood pellets in Ireland. My conclusion is that I am better staying with oil heating for now. I am therefore requesting that you cancel my application for now. When the marketplace is stabilised in Ireland, I would hope, maybe, to re-apply. I have given my reasons in detail below. Could I please ask you to have them advised to SEI policy makers, in the hope it might influence future planning.

1. Most wood pellet boilers do not have sufficient back-burn protection. Water quench is a fail-safe and simple method but is not fitted to most units. This could well be the cause of much trouble and litigation in the future.
2. Wood burning stoves and boilers produce creosote which can build up in the chimney and if ignited will burn fiercely causing much damage and great danger. The use of special dual walled high temperature stainless flues are required and these are very expensive, easily up to €1000. This is another possible time-bomb for the future.
3. Wood pellet supply in Ireland is far from stable. Disaster was barely averted this winter.
4. Wood pellet prices are far from stable. Prices not are close to oil prices, as oil has reduced and wood pellets have substantially increased in price.
5. Wood pellet quality varies a great deal. There is a great deal of sawdust in some pellets.
6. Storing wood pellets is a big problem, and costly, trying to keep them sufficiently dry.
7. Wood pellet stoves and boilers are overpriced in Ireland. There is a completely uncontrolled situation where major profiteering is taking place by some dealers. Most prices are well above those in Germany etc.
8. Some installers are way over priced. One quoted me €1000 for a boiler in an existing boiler house with flue and plumbing connection already there.
9. There is in-sufficient expertise among installers and service people in Ireland.
10. Spare part and warranty mechanisms are not fully established in Ireland.
11. There are some poor designs of boiler on the market, apart from the safety issues mentioned above. The good has not yet been separated from the bad in Ireland. Time only will tell.
12. Buying a wood pellet boiler now is simply subsidising the costs of future development. In a few years there will be standardised units from Danfoss and similar, and the whole thing will cost a half or less of the current crazy prices.



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