Thursday, January 28, 2010

Woodpellet Woes Comment


A Comment and Suggestion
on "Woodpellet Woes"

Last December I published a letter asking for help and suggestion on a problem woodpellet system. This is a link to the original post:

Here is another answer to that request:

Hi Dorothea,
Most wood pellet boilers installed are being undersized for the Irish market and the Irish way of living. They only heat the house if left on 24/7 for about 3-4 months over the winter pending (depending?) on weather. If your house was struggling to be heated by a 26kw oil boiler. Simple maths will not allow a 16kw wood pellet boiler to heat a house. So for this reason the pellet boiler has to be left on 24/7. This could be way off the problems that concern you. I am a fan of wood pellet but the boiler has to be sized probably (properly?) to work probably (properly?). Jim


Monday, January 25, 2010

SEI Condensing Oil Boiler Grants


SEI Arse up yet Another Grant
Condensing Oil Boiler Grants

SEI is now giving a grant to install high-efficiency condensing oil fired boilers. You might well ask if that is not a bit strange they supporting a carbon fuel – and they being a Sustainable Energy agency?

However, the basic concept is correct, as a condensing boiler will save oil and reduce overall the carbon footprint. There are some very good condensing boilers on the market, not least of these is our very own Firebird boiler made in Ballymakeera.

This grant should be limited ONLY for retro-fitting and should not apply to new properties and installations.

Another problem with this grant is that the quite small grant is only available if one agrees to fit a very expensive and complex control system. Add to that expense the fact that there are two BER assessments to be paid for, then you have yet another stupid and useless grant system for anyone considering a retro-fit condensing boiler. SEI can also stuff this grant as far as I am concerned.

So, just like with the attic insulation grant, SEI makes the thing a joke and not worth considering for someone like myself.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Airoption Clonmel - Amazing Claim


an Amazing Claim
December 2007

Just over two years ago I wrote that a small Irish company in Clonmel Ireland has made a very sensational claim for an electrical underfloor heating system which they had developed, and said that if they were correct in their claim, the system would have been more efficient than geo-thermal heating systems, and yet was a fraction of the cost and almost maintenance free.

I initially was given some information by Airoption but when I started to question the scientific validity of their claim, and quipped at their stalling to give further promised information and details, I received quite a nasty legal type letter, which had all of the subtlety of a snarling dog about it. It, in no uncertain terms, warned me off further reporting and comment.

Boy do I Dislike Being Snarled At

I don't like being snarled at and warned off, especially when I am not being malicious or especially unfriendly. Airoption's legal snarl, thankfully, is the ONLY instance of such behaviour by any of the many companies, individuals, and ideas that I have written about over the years.

Fearing that they would set their legal dogs on me, I removed most of the information I had receieved from them, and only let their generally published material remain in my posts.

Now what does that type of response say to you about the company and the people involved?

So What's Happening CoreTech?

I again recently took a look to see if the claim was still being touted by Airoption, it would appear that the website is no longer active, at least the times I tried to access it, and looking through some cached material, reference to the “CoreTech” under floor claim, appears to have been removed.

My Original Post Continued:

The phenomenal claim by AirOptionCoreTech on their Website states that it is a new concept in heating which has been in development over a 5 years period, and has been under test for 2 years. AirOption state that the systems have “shown some astonishing results”.

AirOption's Published CoreTech Details:

· The Coretech system is an electrical under floor heating system
· It is ON 24/7 for 8 months of the year.
· CoreTech state regarding the comfort level of the systems; “no other heating system can boast such levels of comfort and control.”

Case Studies:
CoreTech state that:
· the test house was built 2 years ago
· and has been using CoreTech heating connected to the ESB mains.

The stated efficiencies.
· For an 1800 square foot house
· provided with 8 months of heating
· switched on for 24/7, and producing levels of comfort above any other heating system, “no other heating system can boast such levels of comfort and control.”
· The usage is only 3572 Kw/Hours for 8 months of 24hours a day heating to above average comfort levels.

The Maths

· 8 months or say 240 days
· x 24 hours per day = 5760 hours
· 3572 Kilo Watt Hours divided by 5760 hours
· That's an average of only 620 Watts per hour to heat a complete house!!!!!!!!!!

Heating a Room with a 100watt bulb?

That is like saying an average equivalent of a 100-watt bulb in each room will keep the house at an above average level of comfort. This is either one of the mot important discoveries ever in heating efficiency or it is a load of rubbish produced by faulty science.

The Legal Type Warn-off from AirOption

... it appears that we are attracting the type of notice we don’t want. In view of this we will be making no further statements whatsoever in relation to our product or technology until such time as we see fit.

All information or other matters given are strictly proprietary and their publication or misrepresentation are forbidden.

We would thank you therefore to be careful in how you may represent or misrepresent all matters relating to Airoption Ltd.

Thank you,
Airoption Ltd

Here is a Copy of a Notice Published by AirOption manufacturer and distributor of small wind turbines, battery storage, inverters, solar panels, biofuel generators, hydro generators. new electric a/energy underfloor heating concept developed over the past 5 years and now ready for market. offering a viable answer to geothermal. offering new approaches to heat from wind CHP systems.
Address: 28a Ballingarrane, Cahir Road, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary
Contact: Mr John McCollum
Phone: 00353 52 70792
Fax: 00353 52 70793

Where oh where has the CoreTech underfloor heating claim gone? In business, and in public generally, I think it does not pay to be either too secretive or respond in a nasty way - don't you??


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Worries about BER and SEI


Some Worries I Have
BER Assessors and SEI Fees

BER (Building Energy Rating) is now regulatory in Ireland. New houses have to have a BER rating. If you want to get any grants for insulation or for sustainable energy installations, you need a BER assessment.

So far so good you might say, and indeed it would be correct to say so. But now we come to the part where we bite into the apple and find the maggots, inasmuch as there are several glaring problems with the system that SEI (Sustainable Energy Ireland) has dumped on the Irish public.


1. Same building – differing assessments - several differing assessments from different assessors - can they all be right????.
2. Same building - very different fees for assessment - gee I wonder why??????.
3. If the cops were paid 10 Euro for every speeding fine given – would you think there might be an increase in speeding fines? Or take our universities when condidering courses and charges - when does the focus drift towards making money?? So when you tie an official rating systems to a money-making exercise – in what way do you think the outcome might be weighted?
4. When the certification of BER assessors makes money for the initiating organisation (SEI) – would you think that might affect the number of assessors being put out to graze - or indeed influence how the various fees and charges are made?

Here are a listing of the fairly substantial fees charged by SEI:

SEI Schedule of Fees under the
Building Energy Rating (BER) Scheme

Registration for Domestic BER Assessors by SEI
Employer Registration (including 1st Employee Assessor): €1,000 (plus VAT)
2nd and subsequent Employee Assessors1: €500 (plus VAT)
Self-Employed Assessor Registration: €1,000 (plus VAT)
Annual Renewals (Employee & Self-Employed Assessors): €100 (plus VAT)

Publication of Domestic BER Certificates by SEI

Fee for publication of a Domestic BER Certificate: €25 (plus VAT)

Registration for Interim Non-Domestic BER Assessors by SEI

Registration of an Interim Non-Domestic BER Assessor: €100 (plus VAT)
Annual Renewals (Employee & Self-Employed Assessors): €100 (plus VAT)

Publication of Non-Domestic BER Certificates by SEI
Fee for publication of a Non-Domestic BER Certificate: €50 (plus VAT)

Ad Hoc Fees
Fee for Direct Debit Representation (following failure to clear) €20
Fees are subject to review by SEI. All fees incurred during a month are invoiced at month end. Payment is then collected by direct debit on the 20th day of the following month e.g. fees incurred during February are invoiced at the end of February and collected on the 20th of March.

Nice money if you can make it!! - and when you are a monopoly and have the law on your side - it makes for some problems of priorities -does it not??


Thursday, January 14, 2010

DIY Waste Oil Burner Conversion


Had an interesting comment from Jesse Parris in the US regarding an old post of mine about Waste Oil Burners. When I get a worthwhile comment to an old post, I tend to publish it as a current item and not have it lost in the archives. This IMHO is one such comment.

Seems Jesse has be doing DIY oil burner conversions for years and has a wealth of information on his site. (link below)

This fiddling with oil burner units stuff is NOT for the average tinkerer, you would need a fair degree of mechanical and electrical knowledge to attempt these conversions. There might also be implications for SAFETY and FIRE HAZARDS and these could affect you home or business insurance.

Nevertheless, this is great information and a most useful source for those interested in DIY.

Here is Jesse's comment:

Jesse has left a new comment on your post "Veggie Oil Burner Unit from UK.":

My name is Jesse Parris and I have a nine year old Yahoo forum, altfuelfurnace with over 6000 members globally.

What you are discussing here is not new technology. You don't really need an expensive Kroll burner to do this. You can build your own burner a lot cheaper because all the parts are available. I've been helping others to do this all these years.

There are units in the US and the UK that can be adapted to burn waste motor oil and waste veg oil easily.

Jesse's Forum link:


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Energy Trends to Watch in 2010


Energy Trends
I’ll be Watching
in 2010

The Long Shots

Clean Fusion?

Will it be realised this year? From what I gather the answer is a fairly definite no, maybe in five or ten years but not in 2010.

Orbo, Perendev and other Magnetic Motors?

I keep asking myself if there is something in this magnetic motor thing? There certainly seems to be some effect at work which science has not yet fully grasped, but will Orbo and Perendev be available in the shops before next Christmas – NO I really don’t think so!

Oil from Algae?

My friend Joy, a scientist, who worked with algae for years is convinced that algae has a lot to offer, if and when it can be tamed. Will we be burning algal oil in our cars this year? The answer is almost certainly a NO!

The Hopefuls

Super Batteries?

This is one area I personally have great hope for. There are at least two major contenders in the field. I will be watching “Fluidic Energy” with their “Ionic Fluid Battery” and somewhat less hopefully, the very secretive EEstor with their EESU Ultra Capacitor storage unit.

Efficient Hydrogen Gas Production?

Cheap and efficient hydrogen production both as a fuel and as an energy storage means for grid application is an attractive idea. I am following a development at MIT of a highly efficient method of splitting water into its components Hydrogen and Oxygen. If this can be perfected, it would represent a very significant gain to sustainability in the world.

CHP Units (Combined Heat and Power)

Combined Heat and Power is an interesting if novel idea for increasing power in the system. I cannot see it as having anything but a minimal overall impact on power generation. One developer SunMachine in Germany interests me a great deal not so much for their CHP implementation as for their development of the wood pellet burner.

Under Sea Power Generation?

Sea waves and currents are a promising source of energy. One novel and very interesting project in development is a system that extracts energy from VERY slow and constant under sea currents. The advantages of this system are; 1. It would lie on the seabed and therefore present no danger to wildlife, shipping etc. 2. It can make use of constant slow speed currents to give reliable and constant power output. I guess the disadvantages are that the equipment is bulky for a given power output and that it is expensive in terms of $ per watt. This is one to keep an eye on:


Saturday, January 09, 2010

Is your Geo-Thermal Heating Sustainable?


Sustainable Geo-Thermal Energy?

Weather Affected?

This damn cold spell has put me in a negative mood and set me to thinking - problems. I am wondering how well those heavily SEI grant-aided Geo-Thermal ground source heating systems are coping in this current Arctic weather??.

As the temperatures go down and down, the efficiency of a geo-thermal system gets less and less. In sustained freezing weather, like we have had for almost a month now, the cost of running a system gets much higher as the thermal efficiency is reduced.

Unless the external heat-gathering pipes in a ground sourced system are buried deeper than a meter, there is every chance that the system could be an “Over – Unity” system - that is, it would take more than a kilowatt of electricity to give a kilowatt of heat.

Air sourced Geo-Thermal with external temperatures of minus 10 degrees centigrade would be nothing short of a joke - dont waste your time turning them on.

Anyone out there having winter freezing fun with his or her Geo-thermal system??

Maintenance Costs?

Although it is a bit too early to tell yet, because most Irish systems are only in place in the last two to three years, I suspect that some users are in for a BIG shock when the heat pump breaks down. That the compressor will break is inevitable, and when it does, expect a truly vicious bill to follow. The heat pump is very expensive and there is also the engineers time.

Manufacturers are fast to state that heat pumps will last at least 10 years. But how many domestic appliances that you are aware of live longer than 10 years?? I would also have reservation about the life-span of those miles of piping and the many dozens of connectors. Have you ever known any plumbing system that has not had some problems??

And the Big Question:

How many installers and manufacturers actually give you a written 10 year guarantee on their heat pumps?


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Is SEI Value for Our Money?


Sustainable Energy Ireland
Is it worth the
Hundreds of Millions we pay?

What have Steorn’s Orbo, the Perendev Motor, EEstor’s EESU, and SEI (Sustainable Energy Ireland) got in common?

Answer: Basically what they all possess is an idea which initially sounds great but which has utterly failed to materialise in the short term.

Can anyone tell me in terms of payback i.e real results or money savings - what have we got for the hundreds of millions of Euro of our tax money pumped into SEI Sustainable Energy Ireland??

I am aware that my perspective is limited and yes, that I am indeed prejudiced against this glossy and highly paid organisation. The reason I am unhappy has to do with the way I perceive the job they did over the past 4 years in promoting domestic heating and energy projects.

What I perceive, from my limited perspective, is a really miserable return for the investment. AFAIK SEI has received well over a quarter of a billion Euros of our money.

A few performance questions:

1. What percentage of existing homes have converted to geothermal or wood-pellet heating in the last four years?? And

2. What percentage of those that converted have thrown out the technology and gone back to oil or other traditional fuels? And – finally,

3. What percentage of homes that converted are 100% happy with their new choice in terms of (a) reliability, (b) value for money, (c) comfort, and (d) convenience?

Questions: Does SEI intend to rectify its mistakes?

1. Will SEI do anything about the wood pellet boilers out there with little or no fire safety mechanisms?

2. Will SEI help the people who have been ripped-off by the cowboys and chancers that SEI unleashed upon them?

3. Will SEI help the people with badly designed pellet heating systems that fail to function properly or boilers for which parts cannot be located?

4. Will SEI do anything to guarantee price, supply, and quality of wood pellet fuel?

5. Will SEI do anything about BER Assessors who have been shown to charge greatly varying fees and give greatly varying results for the same building, seeing as how SEI invented the BER Assessor in the first place, and more importantly it makes money from the licensing??


It is my guess that, given the track record of some BER Assessors, it should be possible to get the result you want or need simply by shopping around with assessors.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Steorn Announces Live Discussion & Demo


Steorn Live Lecture
Now, I think what they are selling are
Orbo Developer Licences

Orbo Technology Update

Steorn invites you to visit for the second in a series of live talks and experiments regarding Orbo Technology.

Subject: Steorn's Orbo Electromagnetic Interaction COP >1
When: Friday 8th January 2010
Time: 17:00 GMT
Where: - Live Stream View 1 and 3

Or: In person at the Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 4, Ireland.


Sean McCarthy, CEO of Steorn, will discuss Steorn’s Orbo electromagnetic interaction and
demonstrate that the Coefficient of Performance is greater than 1.

Who should attend:
Anyone interested in understanding Orbo Technology or taking up an Orbo Technology Developer License on 1st February 2010.


Might be worth a look if you have the time!!! Then again, - it might not!