In the long cold Edinburgh winter we are all in much need of some heat, especially when you like to work in a little not particularly well insulated chalet you built at the bottom of the garden which you made (rather elegantly may I say) out of disused train track sleepers from the old train station near by.
The creation of this work space and chill out area was a point of personal pride for me, being my largest project to date, and I also really liked the wood burner installed inside, the idea of it crackling away on a winters eve and keeping me going through long nights, mornings and afternoons was a comforting and exhilarating one. I soon found however that I was spending a fortune on wood and wasn’t sure if I was really doing the right thing here, burning so much wood, being so wasteful. Or was I? Was I being wasteful? This was the thing: I just really wasn’t sure…
So I started looking for alternatives and on a weekend visiting friends down across the boarder in Liverpool I saw a massive sack in their garden with ‘Liverpool Wood Pellets’ written on the side sitting next to a contraption I had never set my eyes on before. This contraption was a wood pellet heater.
But first… what are wood pellets?
Wood pellets make up an alternative source of fuel known as ‘pellet fuels’ which are small compressed amounts of biomass or organic matter. Whilst pellet fuels are often combusted to create energy they can be seen as “environmentally friendly” because biomass is a bi-product of other processes such as food waste, energy crops, agricultural residues, virgin lumber industrial co-products and waste. Wood pellets however are made from large amounts of compressed sawdust specifically and other general non-specific industrial waste related to the production, processing and milling of lumber, the constriction of wooden structures and the manufacture of wooden furniture, projects and products. Wood pellets are burnt both for heat and energy. Fascinating!
This special machine of my friends created a quite incredible amount of heat and ran for a quite incredibly long time on a little shovel full of pellets. My friend told me that she’d had a wood burner for years and had always had fears similar to mine before meeting someone who turned her on to the aforementioned local wood pellet company and she turned over a completely new leaf.
Good for her…
The other good news is that you don’t actually need a wood pellet burner specifically to use wood pellets, they can go straight into your standard wood burner at home, which is exactly what I’m doing. You don’t get the same view you’d normally get, but for heat production they’re second to none! Well, as far as I know, I’d like to hear about your ideas for alternative energy and heat production in the house hold. We’ve got a whole summer to decide how were going to survive next winter, we may as well get to it!