Most biomass boiler manufacturers in Europe have worked well in advance to put on the market a catalog of high-quality equipment that meets the eco-design requirements.
Koldo Uría, manufacturer's aftermarket and marketing director Domusa Teknik, points out that "The pellet boilers have not had to make major technological changes to meet the new emission and performance limits."
The main novelty introduced by the ecodesign regulation has been the limitation of nitrogen oxide emissions and the calculation of seasonal performance considering, among others, the electrical consumption of the boilers.
EASY AND LESS EASY REQUIREMENTS TO REACH
Ángel Martínezcommercial Hargassner Iberica, ensures that the Austrian manufacturer "He already had his entire catalog adapted to these requirements".
Just as BioCurve, the Basque-Aragonese manufacturer of biomass condensing boilers; It has also come with homework done and on note. Thanks to the fact that its equipment is marketed in several countries of the European Union with strict legislation, "It has not been necessary to make an additional effort to reach the limits of ecological design", Explain Ignacio Quílez, commercial of the company.
Still, due to the peculiarities of biomass combustion, some demands have involved an extra effort in research and engineering.
The requirements that have been easier to meet have been those related to CO emissions and volatile organic compounds and performance, closely related to each other and an issue in which manufacturers have been making significant progress for some time.
Control of NOx and microparticle emissions, rather, it has required more effort. Eladio Pérez, manager Ecoforest, believes that the standard is demanding the possible technological limits for these emissions. And he points out that they are particularly complex to control the emissions of particles in reduced power and those of NOx, since they are highly dependent on the fuel used.
In effect, the limitation of NOx emissions has meant a significant change with respect to the previous reference standard, UNE-EN-303: 5, which did not contemplate them. Along with microparticle emissions, it is a subject that raises controversy, being the focus of attacks from some sectors.
Francisco Muñoz, commercial director of the granadian manufacturer ITB-Intecbio, issues a complaint: the regulation is more permissive with fossil fuels than with biomass in relation to NOx emissions (the limit for biomass is ≤ 200 mg / m3, while for fossil fuels it is set at ≤ 350 mg / m3). "Does this mean that the nitrogen dioxides emitted by fossil fuels are less harmful to our health than those emitted by biomass?", he asks.
CAN BIOMASS BOILERS SUPPORT STRICT LIMITS?
Although some are already difficult to ensure, it is clear to all that social and political concern about climate change may tighten the requirements for biomass combustion equipment.
According to Ignacio Quílez, stricter limits may be required, but in a gradual way. The standard has focused on the behavior of the boiler at minimum power, establishing achievable starting criteria that have encouraged manufacturers to improve the product. "If they had been stricter, they probably would have had the opposite effect", reflects.
Xosé-Luis Pérez, general director of Belenus-Natur and representative in Spain of the Strebel boilers, believes that it would be possible to withstand stricter limits, especially in terms of equipment efficiency. Ángel Martínez agrees on this, for whom the performance requirement required by the standard is not very high and believes that it should be improved.
Koldo Uria adds that, although “current requirements ensure that a new biomass boiler is environmentally friendly, some limitations could be more stringent " and sets the example of Italy, where the values for emissions and performance are more demanding than those established in the Ecodesign directive.
Francisco Muñoz agrees and defends the need for greater control of the equipment's energy efficiency. In addition, he adds, he believes that it is a priority "Reduce energy demand and then provide a quality and efficient service with machines."
DO THE BIOMASS EQUIPMENT WIN WITH THE ECOLOGICAL DESIGN?
The regulation tries to guarantee that all biomass boilers on the market are of good or high quality, demanding high performance and low emissions, which is positive.
This can also contribute to silence lobbies interested in discrediting the image of biomass, adds Ignacio Quílez. A little less optimistic is Eladio Pérez, who believes that the restrictions imply higher equipment costs, which represents a disadvantage compared to fossil technology.
Francisco Muñoz abounds in this, pointing out that sometimes the cost of the means, devices and auxiliary elements that must be installed in the machines to comply with current regulations can make their marketing unfeasible.
"The calculation of seasonal yields and emissions is based on the assumption that the boiler operates 15% of the time at maximum power and 85% at low powers; therefore, yields and emissions at partial load are essential for seasonal calculation and a critical aspect when designing new models ”Koldo Uria points out.
HOW TO COMMUNICATE TO THE USER THE ADVANTAGES OF HEATING WITH BIOMASS
It is relevant to adequately communicate to users the advantages and values of using biomass as a heating system to compensate for the pitfall of its higher initial cost compared to diesel or natural gas. Koldo Uria believes that now the user receives clearer information, which may tip their purchasing decision towards biomass.
To a greater or lesser extent, manufacturers and distributors inform and train their customers directly on how to choose the right biofuel or on the correct handling of the equipment. Or they participate in workshops and events aimed at the general public, although usually with limited impact due to the number of people who attend.
For Francisco Muñoz, manufacturers should not carry out social pedagogical work, but must be the responsibility of public institutions. "In this way, citizens will perceive the information in an objective and neutral way", Explica.
IN ADDITION TO THE TEAM ...
Ignacio Quílez highlights the importance of biomass quality. Using the wrong biofuel puts you at risk of meeting the team's ecodesign requirements, he explains. "You have to understand that the ecological design does not refer to the boiler, but to the set of boiler and fuel."
In his opinion, the concept of “poly-fuel” equipment that burns any waste has no place in the path outlined by the new directive. Pellet producers have made a great effort to guarantee the quality of the product and other biomass, such as olive stones and chips, are beginning to follow the same path with success.
Another factor that affects the effective fulfillment of the ecodesign conditions is the user and his interaction with the boiler. Francisco Muñoz recalls that to ensure that the team works at all times fulfilling the requirements, its regulation must be fully automatic and autonomous.
PARTICIPANTS IN THIS ARTICLE
Ángel Martínez, commercial director of Hargassner Ibérica.
His company markets, distributes and is in charge of the technical service of equipment of the Austrian manufacturer Hargassner throughout the peninsular territory.
In 2020 they plan to sell between 100 and 500 biomass boilers in Spain. His big bet for this season is the new SMART range, for pellets or firewood, that the company presented at the Genera fair. Designed with the same combustion benefits as the most sophisticated boilers of the firm, such as the hearth in refractory material or the lambda probe, they enjoy a more reasonable price by dispensing with some configuration options, such as pellet loading and cleaning the exchanger, which are manual.
They are available in powers of 17-20-25-32 kW (pellet) and 17-20-23 kW (wood) and prices start at € 5.900 plus VAT.
Ignacio Quílez, commercial director of BioCurve.
BioCurve has specialized in the development of biomass condensing boilers. Its work headquarters are located in Zaragoza and Vizcaya, where the production plant is located. In 2020 they hope to sell between 500 and 2.000 teams.
This year they will launch the BCH100 condensing boiler, with 100 kW of power and with very small dimensions: the boiler body occupies less than 1 m2 in plant. Its nominal performance is 105,7% based on the PCI, which is equivalent to a seasonal efficiency, according to ecological design, of 94%.
Eladio Pérez, manager of Ecoforest.
Ecoforest is the pioneer biomass equipment manufacturer in Spain; Located in Pontevedra, it was the first European manufacturer of equipment for pellets; It also manufactures geothermal heat pumps and is currently located in more than 30 countries. Expect to put 500-2000 units on the market during the campaign.
The "Vap 24" pellet boiler has a power of 24 kW and a 93% efficiency. It has exclusive electronics from the company. Among its main features is the automatic regulation of the combustion air, the supply of pellets and the flow of the recirculating pump. The management of the equipment can be done via WiFi and Internet. Its starting price is € 4.650.
Koldo Uria, director of post-sales and marketing at Domusa Teknik.
Domusa Teknik, part of the Mondragon Corporation, is one of the largest national manufacturers of biomass equipment. Based in Guipuzcoa, it specializes in air conditioning equipment with different technologies, traditional and renewable, including biomass boilers.
In 2020 they hope to sell between 500 and 2.000 biomass boilers. The BioClass HM 16 boiler is one of the most outstanding models, thanks to its electronic modulation capacity and automatic cleaning system. Its price is 3.965 euros.
Francisco Muñoz, commercial director of ITB-Intecbio.
Intecbio has its manufacturing center and offices in the Granada town of Huétor Tájar. In its catalog it offers a domestic and industrial range, with power equipment between 100 and 225 kW. His expectations for this season put sales in the fork between 100 and 500 units.
The domestic HV range (with powers of 15 and 22 kW) with a compact design incorporates, among others, automatic cleaning of exchanger and burner and configurable smoke outlet. They also have the industrial INV range, with powers from 150 to 500 kW.
Xosé-Luis Pérez, CEO of Belenus-Natur.
Belenus-Natur is a consulting company dedicated to energy efficiency and renewable energy based in A Coruña. It is the official importer and distributor of the Automated manufacturer of biomass boilers STREBEL for Spain and Portugal.
They hope to sell between 100 and 500 units this season. Featured equipment includes the fully automatic 29 kW Strebel Thermotec Nova pellet boiler. With an efficiency of 96,4%, it guarantees very low emissions. It is quiet and very compact. Its retail price is € 9.200.