Wednesday, 10 November 2010

When the chips are down

We really shouldn't have been let loose with a biomass boiler! We let it run out of fuel and stop overnight because we were waiting to see whether the Jurassic Coast cliff, which the collecting mechanism was eroding into the wood chip, would collapse.* Steve the site manager jumped in first thing with a shovel and brought the cliffs down so we still have heating and hot water. There's still plenty of chip in the store; it's just that the mechanism can't get at it. Thomas spoke to a supplier, who said that drier fuel is less likely to collapse because there is more friction between the chips, while we were thinking that wetter fuel was more likely to 'clump'. Our commissioning supply was apparently about 30% moisture content. We won't be using the boiler in the summer, and we're thinking of emptying out the store and putting in a bit of sloped flooring. That way, there will be less chip stuck on the floor and merrily composting or fermenting away.

I took the opportunity to go for a walk in the unseasonal sunshine, with the excuse of picking up pieces of plastic. Inevitably on a building site, there's a lot around, not least the blue plastic overshoes that the workmen have been wearing inside which have got EVERYWHERE. The ridge and furrow to the north was nicely picked out by the low afternoon sun. I haven't written about the photovoltaics yet, because they haven't been switched on. They were wasted today.

* We're making mistakes, so you don't have to!

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