Tale of two biomass systems. The good one and the other one…


It was interesting yesterday looking at two biomass systems which now have a few years under their belt. The 33k Okofen pellet system at Craflwyn near Beddgelert and the 15kw Euroflame system in the nearby Hafod y Llan farm on Snowdon. from and end-user point of view the Okofen has been faultless and the Euroflame has been two years of problems. constantly jammed up with fuel, igniter and controller issues…but why? Is the Okofen better because it was more than double the cost and has automated everything?

Like all things it’s probably down to design and what you are asking the system to do. The okofen came as a complete package and we were spoilt with a choice of 4 installers less than 20 miles away plus we had conducted a full heat loss and design specification before we went out to see what we wanted. the Euroflame was budget constrained and we ended up with a boiler with quite a few bolt on’s which were not designed with this boiler in mind. With the Euroflame we had a manual feed boiler and a HDG vacuum feed pellet system was later added to make the boiler easier to manage (our big mistake) this then led to years of hassle. The hopper kept getting hot which meant the pellets and dust stuck to it and we ended up with a jammed fuel feed system. The team at the site after some time figured out where to hit on the fuel feed to unblock. But all this stop start was to the detriment of the boiler. A few weeks ago the team at the site striped back the automated fuel feed system and resorted to filling the hopper manually and the boiler is now a very happy boiler.

the lesson learnt – if a boiler is designed to do a certain thing (manual feed) don’t fiddle and do what it states on the box.

the hassle with this one boiler cause a lot of anxiety across the whole property in terms of taking other sites across to pellet systems. But it was not the boilers fault and now that we have two happy boilers this should make people relax the next time a pellet solution is suggested.

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