Electricity from Wood, Straw, Grass and Leaves.

It was announced recently that Eko Forest Group, one of the country’s largest suppliers of kiln dried logs and kindling to the trade, both by container and by the pallet, have purchased a new machine capable of manufacturing briquettes made from straw, grown on their own farms in the North West of England.

Electricity from Wood, Straw, Grass and Leaves.1Eko Forest Group, working together with Xtralec Ltd,( the inventors of the wood stove that produces electricity) have viewed Xtralec's prototype, small wood burning cooker, producing hot water for twenty radiators and enough electricity to light forty flood lights. Believing this to be the future, Eko Forest Group are perfecting alternative energy burning crops suitable for electrical production. Combine  harvesters have built-in choppers so that during harvest times the straw can be chopped and returned to the field, what a waste. With an ever growing demand for power we should take advantage of all waste products. The new compliance attached to stoves is helping to clean up our environment. Future wood or biomass stoves have very strict regulations attached, so the carbon neutral stoves of the past will all become carbon negative.

With the ever growing cost of fuel it is becoming more and more important to find ways to take the future into our own hands. With new innovations becoming available, we must all change with the times. Imagine a wood burning stove making electricity in our own home, fuelled by waste products growing all around us. Eko Forest are also in the process of trialing briquettes made from leaves and grass. Perhaps this is the time to look at all alternative energy crops. Working together we can make a difference if we try.

Now to the present and the huge increase in demand for wood fuels. In a recent statement made by the directors of Eko Forest Group they warned the trade once again to be very careful when ordering kiln dried logs from abroad.

At the moment many unscrupulous foreign companies offering prices almost too good to be true are causing great pain and hardship to heating centres and trade customers.

Eko Forest, with more than 10 years’ experience in the fuel business have first-hand knowledge of these unscrupulous overseas companies who take orders with deposits and deliver wet and unsaleable goods and in some cases do not deliver at all. Kilns are in short supply during the winter months when business is booming,  so, in order to maximise from orders, unscrupulous companies reduce the kiln time from the normal 5 days to 1 or 2 days turn around. Of course this short kiln time has little impact on reducing the moisture content of the wood, it is only used to stay within the law.

It takes at least 24 hours before a normal kiln is hot enough to start the drying process and 3 to 4 days before moisture can successfully be vented from the materials. A normal moisture level, for wood to burn at its best, is less than 20%. Kilning takes approximately 5 days, but when the outside moisture levels are very high, the drying time can increase to 7 days and this always comes at a cost. Remember the old saying, if the price sounds too good to be true it usually is. Wood mould from damp wood can start to show within a few days rendering stocks even more impossible to sell. How many fuel sellers have had this problem, it would be very interesting to know, our email address is shown at the bottom of this article for anyone wishing to share their experiences.

Electricity from Wood Straw Grass and LeavesAlso remember our environment, FSC regulated logs have a direct impact on our future and that of our future generations. When stocking with wood fuel it is important to make sure the wood you are buying is FSC regulated. The company offering such products can be checked on by simply inserting the companies name in the FSC register which can be found on Google search. Unscrupulous companies also advertise they are FSC certified when in fact they are not. These shameful people try to capture our emotions in order to line their pocket's If you are not sure of your supplier it is easy to check. FSC certification is expensive and the regulations very strict.

FSC forest harvesters do not cut all trees, some dead trees are left standing for woodpeckers and some healthy trees are left to grow as these feed smaller animals on the forest floor with nuts and berries while also keeping the natural identity of the forest during re planting.

The UK has seen a huge boom in recent years in the wood fuel industry and demand is greater now than it has ever been. Competition is stiff and customers are expensive to find and easy to loose, so be vigilant and choose your suppliers carefully.


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