SITE: RIGA, LATVIA
Biomeiler is a solution where we can get water-based heat (45-60°C) from wood chips, while creating carbon rich soil, instead of burning the materials for heat. It is basically a large compost with a heat exchanger, containing wood chips (70-80%) and manure (20-30%), watered to kickstart the composting process and for microbes to start breaking down the mixture to soil, while producing heat.
Different versions and important details
There are a few different ways of building a biomeiler/Jean Pain compost. Many seemingly small details can make a big difference on how well it will function, or what quality the resulting soil will have.
By pumping in cold water through plastic pipes (>130 meter), the compost is cooled so that it doesn’t burn too hot (otherwise reducing the quality of the resulting soil) while the warmed up the water can be used, for example to heat a small house.
A biomeiler of about 10 m3 in size produces 1 kW heat, but it depends on many factors, for example on what kind of manure you use. There is also a minimum size in colder climates, such as the Baltics, in order for the process to not die off, often >30m3. The working time of a Biomeiler is between 6 to 18 months before being taken down and rebuilt with fresh organic materials.
Life Cycle Analysis
A good functioning biomeiler are suppose to produce more heat over its lifetime from the microbial process than what could be extracted if burning/combusting the woodchips. As new soil is produced from the compost, the lifecycle or footprint of the solution can be viewed as positive or regenerative.
The materials used for the system, such as plastic for the pipes or metals for pump or mesh, should be taken into the LCA of the solution, but since these are reused for many years before being recycled, the total footprint of building and using a biomeiler can be considered very low.
The initial costs of building a biomeiler are quite high as all the materials and systems that later can be reused needs to be purchased. The annual cost of rebuilding the biomeiler are about 500€ for woodchips and transport of these, depending on location and size of the biomeiler.
Biomeiler produces heat ca. 800-1000 kWh/m3, depending on woodchips. Woodchips price is same when we are burning and composting.
The working time of a Biomeiler producing heat is between 6 to 18 months after which the compost material is to be used for soil improvement.
Below you can find the different sites, installations and modifications of the solution.
Each installation might have specific needs, conditions or regulations that effects either the design, the building process or the results from using the solution.
Trial & errors and general experiences from the
Would you like to submit your own version or share data and experiences?
Do you want to submit your own installation, modifications or share data and experiences? Below is some suggestions or description on how you can do this and contact us for it to be added to the site.