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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cold War


Today was the first day that it felt like winter when I went outside to get the newspaper.   Even though we had a frost a few times already, I don’t remember the temps being in the teens.   Nothing like that first cup of coffee and a seat near the fire, morning paper in hand.  The news of the day, at least according to Newsday, was downright uninteresting.

Another bag of Country Boy White Lightening pellets in the hopper this afternoon as the pellet stove has been running most of the day.  Sure beats the oil burner with #2 Heating oil averaging $3.75 gallon.  Even with my locked in price of $3.09 (which expires soon), a delivery of 200 gallons can set you back over $600.  It was the summer of 2008 that had me running scared, the heating oil prices over $4.00 and the price of crude oil near or at $140 barrel.  I was the leader, and a couple of friends at work took the plunge as well and purchased Pellet Stoves or Inserts….

So as I see it, I am helping the planet, the local economy, and keeping those American Dollars in this country.  Pellet Stoves are clean burning, efficient, and are a green choice as they burn a renewable resource.  I purchase my pellets by the ton, from a local proprietor, who gets the pellets from a mill in Kentucky that is in the hardwood floor business.  They used to have to pay to get rid of the saw dust, or have it go to a landfill, until they started to recycle the saw dust into biofuel pellets.

So, for the past four years, I have supplemented my heat demand with wood pellets.  It may be one of my best investments.  This is the year that the cost of the stove, installation, etc. has all been recouped.  I may save $1200 - $1500 again on my heating bill, and at the same time help support the local economy, and reduce CO2 emissions.  I am one in a million. 

There are numerous benefits achieved by utilizing pellet fuel, including economical and environmental. Pellet fuel is utilized in a varied settings and applications, such as home heating appliances and large scale boilers in commercial operations.

There are an estimated 1,000,000 residences/businesses in the U.S. currently heating with pellets.
  • A typical homeowner uses 3 tons of pellets per heating season at a cost of about $825. At an average retail price of $250/ton, pellets offer a fuel cost per million BTU of $19.05. To offer a fuel cost of $19.05 per million BTU, # 2 fuel oil and propane would have to be priced at $2.05/gal and $1.36/gal, respectively! (Fuel Value Calculator, USFS, 2008)
  • One ton of wood pellets has the energy equivalency of 2.8 barrels of #2 fuel oil. (Energy Information Administration)
  • Direct thermal conversion of 3 million tons of wood pellets displaces the equivalent of almost 8.5 million barrels of #2 fuel oil. That is 356 million gallons! (Energy Information Administration)
  • Direct thermal conversion of pellets has an efficiency level of approximately 80%.
  • Pellet stoves have extremely low particulate emissions due to their high burn efficiency and the density of the fuel (<1 gm/hr). (Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Every ton of pellets used vs. oil reduces CO2 emissions by about 1.5 tons. Total emissions offset this year will be nearly 4.5 million tons of CO2.
  • Pellet distribution costs less than the cost of distributing wood chips.
  • Wood pellets have a fossil energy ratio (net energy output/fossil energy used) of 12:1. (Net Energy Value Study, University of Wisconsin Green Bay)
  • As of 2009, pellet manufacturing directly employs approximately 2,300 people in the U.S. and supports thousands of industry-related jobs in fields such as transportation and logging. (North America’s Wood Pellet Sector, Spelter & Toth, 2009)

This day in history “United States prepares new strategic plan for Middle East”.  This was listed under Cold War.  I am fighting a sort of Cold War myself (pellet stove).


Just days before an official announcement is to be issued by the Eisenhower administration, the New York Times leaks the news that the United States is preparing a major policy statement on the Middle East. In the wake of heightened tensions in the area caused by the French-British-Israeli invasion of Egypt in November, the announcement was greeted with caution both at home and abroad.
According to the newspaper, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles was set to appear before Congress and ask for two things. First, Congressional support of a declaration by the Eisenhower administration that the United States would oppose any Soviet military intervention in the Middle East. Since the outbreak of hostilities between Egypt and the alliance of France, Britain, and Israel in November, the Soviets had been threatening the use of military force in support of Egypt.

Funny, Unites States prepares new strategic plan for middle east, back in 1959…..seems history has a way of repeating itself.

Photo of the day “Cold War”


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