Saturday, October 17, 2009

Eco-Flame

Towards the end of last year I was approached by the folks at confluence energy about reviewing their pellets. They are planning on shipping to the northeast and had noticed my blog on pellets and wanted me to review them. I got the bag of pellets around the middle of spring last year, and it is finally gotten cold enough to give them a fair test. There are a few things about these pellets that are different than ones us folks in the Northeast are used to. The first is that they are soft wood pellets. Eventually I will do a more extensive article on soft wood pellets versus hardwood pellets, but let me just say a high quality soft wood pellet can burn as well as any hardwood pellet, and potentially have more BTU's per pound. One of the other interesting things about these particular pellets are they are from Colorado, and they are shipping them to areas in the northeast where pellet prices are high. With pellet prices at nearly $300 a ton I am figuring that their business model can work shipping all the way to the northeast, if and when pellet prices drop down below $200 a ton I believe it may be difficult for the folks at confluence energy to compete here in the Northeast. The other interesting part of their business model is that there wood comes from trees that have been killed by beatles. Unlike many of the pellet plants in the northeast that rely on production factories waste sawdust; these guys have a wood source that is not dependent on the economy or output production of lumber using industries. ie: They are not buying saw dust at premium prices.

Okay enough about the company and on to the actual pellets. The name of these pellets is a "Eco-Flame", and the first thing I noticed was there was very little in the way of fines in this bag of pallets. I believe that is worth mentioning because these pellets came to me via UPS, and if you know anything about UPS I very well could have received a bag of saw dust. They have no binding agents added, but either their process or the nature of the wood result in virtually no fines. Because these are soft wood pellets they also have a different odor, they basically smell like pine lumber. When they burn I would say the odor is a little sharper than typical hard wood pellets, but not any stronger. It basically smells like pine burning. The pellets burned very bright and had very little ash. Because I did not burn a lot of these I cannot speak fairly to the clinker issue, but from what I could tell from what was left in the burned pot I would not anticipate clinkers to be a big issue. From my sample this seemed to be was a very fine pellet. If they were being sold in my area I would try a ton of them without reservation.

*As a matter of full disclosure I need to say that confluence energy sent me a sample to try. Because I did not buy them off the shelf I can not be entirely certain that the sample I had is an absolute reflection of the average pellets that confluence energy will produce. They sent me some of their testing data and their ash content ranged from .7% to .3%, I would suggest that the bag I had was closer to the .3% mark. It seems like they have a pretty consistent source of wood, so I would expect the quality to be pretty consistent as well.

13 comments:

  1. I used a ton of Eco-Flame pellets this last winter.

    I too found they had little to no fines. The pellets burned well and left no clinkers. All that was left was a very fine ash and there was very little of that.
    It seemed to me I got a little less heat out of these pellets than out of some other brands. Im not sure why that would be.

    All in all though, I would have no issues with purchasing these pellets again.

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  2. I just bought 4 bags this week of their pellets. I have been using their product for a while but this time, the pellets were dark color. I don't know what wood, but very dark. Usually it is a light color and they burn well.
    Well, these darn dark color ones have been awful. It doesn't burn well. Stick to the crate, stack up to the feeder tube and stop the stove from doing its job ! They smell strong as well. The smoke is powerful too . If you open the door of your stove to clean up the crate .. You will make your house smells like a cabin. In a way, it is good because we live in Vail...
    So watch out for these dark pellets. Open a bit the bag when you buy it before you take it home... I am not too happy.
    I will call the company too !
    Cheers and Happy Holidays to all !

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  3. Ya, the bag I had was very Light in color. That could been a bad batch. Let us know what the company does for you!

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  4. I used 2 ton of eco-flame pellets and found no fines or clunkers yet. Last year I used hardwood pellets from Badgerland pellets and will never go back to them again.
    There was no problems with the smell or color this year, they all see to be light brown in color. The price was good to only $196/ton

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  5. There is also Gildale Farms wood pellets. They have less than 1% ash content. Their website is www.gildalefarms.ca

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  6. I purchased 4 bags of ECO Flame pellets from Home Depot. They were the worst pellets I have ever had. They created a lot of ash and I was cleaning out my stove every two bags. I will never purchase these again!!

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  7. i have a quadrafire cb1200 stove and used it for about 10 years, and the eco flame pellets are the worst pellets i have used in that time. they burn the dirtiest of any pellets in my stove. i have to clean the stove way too oftenin about two days i can't see through the glass door. clinkers build up in the fire pot and won't fall out the bottom when i pull the clean out function. i have 5 bags left out of a ton, when they are gone i will be soooooo happy.

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  8. We have been long-time Eco-Flame users. We have a quadrafire pellet stove. This last two pallets we purchased are the worst pellets we have ever used. We thought our stove was dying! We called a local stove dealer who informed us that they have started using dirty wood. The fire pot fills up with clinkers in less than 8 hours. We can barely break up the clinkers because they are so hard and huge and they won't fall into the bottom when pulling the clean-out function. Upon the advice of the stove dealer, we purchased a pallet of different pellets from a different supplier. Voila! We have our functioning stove back!! We'll NEVER buy these again!

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  9. These pellets are sold by both Lowe's and H.D. for $4.95 a bag or $237.00 a ton in the Denver area. I have used them for several years, burning 2 tons of them without any problems.. They are made from local beetle-kill pines and spruce trees killed by spruce bud-worms..Much of this wood is too small to mill into lumber. You need to be careful how these warehouse stores store their pellets..Many have been stacked outside for months and moisture penetration becomes a factor. High moisture content pellets can indeed cause problems when you burn them..I have seen bags of what amounted to wet sawdust being sold...

    It's hard to compare brand quality in this area because there are very few competitive brands available here..You take what you can find...

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    ReplyDelete
  11. Hello All!
    Im hoping someone can help answer this.
    I recently purchased a targer grill. In the midst of picking it up my wife decided to buy the pellets. Which are the eco-flame pellets. When I saw the bag I was kind of skeptical and didnt bother to research it. Which i should have. Reading now what they are made of can anyone say they've used them foor cooking?

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