Learn advanced techniques and strategies for designing and installing biomass heating systems with industry legend John Siegenthaler. This comprehensive, ten-week online course is designed for engineers, installers, designers, and professionals looking to take their skills to the next level. Developed in partnership with the Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC), this is a unique opportunity learn directly from an industry expert.
During the course, you will learn:
How to design the most efficient biomass heating systems, including wood gasification, pellet-fueled, and wood chip boiler systems
Specific control techniques that allow the operating characteristics of a boiler to match the load profile of a building
Building blocks for modern systems, including high efficiency circulators, distribution efficiency, air & dirt separation, hydraulic separation, auxiliary boiler integration, expansion tanks, and more
Residential design example applications, including a combisystem using a wood gasification boiler, auxiliary boiler, unpressurized storage, and floor heating
Commercial/Municipal design example applications, including a multiple pellet-fired boiler system with low temperature convectors.
How to confidently design a quote system for installation of biomass heating systems, and more…
Approved for: 23 Professional Development Contact Hours, 11.5 BPI CEUs.
Full course outline
This course is self-paced, so you don’t need to be logged in at any specific time. You can get started immediately after you enroll and the course materials will remain in your account with minimum guaranteed access for 12 months (1 year) after enrollment.
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Important Note on Continuing Education Credits
Introduce yourself on the discussion board
Introduction and Course Overview - Why Wood and Why Hydronics?
Topics Include: Instructor introduction, course structure, overview of wood-based fuel options, overview of wood fueled heat sources, Thermal energy in wood, Cost of wood-based fuels relative to other options, environmental benefits of wood-based heating, realistic expectations.
Week 1 - Part A - Introduction
Week 1 - Part B - Fuel Cost Comparisons
Topics Include: High efficiency attained at high rates of heat production, typical operating cycle, why thermal storage is critical, why boilers require protection from low water temperatures, overheat protection options, how to provide that protection, how to size a wood gasification boiler, boiler maintenance requirements, European hydronic wood stoves, overview of an example system.
Week 2 - Part A - Introduction and Background on Wood Gasification Boilers
Week 2 - Part B - Boiler Protection Considerations
Week 2 - Part C - Thermal Storage and Sizing
Topics Include: Time to initiate heat production, ability to modulate output, why storage is important, why pellet-fired boilers require protection from low water temperatures, how to provide that protection, automatic cleaning systems (pneumatic and mechanical scrapers), bulk pellet storage and conveyance options, maintenance requirements, how to size a pellet-fired boiler, auxiliary boiler integration, multiple boiler systems, overview of an example system.
Week 3 - Part A - Pellet-Fueled Boilers
Week 3 - Part B - Venting Pellet-Fueled Boilers
Week 3 - Part C - Boiler Protection Considerations
Week 3 - Part D - Integrating an Auxiliary Boiler
Week 3 - Part E - Sizing a Pellet-Fueled Boiler
Topics Include: fuel characteristics and specification, time to initiate heat production, ability to modulate output, when and where should wood chip boilers be considered, wood chip conveyance systems, why wood chip boilers require protection from low water temperatures, how to provide that protection, Automatic cleaning systems (pneumatic and mechanical scrapers), maintenance requirements, how to size a wood-chip boiler, small scale systems, auxiliary boiler integration, multiple boiler systems, overview of an example system.
Week 4 - Part A - Introduction
Week 4 - Part B - Wood Chips
Week 4 - Part C - Wood Chip Storage and Conveyance
Week 4 - Part D - Large Wood Chip Boilers
Week 4 - Part E - Wood Chip Fired Boiler Systems
Week 4 - Part F - Sizing a Wood Chip-Fueled Boiler
Slides: Week 4 slides
PDF: Week 4 homework questions
Answer Key: Week 4 homework answer key
Thermal Storage Options & Sizing
Topics include: Pressurized versus unpressurized storage, code requirements, space considerations, volume calculations, piping connections to tank, determining storage size for wood gasification boiler systems, determining storage size for pellet-fired boiler systems, stratification & temperature stacking, heat scavenging, standby heat loss, examples of available hardware, maintenance requirements.
Week 5 - Part A1 - Introduction and Unpressurized Tanks
Week 5 - Part A2 - Benefits of External Heat Exchangers
Week 5 - Part B - Pressurized Storage Tanks
Week 5 - Part C - Heat Loss from Thermal Storage Tanks
Week 5 - Part D - Temperature Stacking in Thermal Storage Tanks
Week 5 - Part E - Heat Scavenging from Storage
Week 5 - Part F - Sizing Thermal Storage
Slides: Week 5 slides
PDF: Week 5 homework questions
Answer Key: Week 5 homework answer key
Low-Temperature Heat Emitter Options & Distribution Systems
Topics include: Low temperature radiant panel options for floor, wall, and ceilings, panel radiators, fan-assisted panel radiators, low temperature fin-tube convectors, homerun distribution systems, parallel distribution systems.
Week 6 - Part A1 - Introduction and Slab-on-Grade Floor Heating
Week 6 - Part A2 - Other Hydronic Radiant Floor Panels
Week 6 - Part B - Alternatives to Radiant Floor Heating
Week 6 - Part C - Panel Radiators
Week 6 - Part D - Distribution Systems
Slides: Week 6 slides
PDF: Week 6 homework questions
Answer Key: Week 6 homework answer key
Building Blocks for Modern Systems (Part 1)
Topics include: High efficiency circulators, distribution efficiency, air & dirt separation, hydraulic separation, auxiliary boiler integration, expansion tanks.
Week 7 - Part A1 - Introduction and Common Piping
Week 7 - Part A2 - Hydraulic Separation
Week 7 - Part B - Distribution Efficiency
Week 7 - Part C - Circulators
Week 7 - Part D - Expansion Tank Selection and Sizing
Week 7 - Part E - Expansion Tank Placement
Week 7 - Part F - Air and Dirt Separation
Slides: Week 7 slides
PDF: Week 7 homework questions
Answer Key: Week 7 homework answer key
Building Blocks for Modern Systems (Part 2)
Week 8 - Part A - Introduction and Outdoor Reset Control Theory
Week 8 - Part B - Mixing Options for Biomass Boiler Applications
Week 8 - Part C - Instantaneous DHW Subassembly
Week 8 - Part D - Introduction to Heat Metering
Slides: Week 8 slides
PDF: Week 8 homework questions
Answer Key: Week 8 homework answer key
Example Systems (Residential Applications)
Topics include: Piping design, control design, descriptions of operation. Examples include: 1) A combisystem using a wood gasification boiler, auxiliary boiler, unpressurized storage, floor heating. 2) A combisystem using pellet-fired boiler, mod/con auxiliary boiler, pressurized storage, radiant ceiling heating. 3) A combisystem using a European hydronic wood stove, pressurized storage, panel radiators
Week 9 - Part A - Introduction and Example Combisystem #1
Week 9 - Part B - Example Combisystem #2
Week 9 - Part C - Example Combisystem #3
Slides: Week 9 slides
PDF: Week 9 homework questions
Answer Key: Week 9 homework answer key
Example Systems (Commercial / Municipal Applications) and Course Summary
Week 10 - Part A - Introduction and Example Systems
Week 10 - Part B - Pellet-Fueled Boiler Supplying Space Heating for Town Highway Garage
Week 10 - Part C - Large Capacity Wood Chip Boiler System
Week 10 - Part D - Mini-District Heating Systems
Week 10 - Part E - What's Wrong With This System?
Slides: Week 10 slides
PDF: Week 10 homework questions
Answer Key: Week 10 homework answer key
Final Quiz (you must pass to complete the course)
Feedback and Additional Resources
This is our last module but you still have access to the all of course materials for 12 months (1 year), so keep working and you'll be able to complete the course at your own pace. After your year of access expires you can optionally extend access with a HeatSpring Membership. Enjoy the course and keep in touch!
LinkedIn: Join the Hydronic-Based Biomass Heating Professionals LinkedIn Group
1 Year of Access to
Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey
Consider Joining as a HeatSpring Member
Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate
P.E., Appropriate Designs
John Siegenthaler, P.E., is a mechanical engineering graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a licensed professional engineer, and Professor Emeritus of Engineering Technology at Mohawk Valley Community College. “Siggy” has over 40 years of experience in designing modern hydronic systems. He is a hall-of-fame member of the Radiant Panel Association, and a... Learn more
60 students have taken this course
by Huseni Mantri, Account Executive, Armstrong Fluid Technology 11/25/2016
Amazing course with wealth of information for everyone in the industry.
by Alexander Jancker, Mechanical Engineer, Dipl.-Ing., CEM, P.Eng., Associated Engineering 10/14/2016
The course provided great insights into modern hydronics and biomass heating systems. A great mix of theory, design guidance and practical examples, presented by a knowledgeable and enthusiastic John Siegenthaler made the course well worth the time. Can't wait to apply what I learned and will be learning from now on.
by Henry Garcia, Renewable Energy Consultant, MH ENERGY SRL 08/23/2016
I can recomend this training course for anyone interested in hydronic biomass
by Khaled Yousef, P.E., CEM, CDSM, LEED AP, GBE, Pyramid Energy Engineering Services, PLLC... 10/22/2015
Thank you for offering and facilitating such a rich course. This was an excellent, very informative and educational course; I loved the fact that it provided flexible hours accommodating our work schedule and commitments nowadays. My feedback reflects your excellence and I would recommend this to any not only in the biomass heating industry, but also to anyone interested in hydronics even if it is serving cooling systems. Simply, many of the concepts are very beneficial to projects where a fluid going in a pipe or tank, it is that simple…. Thank you again
by Nicholas Rowe, Mechanical Engineer, Clean Energy Consulting 07/29/2015
I thought this is a great course that effectively combined biomass and hydronics. I have a strong background in hydronic systems, and mainly took the course for the biomass aspects. This course held my attention throughout and provided some insight into things I will take into future designs. It was a perfect mix of theoretical and practical information. John delivered the course very well and I would recommend it to anyone interested in hydronics, biomass systems or even just as a refresher of both.
You can begin this online course instantly upon enrollment. This 10 module course is delivered entirely online. This course is self-paced and you can set your own schedule to complete the materials. You can begin the lecture videos and other course materials as soon as you enroll. During your year of access the instructor will be in the course answering questions on the discussion board. After successfully completing the course, you will be able to generate a certificate of completion.
How long do I have access to the materials?
Students get unlimited access to the course materials as soon as they enroll and for one year (365 days) after enrollment. Rewatch videos and review assignments as many times as you want. View updates the instructor makes to the course as the industry advances. Return to your course anytime with online access from anywhere in the world. After the one year of access expires, access can be extended by joining as a HeatSpring member. A single membership extends access to course materials for all past enrollments.
Is there a certificate of completion?
Yes, when you complete this course you are eligible for a certificate of completion from HeatSpring. You can download your certificate as soon as you have completed all of the course requirements. Students can easily share their verified certificates on their LinkedIn profiles using our LinkedIn integration.