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Hydronics for High Efficiency Biomass Boilers - Sponsored by NYSERDA - Self Study


Author: John Siegenthaler

Subjects: Renewable HVAC: Biomass

Student Rating

9.4 out of 10 (view ratings)
136 students have taken this course


Developed for NY contractors in partnership with John Siegenthaler and Appropriate Designs, this workshop fulfills contractor training requirements to participate in NYSERDA's 'Renewable Heat NY' program. The course examines best practices for combining modern, high efficiency wood-fired boilers with hydronic distribution systems. It will cover the operating characteristics of wood-gasification boilers, pellet-fired boilers, and the latest hydronic heating technology that can complement these high efficiency heat sources. If you plan to be involved in designing or installing wood-based biomass heating systems, this workshop will present a wide range of design details that will help optimize the performance your systems deliver.

Ready To Sign Up Today? Click Here to Enroll

Fulfills Requirement to Participate In "Renewable Heat Ny"

To qualify for a Renewable Heat NY financial incentive, the system must be installed by a contractor who has taken this course or other NYSERDA-approved training.

No Need to Wait: Start Right Now

Expect to spend about 8-10 hours completing this course.

Flexible Online Training for Industry Professionals

This is a self-study, self-paced online course. You can begin instantly upon enrollment and complete the course materials at your own pace.

Access Information and Build Your Training Library

After enrolling, the course materials will remain in your account and be accessible 12 months (1 year) after enrollment. Access can be extended beyond 1 year with a monthly membership. 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.

Earn A Certificate of Completion

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.

Earn Continuing Education Credits

Approved for: 7 Professional Development Contact Hours, 3.5 BPI CEUs.


John Siegenthaler

P.E., Appropriate Designs

John Siegenthaler, P.E., is a mechanical engineer and graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a licensed professional engineer, and Professor Emeritus of Engineering Technology at Mohawk Valley Community College. “Siggy” has over 32 years of experience in designing modern hydronic heating systems. He is a hall-of-fame member of the Radiant Professionals Alliance...[more]

Course Outline

Welcome - Orientation Materials

This is a free course. We take pride in our free courses, but keep in mind that this is only a taste of what we do in a full HeatSpring course. The course discussion board is a great place to interact with other students and ask questions. 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.

  • Introduction to HeatSpring (Video - 01:25 minutes) Preview
Module 1 - Introduction & Wood Energy Basics

Why hydronics? In this opening module, we'll discuss the importance of hydronics to renewable energy, wood as a heating fuel, and 1-stage versus 2-stage combustion of wood.

  • Introduction & Wood Energy Basics (Video - 01:10:08 hours)
  • Presentation slides (Download .pdf)
Module 2 - Wood-Based Biomass Boilers

In this module we'll cover: Wood gasification boilers, Pellet-fired boilers, Boiler venting considerations, and Particulate & CO2 emissions.

  • Wood-Based Biomass Boilers (Video - 48:18 minutes)
  • Presentation slides (Download .pdf)
Module 3 - Thermal Storage Options

In this module we'll cover: Unpressurized tanks, Pressurized tanks, Stratification considerations, Multiple storage tank arrays, Temperature stacking in storage tanks, and Sizing thermal storage.

  • Thermal Storage Options (Video - 01:22:00 hours)
  • Presentation slides (Download .pdf)
Module 4 - Boiler sizing & protection

In this module you will learn: Sizing for wood gasification boilers, sizing for pellet-fuel boilers, and boiler protection options.

  • Boiler Sizing & Protection (Video - 01:05:07 hours)
  • Presentation slides (Download .pdf)
Module 5 - Heat Emitters, High-Efficiency Circulators, and Distribution

In this module we will discuss: Low-temperature hydronic heat emitters, high-efficiency circulators, and homerun distribution systems.

  • Heat Emitters, High-Efficiency Circulators, and Distribution (Video - 01:15:27 hours)
  • Presentation slides (Download .pdf)
Module 6 - Hydronic-Based On-Demand Domestic Water Heating

In this module you will learn about: Overall assembly and concept, thermostatically-controlled electric tankless water heaters, brazed plate heat exchangers, flow detection options, and temperature limiting options.

  • Hydronic-Based On-Demand Domestic Water Heating (Video - 26:26 minutes)
  • Presentation slides (Download .pdf)
Module 7 - Combisystem Examples

In this module we will cover: Wood gasification boilers with unpressurized thermal storage, wood gasification boilers with multiple pressurized thermal storage tanks, pellet-fired boilers with mod/con auxiliary boilers, pellet-fired boilers retrofit to systems with oil fired boilers, multiple pellet-fired boilers, and wood gasification boilers supplying forced air distribution systems.

  • Combisystem Examples (Video - 51:48 minutes)
  • Presentation slides (Download .pdf)
Module 8 - What’s Wrong With This System? + Renewable Heat NY System Requirements

In this module we will look at several examples of poorly designed systems. You will learn how to correct these problems and avoid them on future projects. We will also discuss Renewable Heat NY hardware requirements, system documentation requirements, and make sure you have everything to successfully participate with this exciting program through NYSERDA.

  • What's Wrong With This System? (Video - 24:19 minutes)
  • Presentation slides (Download .pdf)
  • Renewable Heat NY System Requirements (Video - 24:20 minutes)
  • Presentation slides (Download .pdf)
  • Final 25-Question Quiz (Quiz)
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!

  • Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey (Survey)
  • Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate (Certificate)

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