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Burning olive pit in pellet boiler

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by DOOM_NX, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. DOOM_NX

    DOOM_NX New Member

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    Hello, gentlemen! It's my first time writing, but I've been reading this forum for a long time and I have to admit that... this site rocks!

    A friend of mine just had an idea. Instead of burning wood pellets in his wood pellet burner, he is considering uncrushed olive pits (yes, oil NOT removed). Well, they may have a higher heating value, but all this oil can't be good for the boiler, can it?

    Can anybody shed some light into this matter?

    Thank you very much in advance.

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  2. chickenman

    chickenman Minister of Fire

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    Hi Doom,
    Just noticed your post from last year.
    We are using crushed olive pits all the time.
    The issue with whole olive pits is the moisture. THere is no issue with oil.
    If you can get them dry enough and the boiler can handle the slightly higher ash levels then you should be fine.
    THere are plenty of pit boilers in Greece as far as I know.
  3. skfire

    skfire Feeling the Heat

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    :)
    yes.olive pits have been a fuel in Greek stoves for a long time. As mentioned, dry is key. Keeping a vat full by the stove does the trick. Now quantity of pits....and boiler use?....maybe if one owns a dinner or two..._g
  4. chickenman

    chickenman Minister of Fire

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    Yep we always have a days supply sitting beside the stove to dry for the day.
    1,000s of tons of the stuff available from oil mills so no need to eat all the olives yourself.
  5. skfire

    skfire Feeling the Heat

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    that was the joke about the diner.o_O.but we grew up by an olive grove, so we ate plenty....grandpa always collected the pits from the whole family and burned them along with the dead branches and frees
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
  6. chickenman

    chickenman Minister of Fire

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    No worries skfire, I kinda thought you were yolking:)
  7. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    One thing to be aware of with all kinds of pits, shells, corn etc. is that they all contain more "stuff" than pure wood pellets do.
    Wood pellets are cellulose and as such they are about 100% carbon. Good burnable stuff, consistent, clean etc.

    When you get into the fruit pit realm you introduce things like sucrose and other things that can effect combustion for one thing and really change the composition of the combustion byproducts and flue gas for another.
    With pits and nuts, one of the things you'll get into is elevated levels of acid as a by product of combustion. Usually this is something you want to avoid in a burner of any type. Another thing is the oil or pitch content which introduces hydro carbons into the mix instead of pure carbon like a cellulose pellet. Hydrocarbons require a higher flame temp to burn cleanly than a pure carbon product so depending on the burner design and control, this can create problems for you in terms of ash buildup, cleaning intervals and excess wear and tear on the combustion chamber and HX.

    Just food for thought...........
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2014
    Fred61 likes this.
  8. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    I like that. Took a minute to digest it.
    Also some produce contains sugar, especially corn. It will caramelize all the working parts of the interior of your unit.
  9. chickenman

    chickenman Minister of Fire

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    Not entirely true. Pits are pure hardwood with exactly the same composition of wood.
    Shells are not suitable for domestic applications due to the high ash levels but fine in commercial boilers made for purpose.
    You are spot on regarding the corn requiring greater heat, but even pellets can cause problems if not burnt correctly so it is just a matter of having the correct system in place.
  10. Bob Rohr

    Bob Rohr Minister of Fire

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    Grape seeds also are turned into a fuel source up in Washington state. http://www.goodfruit.com/from-pomace-to-pellets/

    Pretty much and fruit pit or seed if converted into fuel or pellets in Europe.
  11. chickenman

    chickenman Minister of Fire

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    Yeah we have tried grape pomace and it is a pain. The real issue, which is lightly glossed over in the article, is that making pellets out of pomace creates a whole stack of noxious gases when they are burnt. THe same thng has been tried in Spain with olive pomace and has been banned.
    Crushed grape seeds, like crushed olive pits, are a fine fuel but there is too much extra matter to bother. THe crushed olive pits are extracted as part of the process so are much easier to deal with.

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